Nova Scotia restoring forests damaged by the spruce bark beetle
The provincial government of Nova Scotia is restoring forests in Cape Breton's Mabou Highlands ravaged by the spruce bark beetle.
The Department of Natural Resources has authorized the harvesting of two sites on crown land, located in the northern end of the Mabou Highlands, Inverness County. Harvesting on the 95-hectare area has begun and will last about two to three weeks.
"The spruce bark beetle is native to Nova Scotia and widespread throughout the province, but it has been particularly damaging to the white spruce in the Mabou Highlands and surrounding area," said Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell.
The harvesting will reduce the amount of white spruce trees, which are being killed by the spruce bark beetle. It will be done in a manner that encourages the natural regeneration of hardwood trees such as yellow birch and sugar maple, indigenous to the highlands region.
The effort will have the added benefit of curtailing forest fires which could be fueled by the dead trees and providing easier access for firefighters.
"Removing these infested trees will help reduce the potential for fires, help maintain parts of the trail system, and promote the growth of hardwood trees," said Mr. MacDonell.
Department of Natural Resources officials met with stakeholder and interest groups in the region last month.
"We have studied this issue closely and listened to the concerns of those in the area," said Mr. MacDonell. "We feel confident that this is the best approach to dealing with the problem."
Once completed, the department will assess the harvested areas prior to proceeding with the restoration of as many as five additional sites and a further 305 hectares next spring and summer.