The diversity of forest ecosystems in Nova Scotia is being classified at various hierarchical scales which will form the basis for ecosystem management of the provincial forest. This is accomplished at two scales: (i) the landscape, where direction is provided at a coarser scale using the Ecological Land Classification (ELC), and (ii) the stand, using the Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) a finer scale of classification at which management practices are applied on the ground.
Within forest stands various ecological attributes are identified that have a profound effect on the integrity of the forest ecosystem. These include downed coarse woody debris, snags, species diversity, stand age, stand structure, and forest floor. Field survey methodology for the identification of old growth and the estimation of the quantity of downed and standing woody debris have been developed.
Ecological Land Classification
The Ecological Land Classification for Nova Scotia provides an hierarchical mapping of the province's forest ecosystems. This includes interpretation of the dominant natural disturbance regimes and potential climax forests at the ecosection level of classification. Nova Scotia's Ecological Land Classification is available on-line both as a viewable map or downloadable digital database. A pdf report is also available.
Forest Ecosystem Classification
In 2010, results from 10 years of FEC project work were synthesized to produce a comprehensive provincial FEC guide which is presented in three documents: Forest Ecosystem Classification for Nova Scotia: Part I Vegetation Types (2010); Part II Soil Types (2010); and Part III Ecosites (2010). This three-part guide builds upon, but also supersedes, all earlier FEC publications.
The provincial Forest Inventory Permanent Sample Plot program and the Forest Ecosystem Classification include measures of snags and coarse woody debris. This data will be used to develop guidelines for forest management operations.