Environment featured

Forest loss in Nova Scotia, there’s an app for that

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Forest loss in Nova Scotia continues unabated, but exactly how much and where often is based on anecdotal evidence. What most people don’t know is that there’s an app for that.

Scientists at the University of Maryland has been interpreting aerial photography and displaying their findings in an interactive map for several years now, not just for Nova Scotia, but for anywhere in the world. Recently they added the 2016 data layer.  

The causes of forest loss are many, of course. Highway construction, new suburbs, hurricanes and insects all play a part. That said, it appears that in Nova Scotia clearcutting is one of the major contributing causes.


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The screenshots above show forest loss, 2000-2016, and forest gain, 2000-2012.

I zoomed in on my neck of the (no longer) woods (above). I was surprised how  accurate and detailed the mapping was. Living in the suburbs of Halifax, some but by no means all of the clearcutting that has occurred in this area was to allow for new home construction.

I am only scratching the surface in terms of functionality and information contained in this excellent app. Check it out here.

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  1. We are wiping our ass with the oxygen makers of the planet. And we dare call ourselves homo-sapiens – wise man.

  2. This is comparatively old technology. Twenty years ago our association initiated sustainability as a provincial regulation. Within five years DNR reported forest dynamics turned from negative to positive. We’re the fastest-growing FSC certification group in Canada, rated by FSC as third and fourth respectively in size and growth in North America. Greenpeace rates FSC “top of the tops.”

    It’s difficult to bring Reason to a serious resource management issue with “Forest loss in Nova Scotia continues unabated.” Forests aren’t lost when trees are removed by clear or partial cuts or left to die. They’re a renewable resource. My recent clearcut is regenerating to more resilient and higher-value stands, as has a clearcut 20 years ago. Those red dots represent woodlot owners deriving benefits before their trees die.

    Kingsley Brown, President
    Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association

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