As the days get shorter and the leaves on the trees begin to change we look back on what was a productive and exciting summer for the MCFC.
With the help of our Summer Intern Freya Clark, and volunteers from our Board of Directors and the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) we put on two forest tours. The first tour explored the burn sites on our land base caused by the Seven Mile Lake Fire last summer. This tour, led by MCFC Board Member, Donna Crossland with help from Fundy Spores, looked into the ecology of forest fires and their effects on soils and trees. The second tour focused on old growth forests and was led by Colin Gray and Tarissa Holmes from the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute. This tour looked into the measurement techniques used to classify old growth forests and touched on several aspects of their ecology.
Another event that MCFC put on this summer was the Forest Market Fair in Annapolis Royal. This event turned out to be very popular! Nineteen forest products vendors were present at the market with products ranging from mushrooms to handmade wooden instruments and carvings. The event was an excellent opportunity for vendors in the community to meet and chat with one another, and discuss wood supply opportunities with the MCFC. The market also attracted many visitors and customers and was a productive and fun day for everyone involved.
Our staff was hard at work this summer assessing our land for future harvesting. We completed Pre-Treatment Assessments (PTAs) on over 100 hectares of our lands and plan to complete more going into the fall. The results of PTAs, along with the guidelines in our management plan, allow us to understand the forest composition and determine the type of harvest will be most effective in the area whilst promoting the establishment and health of high-value species.
Along with planning we also kickstarted our fall timber harvest, and have collaborated with NSDNR and Westfor Management Ltd. to test modified practices for harvesting timber from spruce/pine forests in southwestern Nova Scotia.
The research site is in the East Branch/Medway Lake region of the MCFC, is approximately 90 years of age, and supports limited natural regeneration in its present state. The trial is designed to measure the development of spruce/pine forests when harvested using alternative and standard techniques. The aim of all these treatments will be to promote regeneration of Acadian forest species including white pine and red oak and limit competition from shrub species.
Prior to harvest, DNR completed assessments measuring the ecological attributes of the treatment area including existing vegetation, tree size and health, the volume of decaying wood, soil structure and the presence of wildlife habitat. An important component of the study will be to measure the regeneration prior to and after the harvest treatments, which will be reassessed in 2018 and 2022. All trial treatments will be compared to an untreated control site, as well as a site harvested using the standard decision-making process for harvest treatments on all Crown Lands in NS.
The MCFC firewood business had another great summer this year. Due to the number of visitors to Keji this summer, we far exceeded our regular orders for bundled firewood. We are hoping to continue our contracts with Kejimkujik Park and National Historic Site, Friends of Keji, and Conway Workshop next year.
We are also looking for additional help in our firewood yard this fall and into next year for the right candidate. If you or someone you know may be interested, please see the job description on our website.
Hemlock Woolley Adelgid
All of us at the MCFC were saddened to hear of the spread of the Hemlock Woolley Adelgid (HWA), an invasive species of insect native to Asia which attacks hemlock trees. HWA is particularly concerning in southwestern Nova Scotia as the majority of our old growth forests possess hemlock as the dominant tree species.
The small black HWA nyphs can be seen to the left of the main stem. The HWA eggsac is the most common and easy-to-see indicator of HWA infestation.The MCFC is actively pursuing mitigation techniques to reduce the loss of hemlock when HWA reaches Annapolis Co., in collaboration with MTRI, Parks Canada, DNR and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). For more information on HWA, please see the CFIA website
The MCFC is hoping to host a mushroom foray and NTFP workshop in collaboration with East Coast Wild Foods this fall. Stay posted to our website and facebook page for details.
The MCFC is also excited to be looking into building a trail on protected land at the Six Mile Stillwater/Lewis Dump. The trail will be a loop of approximately 1.5 km and will pass through an old growth hemlock forest, and by some large and fascinating glacial erratics. We are hoping to commence planning trail building activities this fall.