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    Forested Wetlands in Atlantic Canada Workshop Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia

    Kespukwitk Conservation Collaborative

    March 12, 2019

  • The intent of this initiative is to work collaboratively to strategically identify, prioritize, and ultimately implement and

    monitor, effective conservation actions to address priority threats using an integrated two-eyed seeing approach

    Kespukwitk Conservation Collaborative

  • Two-eyed seeing: Etuaptmumk

    Etuaptmumk is the Mi'kmaq word for Two-Eyed Seeing introduced by a Mi'kmaq Elder from

    Eskasoni First Nation, Albert Marshall. It refers to learning to see with one eye the strengths of

    Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and with the other eye the strengths of western

    knowledges and ways of knowing, and to learn to use both eyes together to gain a clearer

    understanding of the world. A Two-Eyed Seeing approach is one way to integrate, and develop a

    greater understanding of, and appreciation for Indigenous worldviews

    Graphic arts students at ANSD school in Miramichi

  • Kespukwitk Conservation Collaborative

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    • Significant and unique assemblage of biodiversity

    features: - 354 priority species: SAR,

    MB, S1/S2 spp.

    - 56 COSEWIC SAR; CH for 18 SAR; Action Plan for 23


    • Area: 1.6 million Ha (29% of NS): - 65% Private - 31% Provincial Crown - 3% Federal Crown

    Southwest Nova Scotia

    • Kespukwitk (Ges-pug-witg) - Mi’kmaq district closely aligned with SWNS

    • SWNS partners poised for integrated conservation action identification, implementation and enhanced collaboration

  • ◻ Developed by leading organizations & agencies

    ◻ Open source

    ◻ Common language & framework

    ◻ Used around the world • Gov’t Wildlife Agencies • Protected Areas • Bilateral Biodiversity Funding • Private Donor Funding • Academic Training

    The Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation

  • The Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation

    A framework to explore:

    ◻ How are species and ecosystems doing?

    ◻ Are we taking the right actions to conserve them?

    ◻ Are we doing them well?

    ◻ Are our actions leading to the desired result?

    ◻ If not, what do we need to do to adapt our strategies?

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    Southwest Nova

    Scotia, also known as


    SWNS Conceptual Model of Conservation Targets

  • 9

    Conservation Targets:

    Broad ecosystems

    that represent and

    encompass the full

    suite of biodiversity in


    SWNS Conceptual Model of Conservation Targets

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    Nested Targets:

    Important elements of

    biodiversity (species,

    communities, or

    ecological systems)

    that the team wants to

    emphasize within the

    conservation targets

    SWNS Conceptual Model of Conservation Targets

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    The importance of human-

    wellbeing benefits and ecosystem

    services considerations has been

    emphasized by the Kespukwitk

    Conservation Collaborative

    SWNS Conceptual Model of Conservation Targets

  • Netukulimk:

    Within a Mi’kmaw

    world view,

    ecological targets

    and human

    wellbeing would not

    be separated – they

    would be part of the

    target together at

    the center


    SWNS Conceptual Model of Conservation Targets

  • Conservation Target Case Studies

    ◻ Case Studies to pilot approach:

    ⬜ Forested Wetlands ⬜ Coastal Islands ⬜ Acadian Forest – Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

    ◻ Selected based on their ability to test an integrated approach

    ⬜ Range of targets and methods

    ◻ Subject area working groups

    ⬜ Establish common understanding of the conservation context and status of the target

    ⬜ Identify important knowledge gaps

    ⬜ Identify and prioritize key conservation strategies

    Nested Targets

    Subject Area Expert

    Working Group

  • Information Gathering Process

    ◻ Preliminary information was gathered from a small number of regional experts (n = 8)

    ◻ Input was summarized and presented by WebEx

    ◻ Input from the WebEx was incorporated and presented at the workshop

    ◻ Feedback and discussion from workshop was incorporated and is presented here (32 participants)

  • March 20-21 Forested Wetlands Workshop


    ❑ Build our common understanding of forested wetlands (FW) in Southwest Nova Scotia (SWNS): ❑ Define FW in SWNS, and identify potential nested targets

    ❑ Ecosystem services & human wellbeing benefits

    ❑ Indicators of FW health

    ❑ Threats & drivers

    ❑ Identify strategies to conserve FW ❑ Prioritize

    ❑ Specify theories of change (results chains)

    ❑ Develop objectives & indicators

    ❑ Specify monitoring needs

    ✓ ✓

    ✓ ✓

  • What are forested wetlands in SWNS?

    ◻ Agreement that we are talking about more than just treed swamps

    ◻ Diversity:

    ⬜ Swamps (treed/tall shrub)

    ⬜ Treed/tall shrub peatlands

    ⬜ Vernal pools

    Proposed Working definition: Wetlands with 30% or more cover of woody species > 2m (tall shrubs & trees)

    ◻ Uncertainties:

    ⬜ Include floodplains? Or are these covered by ‘Riparian & floodplain systems’ target?

    ⬜ Include peatlands with lower threshold of cover (e.g., 5-30%)?

  • Forested Wetlands: Attributes

    ◻ Forested wetlands were identified as important ecological systems that represent significant biodiversity in Southwest Nova Scotia


    ◻ What are some important attributes of forested wetlands in SWNS?

    ◻ Large proportion of the (forested) landscape

    ◻ Preponderance of deadwood

    ◻ High insect productivity

    ◻ High species diversity

    ◻ Fire refugia

    ◻ Structurally complex

    ◻ Old growth

    ◻ SAR habitat

    ◻ Habitat connectivity/corridors

    ◻ Source of water/moisture even in dry periods

    ◻ Important hydrologic connections with adjacent landscape and groundwater

  • Where are they?


    ◻ What do we know about the distribution of forested wetlands in Southwest Nova Scotia?

    ◻ NOT well-mapped, especially swamps

    ◻ Estimated to be 5-10% of SWNS landscape

    ◻ Need LiDAR and better models

    ◻ Opportunity for synthesis of many different projects

    ◻ Has implications for all threats

  • Initial Land Tenure Mapping

    Land Tenure Area (ha.) %

    Federal Lands 1,422 3

    Provincial Crown 18,190 43

    Other 22,389 53

    Total 42,001 100

    Land Conservation Area (ha.) %

    Federal Protected Areas 1,414 3

    Provincial Protected Areas 6,458 15

    Private Conserved Lands 230 1

    Unprotected 33,899 81

    Total 42,001 100

    ◻ From NS DNR wetland inventory layer (2013)

    ◻ Only includes ‘Shrub swamp’ and ‘treed swamp’

    ◻ 2.6% of SWNS

    ◻ From NS DNR recent analysis, more like 7%

  • Indicators


    ◻ How do we measure/assess the health of forested wetlands in Southwest Nova Scotia?

    ◻ Agreement that more work is needed to ID best indicators

    ◻ Areal extent: Temporal & spatial change

    ◻ Hydrological regime

    ◻ Amount of deadwood/large deadwood

    ◻ Species/community metrics (#, diversity, biomass)

    ◻ Tree growth rate

    ◻ Presence/abundance of exotic species

    ◻ Forest continuity (lichen diversity & abundance, functional groups like geophytes, ant-dispersed species or slow-growing trailing species)

    ◻ Presence/absence of orchids

    ◻ WESP-AC monitoring at regular intervals

    ◻ Rare species (e.g., blue cohosh, southern twayblade)

  • Threats


    ◻ What are the dominant threats to forested wetlands in Southwest Nova Scotia?

    ◻ Incompatible forestry practices

    ◻ Climate change

    ◻ Roads

    ◻ Invasive Species

    ◻ Hydroelectric Damming

    ◻ Long-range Transport of Air Pollutants (e.g., acid precipitation, mercury)

    ◻ Incompatible Agricultural Activities

    ◻ Residential/Cottage Development

    ◻ Industrial Development (e.g., mines, quarries)

    ◻ Off-Highway Vehicle Use

    ◻ Pesticides


    ◻ Primarily human activities that immediately degrade forested wetlands

  • Relative Threat Ranking & Rating

    Direct Threats Threat Rating

    Forestry Harvesting Practices High

    Habitat Shifting and Alteration (Climate Change) Medium

    Roads Medium

    Invasive Non-native Species Medium

    Agricultural Activities Medium