GREATER FUNDY ECOSYSTEM RESEARCH PROJECT
UNB Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management
State of the Greater Fundy Ecosystem
Human Use of the Greater Fundy Ecosystem:
Past and Present
Andrew Skibicki1, Stephen Woodley2, and Judy Loo3
1 GFE Research Project, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B., E3B 6C2
2 Natural Resources Branch - Parks Canada, Hull, Que. K1A 0H3
3 Canadian Forestry Service - Maritime Region, P.O. Box 4000, Fredericton, N.B. E3B 5P7
The Greater Fundy Ecosystem (GFE) has been affected by a long history of human occupation and land use. This chapter provides a brief land use history of the GFE and describes recent socio-economic characteristics and trends that may be affecting biodiversity and the condition of the natural environment.
Ecosystems in the GFE are under pressure from a wide variety of human-influenced landscape changes that have arisen from a growing human population, changes in technologies, external market forces, and other factors. Our understanding of such changes can allow us to gauge, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the degree to which ecosystems have been altered from their natural condition so that we may have a better basis with which to plan for the conservation and possible restoration of native biodiversity in the GFE.
A major historic and ongoing impact on the landscape has been commercial forestry which, through such practices as clearcutting and silviculture, has significantly altered forest species composition and forest age structure in many areas. The changes brought about by forestry, while at times providing additional habitat for many native species, can negatively affect others. Maintaining a forest environment which benefits a diverse range of natural flora and fauna can help to ensure that forest ecosystems are healthy and can recover from future stressful conditions. It can also help to ensure that the forest can continue to provide society with both economic and spiritual values.
NATIVE AND EARLY SETTLEMENT HISTORY
|The area of the GFE has been occupied by human beings for the last 11,000 years (Table 2.1). Artifacts dating from Paleo-Indian times have been found at Quaco Head to the west of the Park as well as other coastal areas along the Bay of Fundy. These early peoples may have hunted migrating herds of Caribou and wintering populations of Harp Seals. They may also have developed a seasonal cycle of food gathering which saw them regularly migrate between coastal and interior areas (Davis, 1991).
Evidence for human habitation of the Maritimes is absent from between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago. It is hypothesized that during this time the region was subjected to dramatic changes in sea levels brought about by the final retreat of the glaciers. As such, either the environment was changing too rapidly for humans to maintain themselves in this area or early peoples chose mainly to exploit off-shore ocean resources. We lack knowledge about this period of human history in the GFE because all evidence for coastal exploitation and settlement during this time was submerged with subsequent rises in sea level (Davis, 1991; Leavitt, 1995).
During the Late Pre-Ceramic Period (5,000 to 2,500 years ago), early inhabitants of the GFE participated in a seasonal cycle of activities, spending the winter along the coast and the summer hunting and fishing in the interior or fishing offshore for Swordfish and Cod (Leavitt, 1995). Animals hunted included Deer, Moose, Bear, sea mammals, and smaller game and birds. Sea-run fish species played a major role in the peoples diet. Wild vegetables and nuts and berries were probably collected when in season (Davis, 1991).
The Ceramic Period (2,500 to 500 years ago) saw a continuation of seasonal hunting and foraging strategies between the interior and the coast. During this time, the distinctive Maritime Woodland traditions (Micmac and Maliseet) developed (Leavitt, 1995). It is also thought that humans began to extensively alter their environment during this time. For instance, Methven and Kendrick (1995) suggest that evidence exists for pre-historic native use of fire in inland parts of New Brunswick given the prevalence of fire-adapted tree species on the landscape.
Table 2.1. A chronology of Native culture in the
The Protohistoric Period (500 to 400 years ago) saw initial contacts between native peoples and European fishermen, explorers and traders. At the time of early European contact, there may have been some regional variations in the exploitation of coastal resources by different native groups. Micmacs appear to have exploited coastal resources mostly in the summer, whereas the Maliseet-Passamaquoddys may have used the coast primarily in winter (Stewart, 1989).
During the Historic Period (400 years ago to the present) seasonal settlement and exploitation patterns were changing quickly. By the 1600s, both Micmacs and Maliseets were spending their summers on the coast trading with Europeans and their winters inland obtaining furs for use as trade (Leavitt, 1995).
General distribution of aboriginal peoples within New Brunswick c. 1700
There appears to be no evidence for intensive human use of GFE area prior to early European settlement which started around 1750 (West and Sinclair, 1985; Lutz, 1997). It was not until the 1830s that the area began to be intensively settled and preliminary land clearance occurred (see Table 2.7 at the end of this chapter).
Since this period of initial European settlement, most of the GFE has been either logged or converted to agriculture. The small settlements that clustered around sawmills along the Bay of Fundy coast, grew rapidly once they were established. By 1870, a peak population of over 1,200 people was recorded in Alma Parish. At that time, there were five towns, many farms, dams and sawmills near or within the present-day boundary of Fundy NP (Allardyce, 1994).
After 1870, the area around Fundy NP began to decline economically. The population of Alma Parish, for instance, decreased to 600 by the 1940's (West and Sinclair, 1985) and to 305 by 1991. The 1996 population rose slightly to 320. The region we refer to as the Intensive Study Area (ISA) currently has one village with a few farms and cottages scattered through outlying areas. Most of the farms have reverted back to forest, although several old-field sites remain (Woodley, 1993).
For a more detailed outline of historic use of the GFE area, click here.
New Brunswicks 1991 population was 723,900. This was an increase of over 14% from 1971. The Southern New Brunswick Ecoregion (Figure 2.1) is the second most populated area of the province. In 1991, this region had a population of 150,766; a 16% increase over 1971. The Fundy Coast Ecoregion, although having a lower 1991 population of 44,871, is the most densely populated region of the province (22 to 24 persons per km2). Most of this population is concentrated in and around the city of Saint John. The population density of the Fundy Coast Ecoregion has declined by 4% since 1971 (Trant and Filoso, 1996).
Figure 2.1.The Southern New Brunswick Uplands and Fundy Coast
Ecoregions (Trant and Filoso, 1996)
Based on population growth alone, it would appear that the Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion is experiencing increasing land use pressures while the demands for land from a growing human population appear to be declining in the Fundy Coast Ecoregion. However, other factors, such as external market demands for natural resources along the coast and seasonal recreational use of coastal areas, can also place pressures on these ecoregions.
Population changes since 1901, based on counties in the GFE, are shown in Figure 2.2. Between 1971 and 1991, population growth has been the greatest in Kings County (87%) and Albert County (57%). Most population growth in Albert County has occurred around Riverview, a community adjacent to Moncton. Westmorland County has the largest population of the four counties and showed a population increase of 16% between 1971 and 1991. Saint John County is the only county which showed a decrease in population (-12%) between these two dates (Statistics Canada census data).
Figure 2.2. Population changes for Counties in the GFE (1901-1991)
(Source: Statistics Canada)
One notable population trend in New Brunswick has been an increase in the rural non-farm population. Between 1971 and 1991, the rural population increased by 39%, and the urban population declined by over 4%, despite an apparent decline in persons involved in farming. As would be expected, most rural non-farm population growth has occurred along the outskirts of existing urban centres. The drop in urban residents has been most pronounced in the Fundy Coast Ecoregion which has experienced a 26% decline in urban population between 1971 and 1991 (Trant and Filoso, 1996).
Between 1981 and 1991, the experienced labour force in the Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion grew by 17% (61,714 to 72,110 individuals). The part of this labour force involved in the land use intensive sector (i.e. agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, and mining) increased by 2% (3,164 to 3,231 individuals). Workers with experience in the forestry sector declined substantially by 85% (1,133 to 166 individuals) while workers involved in mining increased by 258% (317 to 1,135 individuals). Fishing and hunting showed an 89% increase (94 to 178 individuals)(Trant and Filoso, 1996)(Figure 2.3).
Between 1981 and 1991, the experienced labour force in the Fundy Coast Ecoregion grew by 0.4% (21,195 to 21,276 individuals). The part of the labour force involved in the land use intensive sector increased by 30% (1,109 to 1,443 individuals). Workers with experience in forestry declined by 19% (180 to 145 individuals) while workers with experience in fishing/hunting increased by 7% (775 to 825 individuals). Workers with experience in agriculture increased by 232% (134 to 445 individuals) and those involved in mining increased by 40% (20 to 28 individuals)(Trant and Filoso, 1996)(Figure 2.4).
Overall, the proportion of the total labour force with experience in the intensive resource sector declined from 5% to 4.4% in the Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion but increased from 5.2% to 6.8% for the Fundy Coast Ecoregion, indicating a greater reliance on the resource sector for employment in this ecoregion.
Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion: Experienced Labour Force growth 1981-91.
The largest growth in terms of experienced labour force between 1981 and 1991
in the Southern New Brunswick Uplands was in mining (818 individuals),
agriculture (132 individuals), and fishing and hunting (84 individuals).
Forestry has seen a loss of 967 individuals over the same period
Fundy Coast Ecoregion: Experienced Labour Force growth 1981-91.
The largest growth in experienced labour force between 1981 and 1991
has been in agriculture (311 individuals), fishing and hunting (50 individuals)
and mining (8 individuals). Forestry has seen a loss of 35 individuals
over the same period.
As Figures 2.3 and 2.4 show, both areas showed a decline in the number of people involved in the forestry industry between 1981 and 1991. This may be due to a number of factors including increased mechanization of forestry operations and cyclical changes in the industry.
Most land in New Brunswick that is suitable for farming has been developed for this land use. Figure 2.5 shows changes in the number of farms and total farmland area between 1951 and 1991 for counties in the GFE.
Figure 2.5. Number of farms and total farmland area for counties in the GFE:
1951, 1971 and 1991
Since 1971, and even earlier, the agricultural industry in the province has been in an overall state of decline with falls in the numbers of farms and total farmland area. The 1996 census data, however, point to an increase in both number of farms (+40) and total farmland area (+4,160 ha.) for Westmorland County since 1991. Kings and Saint John Counties showed a slight increase in number of farms (+5) but a continued decrease in total farmland area (-3,020 ha.) since 1991. Albert County continued to see a decline in both number of farms (-5) and total farmland area (-1,154 ha.) during this same time period.
Since 1971, use of land for farming has declined in the Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion. Farmland area in the ecoregion fell by 14% from 1971-81 and by an additional 13% from 1981-91. The number of farms dropped by 16% from 1971-81 and 17% from 1981-91 (Trant and Filoso, 1996).
The Fundy Coastal Ecoregion has seen a similar, if more notable, decline in use of land for farming during the same interval. Farmland area declined by 40% between 1971-81 and an additional 24% between 1981-91. The number of farms declined by 41% between 1971-81 but rose slightly by 3% between 1981-91. Despite this overall drop, the experienced labour force involved in agriculture grew during this time (Trant and Filoso, 1996).
The total number of farms has been declining significantly in all areas of the GFE since the 1950s. At the same time, average farm size has been increasing. However, the 1996 census shows that Westmorland County appears to be experiencing a growth in both number of farms and total farmland area.
The continuing trend in most parts of the GFE is towards less people operating more and more land and indicates that decisions regarding land use are now being made at a larger scale relative to a larger farm size. This also reflects the decline of the traditional individual family farm. In 1976, 93% of all farms in the province were individual family farms. This figure dropped to 68% by 1991 (Trant and Filoso, 1996).
Abandoned farmlands in the GFE may have been turned into commercial forestry plantation, allowed to re-grow back into forest or redeveloped for residential, commercial, and/or recreational uses.
Cropland tends to be the most highly cultivated form of farmland and thus is subject to more tillage and fertilizer and pesticide input than pasture, grazing and fallow land. Major crop types for counties around Fundy NP in 1996 are shown in Table 2.2. Tame hay, used for cattle feed, is the dominant crop grown on farms in the GFE. Other crops include alfalfa, oats, barley, and blueberries. Blueberries are a major crop for all the counties in the GFE (Table 2.2).
The loss of natural pollinators through conversion of native ecosystems has a serious impact on many horticultural crops including blueberries. This has necessitated the use of exotic species, such as European Honeybee, Western Leaf Cutter Bees, and others, for pollination services (H. Clay, Pers. comm.)
The proportion of farmland that is in cropland increased for both ecoregions between 1971 and 1991. The Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion has seen a 39% increase and the Fundy Coastal Ecoregion has seen a 33% increase in the proportion of farmland being used to produce crops. This indicates that the intensity of use of existing farmland is increasing even though the overall amount of land in farmland is declining (Trant and Filoso, 1996). Figure 2.6 shows changes in farmland use by county between 1971 and 1991.
Table 2.2. Major crops (by area) for
Blueberries (Photo: Fundy NP)
A blueberry field near Fundy NP (Photo: A. Skibicki)
Figure 2.6. Changes in farmland use between 1971 and 1991
(Source: Statistics Canada)
In the Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion, the percentage of total cropland that is rotated (i.e. planted with different crops) from year to year is 90%. For the Fundy Coast Ecoregion, the percentage is 66%. The high amount of land that is rotated indicates a healthy mix of crop types. No wide-row monocultural cropping has been reported in either the Southern New Brunswick Uplands or the Fundy Coastal Ecoregion between 1971-91 (Trant and Filoso, 1996).
Expenditures on agricultural pesticides in New Brunswick are over three times the national average. Agricultural pesticide expenditures for the Southern New Brunswick Uplands Ecoregion increased by 171% from 1970-90. Expenditures for the Fundy Coast Ecoregion increased by 52%. Application expenditures per hectare of improved land increased by 193% for the Southern New Brunswick Uplands and 273% for the Fundy Coast (Trant and Filoso, 1996).
Common herbicides used on blueberries in the GFE include Valpar and Roundup (H. Clay, Pers. comm). Another common fungicide containing chlorothalonil is known to be toxic to fish; however, there is limited information on its overall impacts (Eaton et al., 1994).
The amount of commercial fertilizer applied on farmland in New Brunswick increased by 14% between 1970-90. Application on farms in the Southern New Brunswick Uplands increased by 86% from 1970-90. Application in the Fundy Coast declined slightly by 2% (Trant and Filoso, 1996). Fertilizers can contribute to non-point source pollution into adjacent rivers and streams. While nutrient input from cattle manure, which can result in excessive plant growth and eutrophication, has remained relatively stable between 1970 and 1986, the increased use of commercial fertilizers has increased the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous eventually reaching the aquatic environment. Runoff from fertilizers can also lead to the contamination of drinking wells and acidification of agricultural soils (Eaton et al., 1994)
Soil erosion from agricultural activities, while unquantified, is also thought to be a problem. Soil erosion can lead to a loss of fertile land, siltation of fish habitat, and surface water contamination (Eaton et al., 1994).
In recent years, the province has implemented a number of agricultural assistance programs in New Brunswick. In March 1995, a $2.2 million program was launched to encourage economic growth in rural areas by increasing production of potatoes, wood products, and inland aquaculture along with the establishment of outdoor recreation activities and tourism packages. In June 1995, the Potato Expansion Program provided assistance to improve plant stands through better irrigation, land clearing, drainage and erosion control and to provide improved marketing for small potatoes (NB Dept. of Finance, 1996). These programs, and others, have expanded the production of livestock, vegetables and fruits - such as blueberries - in recent years (NB Dept. of Finance, 1997).
In summary, farming as a land use has been steadily declining in the GFE since the early 1900s. However, the farmland that remains is being more intensively used. As well, fewer and fewer farmers are managing more and more land. 1996 census data show a resurgence of farming activity in Westmorland County but not elsewhere. The last few years have also seen expansions in specialty crops such as blueberries which can be grown in areas of the GFE where harsher climate, poor soils and rocky terrain have forced previous agriculture to be abandoned. Use of marginal lands for specialty crop production, such as blueberries and cranberries, has been encouraged by provincial economic assistance programs.
Within the ISA, agriculture is currently not a major land use in the Fundy Coastal Ecodistrict nor the Fundy Plateau Ecodistrict. It is a more important activity in the Anagance Ridge Ecodistrict and ecodistricts further north (see Figure 2.7).
Figure 2.7. Agriculture in the Intensive Study Area (ISA)
Forestry in New Brunswick and the GFE
New Brunswick is covered by 6.1 million hectares of forest land. About 48% of this forested land is owned by the province and an additional 1% is owned by the federal government. The remaining 51% of forest land is in private ownership. Of this private land, 21% is owned by the forest industry and 30% is owned by about 35,000 individual woodlot owners (MacFarlane, 1995; Natural Resources Canada, 1996).
Industrial freehold land is land that is owned by large companies, such as J.D. Irving Ltd., or individuals who own or operate a wood processing facility. Private woodlots are owned by individuals who may practise forest harvesting on their lands but who do not own or operate a wood processing plant (Forestry Canada - Maritimes Region, 1991).
The importance of the forest industry to the New Brunswick economy has always been significant and has increased in recent years. In 1993, the industry represented 1 in 14 jobs in the province, while in 1995 it represented 1 job in 12. The forest industry generated 17,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs in the Province in 1995 (Natural Resources Canada, 1996).
After a very strong period of growth in 1995, the provinces pulp and paper industry was hit in 1996 with a substantial decline in market prices for pulp and paper products (a drop of about 40% for pulp and 30% for newsprint). However, demands for pulp and paper were improving by the end of the year. Market demands for lumber and the wood products were increasing in 1996 and are expected to be favourable for the next few years (NB Dept. of Finance, 1997).
The Provinces forest industry has continued a slow recovery from the recession of 1989-91. The total value of forest industry exports in 1994 was $1.7 billion; up from $1.3 billion in 1992. In 1992, wood pulp accounted for 35% of the value of exports, other paper and paperboard 29%, and newsprint 21%. In 1994, wood pulp accounted for 28% of exports, other paper and paperboard 25%, and newsprint 21%.
Major export markets for wood products from New Brunswick have been the United States, European Union and Japan. The balance of trade grew from $+1.2 billion in 1992 to $+1.5 billion in 1994 (Natural Resources Canada, 1996). Other important forestry related products produced in New Brunswick and exported to outside markets include Christmas trees and maple syrup (MacFarlane, 1995).
Logs in a lumberyard (Photo: A. Skibicki)
In recent decades, there has been an increase in the rate of harvesting in the province with the rapid expansion and growth of the wood fiber industry. The New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners estimates that in each two year period, about three years of softwood forest growth in the province is being harvested; leading to concerns over the long-term sustainability of this resource (Finnamore, 1997). Increases in the frequency and length of Spruce Budworm outbreaks have also added to the rate of forest loss although these losses are counted in forest models for Crown Land and large freehold. Crown Lands are managed for sustainable yield of timber but the combination of budworm mortality, past cutting practices and current rate of harvest is expected to result in a shortfall in available mature and overmature timber early in the next century.
Spruce and Balsam Fir are softwood tree species which make up over 50% of the total gross merchantable volume of forests in the province. These trees are in high demand by the forest industry because of their excellent pulp and paper characteristics (Forestry Canada - Maritime Region, 1991). Since the 1920s, the forest industry in the Province has been predominantly pulpwood oriented.
Forests in New Brunswick are categorized by community types and age-class. An age-class represents the amount of forest land within a specified age range or development class. Age-classes help to tell the forest industry where there will be future gaps in the amount of harvestable forest and hence supply of wood as areas are harvested and replaced by younger trees, either naturally or by replanting. The ideal state for forestry is to have an equal age-class distribution for all age classes, since this would provide the industry with the same amount of forest land area to harvest year after year (Forestry Canada - Maritime Region, 1991).
The forest industry usually targets the mature-age class for harvest before the trees are lost to insects, diseases and natural mortality. Such a harvesting strategy is frequently at odds with the habitat needs of certain wildlife species which may depend on older growth forest structures and the complex ecosystems they contain for their survival. Mature and overmature forest development stages in the ISA and adjacent lands are shown in Figure 2.9.
Figure 2.9. DNRE's 1993 Forestry Development Stage inventory for the ISA and neighbouring area
Silviculture plays an important part in replacing the amount of softwood that is harvested under the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC). The AAC is calculated every five years and specifies the volume of wood that can be harvested each year over a specified period of time. Silviculture programs in New Brunswick have largely been set up to make up for any potential shortfall in the supply of softwood. Since the 1960s, use of plantations to supplement wood supply in the province has grown substantially (Figures 2.10). Silvicultural treatment, which involves removing competing vegetation and allowing for more growing space for future crop trees, has also been extensively employed on Crown land, especially in the last five years (Figure 2.11)(Forestry Canada - Maritime Region, 1991; DNRE, 1996).
Figure 2.10. Reforestation on Crown Land in New Brunswick 1962-1995 (in hectares)
Figure 2.11. Precommercial thinning operations on Crown Land in New Brunswick
1962-1995 (in hectares)(DNRE, 1996)
In 1996, the province announced an accelerated silvicultural program to increase the long-term volume of sustainable harvests on Crown Land. In that year silvicultural programs in the province employed about 1,250 people (NB Dept. of Finance, 1997).
In the GFEs Intensive Study Area (ISA), commercial forestry activities are extensive (Figure 2.8). Large areas of the GFE have been clearcut and silviculturally managed, especially since the early 1970s.
Figure 2.8. Clearcuts and plantations in the Intensive Study Area (ISA)
Forestry activities are also extensive in the Fundy Model Forest. The predominant forest cover types in the FMF are hardwood (34%), softwood (33%), hardwood/softwood (18%), and softwood/hardwood (15%). The majority of the gross merchantable volume of timber in this region (26.5 million m3) is in softwood species including Spruce, Pine, Fir, Cedar, and Larch (58%). Hardwood species account for the remainder of the forest resource (Table 2.3)(Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994).
A relatively large proportion of the trees in Crown License 7, which encompasses the FMF, are classified as mature or overmature and thus are targeted by the forestry industry for commercial harvest (Figures 2.9 and 2.12). Certain softwoods such as Balsam Fir begin to deteriorate after 60 years of age although they can live 80-100 years. Traditional forestry management has sought to identify such mature to overmature stands of trees and to harvest them before they are lost as commercial products. About 43% of the FMF is classified as having trees more than 60 years of age (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994). The Annual Allowable Cut for the Fundy Model Forest is shown in Table 2.4.
Figure 2.12. Softwood age class distribution on Crown License 7
From 1988 to 1993, average annual production of commercial products from the FMF, excluding firewood, was over 329,600 m3. Pulpwood accounted for two-thirds (68%) of this total. Other major products included studwood (21%) and sawlogs (10%)(Table 2.5).
Timber management and production contributes much to the total economic impacts derived from forestry in the FMF (Table 2.6). Other timber related products harvested in the FMF include Christmas trees, maple syrup and firewood. There are 38 Christmas tree producers in the FMF, with a total area extending over 250 ha. This activity has an estimated direct market value of $375,000 and generates 40-60 seasonal jobs. Maple syrup producers number 20 and manage an area of about 325 ha. This activity is estimated to have a value of $340,000 and generates an estimated 75-100 seasonal jobs. Most firewood is harvested and sold for private use. Estimated annual firewood consumption is a little over 52,000 m3. Estimated employment and income/value generated from this activity are 16 person years and over $2 million (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994).
Forestry: Pesticide and Herbicide use
The use of DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloro-ethane) by the forest industry to control Spruce Budworm and other forest pests ended in 1968 (Fellows, 1987). Since then, fenitrothion has been the most common pesticide used.
The negative effects of fenitrothion use include the short-term reduction of pollinating insects, health risks to migratory songbirds, and negative impacts on aquatic invertebrates. By reducing the numbers of pollinating insects, some key ecological processes such as plant reproduction can be impaired leading to decreases in the food supply for seed and fruit eating animals (Ernst et al., 1989; Eaton et al., 1994).
Herbicides such as 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T are being replaced by the less persistent and less toxic glyphosate in forestry operations. However, since 1986, the amount of herbicide being used, particularly on plantations in the Maritimes, has increased by 50% (Eaton et al., 1994).
Road networks can result in significant environmental effects. They can fragment existing natural habitat, serve as barriers to species movement, cause siltation of water bodies, alter ground and surface water flows, cause noise, alter viewscapes and disrupt the aesthetic appeal of an area.
Road networks are extensive throughout the GFE. Nearly every hectare of land in the Fundy Model Forest area, with the exception of Fundy NP, is accessible by some type of road. The density of roads of all types within the ISA is 0.9 km/km2. Evidence from other regions suggests that a density greater than 0.58 km/km2 is associated with losses in ecological integrity (Forman and Hersperger, 1996).
Roads can be divided into three types: (i) provincially built and maintained roads (e.g. the Trans-Canada Highway, Highway 114), (ii) forest access roads built and maintained by industrial operators (e.g. J.D. Irving Ltd.), and (iii) forest access roads built and maintained by private woodlot owners (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994). Road networks within the Intensive Study Area (ISA) are shown in Figure 2.13.
Figure 2.13. Road networks in the Intensive Study Area (ISA)
Maintaining old timber access roads is a benefit not only to forestry but also to recreational users. Roads provide access to areas where forest fires may be a common natural disturbance. Such a network would prevent the loss of valuable merchantable timber to forest fires. Roads also are necessary for ongoing silvicultural operations.
Road construction can disturb soils and change surface water flow. Surface water eventually enters aquatic systems such as rivers and lakes, depositing eroded silts and soils within them. Failing to incorporate measures to minimize road-related erosion can degrade or destroy aquatic ecosystems. Forest access road construction has been altered in recent years in response to increased public concerns and to observe government legislation designed to protect water resources. Advances have been made in the design of bridges and culverts and in controlling water flow off road surfaces (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994).
Once roads are built in the FMF, they tend to remain open. After timber harvesting has finished in an area, many roads become extensively used by recreationists to access hunting areas or waterways. Use of such roads by private vehicles can disrupt the original road design and thus change surface water flow patterns. This can contribute to erosion and siltation problems in lakes and streams. Access to previously remote rivers and streams by recreationists may also lead to over-exploitation of some fish populations. Management of recreation sites and resources in a manner which accounts for increased access and impacts is not formally undertaken (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994).
Causeways, such as the one over the Petitcodiac River at Moncton, can disrupt natural water flows, accelerate the accumulation of sediments, and disrupt the life stages of certain fish such as the Atlantic Salmon (Eaton et al., 1994).
Industrial mineral producers in the FMF include the Potash Company of America (potash and salt), Sussex Silica Inc., Nelson Monuments Ltd. (processed stone), and, until recently, the Potacan Mining Company (potash). There is also some lime mining near Havelock. Industrial minerals account for about one-third of New Brunswicks total value of mineral production; most of which is dominated by metal-mining (zinc, lead and copper) (Government of New Brunswick, 1995). There are currently no metal-mining operations in the GFE. Before its closure in late October 1997 due to water leakage problems, the above ground tailings pile at the Potacan Mining Company facility totaled about 2.7 million tonnes. Provincial monitoring at the Potacan facility indicated that the facility met air and water quality guidelines (Dept. of Environment, 1996).
The area of the GFE is considered to have moderate to good aggregate potential (sand, gravel and crushed stone)(Government of New Brunswick, 1995). Aggregates are extensively used in the construction industry, transportation industry, and also for water treatment, rip-rap and fill, and smelting. Numerous small pits and quarries can be found along existing major roads and access roads throughout the GFE. The negative effects from quarrying and aggregate mining can include increased turbidity in nearby waters from aggregate stockpiles and site runoff, groundwater disruption or contamination, land clearance, road building, dust, noise, and aesthetic impact (Eaton et al., 1994).
LONG-RANGE AIR POLLUTION
Industrial activities occurring outside of the GFE can have a strong impact on local environments. The pollution from these activities can be carried over long distances through air movement. Long-range air pollutants from the northeastern U.S. and central Canada include Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) - the major ingredient of acid rain - and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), which are contributors to the formation of ground-level ozone. The negative environmental effects of these external pollutants are thought to be greater than local emissions from New Brunswick. Except for the city of Saint John and its nearby area, which periodically experiences high levels of ground-level ozone, ambient air levels of most air pollutants in the Maritimes, in terms of the National Air Quality Objectives, have been in the desirable or acceptable range and are improving. Fundy NP, however, has experienced periods of elevated ozone levels beyond the desirable level probably from high seasonal inflows of automobiles. Ozone can irritate eyes, throats and lungs and can damage vegetation. Automobiles account for about 20% of all NOx emissions (Eaton et al., 1994).
Recent declines in Canadian and U.S. SO2 emissions have reduced the levels of sulphate deposition on lakes and other water bodies in the region. However, the amounts are still above the 8 kg/ha/year level that is thought necessary to protect the most sensitive aquatic ecosystems. Average sulphate deposition in the south and south-west parts of New Brunswick was 18 kg/ha/year for the 1988-1993 period (Dept. of Environment, 1996).
Acid rain can have harmful effects on wildlife. Acid rain can harm Atlantic Salmon by limiting sperm mobility and affecting the viability of newly hatched fish and insect food sources. The amount of loss of aquatic organisms in New Brunswick from acid rain is largely unknown and unquantified (Eaton et al. 1994).
White Birch decline along the Fundy coast may also be linked to the effects of acidic marine fog. Cox et al. (1996) found significant spatial and temporal correlation between foliage browning in White Birch and the frequency and chemistry of fog within 30 km of the Fundy coast. They also found that Mountain Paper Birch showed a significantly greater sensitivity to acid marine fog and suggest its potential use as a bio-indicator of atmospheric change along the Fundy Coast.
TOURISM AND RECREATION
Fundy National Park
Fundy NP is the key recreation destination in the area and the second most visited tourist site in New Brunswick (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994). It is often described as a family-oriented park, offering a variety of recreational activities. Many visitors enjoy the natural environment and related activities, such as hiking, fishing, beach-combing, and the Interpretive Program. The Park also offers developed recreational facilities; a large area for field games, tennis courts, golf course, and a heated salt water swimming pool.
The influx of visitors during the summer months has a pronounced economic impact on the surrounding area of Albert County, where retail sales are approximately 70% higher in July and August than during the rest of the year (Woodley, 1993). It is estimated that tourists spend about $9.3 million every year while visiting the Park and the adjacent area. These expenditures resulted in 128 full-time equivalent jobs in 1993 (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994). In addition to the revenue brought in by tourists, Kilpatrick and Runyon (1994) estimate that the park generates some 70 person years of employment directly (through wages and salaries and goods and services) and an additional 32 person years indirectly in the region.
The total number of Park visitors in 1996 was 186,933. The average number of visitors to the park annually between 1984-1996 was 190,189 (Figure 2.14). The local region accounts for the largest percentage of Park visitor parties (29%), followed by parties from the United States (18%), Quebec (12%), and other Canadian provinces (19%). These visitors stayed, on average, three hours for day users, and a little over two nights for overnight users (Woodley, 1993).
Figure 2.14. Total number of visitors to Fundy NP 1984-1996
The peak period for Park visitors is in the months of July and August. In the last decade, there has been a trend towards a camping season that extends well into the fall. Winter activities are becoming more important with the introduction of groomed, cross-country ski trails and, as a result, a dramatic increase in winter use of the Park and its facilities is expected.
Mercury contamination assessment of Fundy NP golf courses
Certain recreational facilities associated with Fundy NP have been linked with pollution problems. A 1995 study by Environment Canada showed that the golf course greens at the Fundy NP golf course had elevated concentrations of total mercury, presumably from the use of mercury-based fungicides. Between 1949 and 1983, the fungicide Merfusan (mercuric and mercurous chloride) was applied liberally to the greens on the Fundy NP golf course. Since then, the greens have been maintained through more environmentally-sound practices including frequent mowing, autumn aeration, spring ice removal, dew removal and application of organic fertilizer. Pesticides have not been used on the golf course since 1990 (dEntremont and Carter, 1996).
Although its application ended 14 years ago, Merfusan continues to persist in the soils beneath the greens and can become remobilized if the soil is disturbed. Sampling at two greens at Fundy NP showed total mercury concentrations well above the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) remediation criteria. Further work in 1996 indicated that most of the greens showed elevated mercury concentrations. There was little evidence, however, that mercury was migrating off the greens and a human health risk assessment, on grounds workers, showed no contamination hazard to workers or users of the site (dEntremont and Carter, 1996).
dEntremont and Carter (1996) concluded that remediation of the Fundy NP green sites was not warranted given the evaluation of risk to human health. They recommended, however, that the site should be continually monitored through soil core and runoff sampling and periodic sampling of mercury within wildlife. They also recommended that precautions be taken by greens workers.
Other disturbed sites at Fundy NP
Watts (1994) inventoried, mapped, assessed and prioritized disturbed sites in Fundy NP. Thirty-six sites - excluding old homesteads, logging brows and other class sites - were identified and ranked as either high, medium or low priority for remediation. High priority sites included the old potato research facility disinfecting pit, the Halsam pit and the motel pit. The potato disinfecting pit utilized CuSO4 powder to treat potatoes and other plant matter. The high copper concentrations at the pit remain to the present day and have prevented vegetation from re-colonizing the site. Other lower priority sites included an old riding stable, several former gravel pits, abandoned roads, the old copper mine tailings site and old campgrounds.
The Goshen Snowmobile Club establishes and maintains snowmobile trails in the area of the FMF. The Club oversaw in excess of 200 km of groomed and marked trails in the area in 1993/94. The Shepody Road and eastern boundary of Fundy NP, are two routes frequently used by members of this organization. Members of the Chignecto Cross-Country Ski Club utilize the groomed trails within Fundy NP. A downhill ski facility operates at Poley Mountain near Waterford (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994).
Snowshoeing in Fundy NP (Photo: Fundy NP)
Fundy Trail Linear Parkway
The idea of a connecting driving route along the Fundy coast from the St. Stephen area to Nova Scotia, as a tourism/recreational development, had been considered for a number of years. A coastal driving route had been in existence between Saint John and St. Martins for many years but no link had been developed between St. Martins and Fundy NP (Fiander-Good Associates Ltd., 1994).
In the late 1980s, a provincial government steering committee with representatives from DNRE, Economic Development and Tourism, Transportation, and the Regional Development Corporation, examined the concept of a tourism/recreational facility linking St. Martins and Alma. A preliminary study in 1988 considered potential corridors between these two communities. A second study in 1990 examined alternative trail locations, completed preliminary engineering design for parts of the trail, and finished a preliminary environmental assessment of the area (Figure 2.15). In 1990, the Fundy Trail Development Authority Inc. (FTDAI) was given the responsibility for developing plans and specifications for the trail. The project was subsequently registered for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening (Fiander-Good Associates Ltd., 1994).
Figure 2.15. Proposed routes for the Fundy Trail Linear Parkway
and the Sentier hiking trail
The goal of the Coastal Parkway is to maximize the opportunity to appreciate the resources of the area while minimizing environmental intrusions and impacts. The Parkway is to be developed to the extent that it becomes a primary attraction to the area in its own right. The Parkway is planned to be a low speed roadway providing as much direct access and viewing opportunities as possible to the Fundy coastal zone. The Parkway is planned to be accompanied by strategically located laybys, parking areas, and hiking trails connecting scenic lookouts and coastal features (Fiander-Good Associates Ltd, 1994).
The project is expected to involve upgrading of the Shepody Road west of Hwy 114 with an asphalt concrete surface to allow maximum posted vehicle speeds of 70 km/h. A number of culverts are also to be put in place with a design sensitive to fish passage and flooding. The section of the parkway east of the Little Salmon River will be open year round and allow truck operations (Fiander-Good Associates Ltd., 1994)
In 1994, the parkway project received approval to proceed from the Lieutenant Governor in Council (Dept. of the Environment, 1996).
New Brunswick Provincial Trail System
In 1995, the Provincial Trail Task Force outlined an initiative to establish a province-wide, shared use, all-season trail system to be completed by the year 2000. The trail will be called the Sentier NB Trail, and will connect communities throughout the province. Many sections of the trail are intended to be built upon abandoned railway lines. The Fundy coastal section of the trail will run from Saint John to Moncton and is expected to link up with the existing trail networks running through Fundy NP. The trail is designed to accommodate non-motorized uses such as hiking, jogging, and biking although snowmobiling was also included as a permitted use in the original design of the trail system (Provincial Trail Task Force, 1995).
The Trans Canada Trail will share parts of the Sentier NB Trail system, including the Fundy coastal stretch.
The trail section extending from St. Martins to Fundy NP (Figure 2.15) is currently under construction and the 60 km section from Fundy NP to Moncton is expected to be completed in the near future (Provincial Trail Task Force, 1995).
Hunting and Fishing
Hunting is a popular recreational activity in New Brunswick. An estimated 21% of residents in the province hunt. This is over twice the national average (MacFarlane, 1995). Over 98,000 hunting and trapping licenses and 114,000 fishing licenses were sold in the Province in 1993. This generated $3.2 million in License revenue for the Province (MacFarlane, 1995).
The FMF area is a popular deer hunting destination in the autumn. More than 25% of all White-tailed Deer harvested in the province in 1992 came from this region. Licensing distribution in New Brunswick indicates that the number of hunters who hunt in the FMF area is much higher than many other areas of the province. Almost 20% of hunters in the province reported hunting in the FMF. Other game taken from this area include Black Bear, Moose and various game birds such as Ruffed Grouse and American Woodcock (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994).
Major fish species angled in the streams and rivers of the FMF include Salmon, Trout, Smelt, Pickerel, Perch, and Bass. A majority of the 4,000 licensed anglers in the FMF are in Kings County. The majority of angling effort occurs within the rivers and streams that make up the Saint John River watershed. The Kennebecasis sub-drainage basin is one such popular angling location (Kilpatrick and Runyon, 1994).
The expenditures of hunters and fishermen for food, lodging and supplies amounted to an estimated $100 million in 1991. An additional $87 million was spent by residents on non-consumptive wildlife-related activities such as wildlife viewing or wildlife photography (MacFarlane, 1995).
NEW PROTECTED AREAS
In 1996, three new conservation areas were declared immediately west of the Park. These areas are considered by the province to be protected at the level of IUCN category 1b. Although most consumptive uses are prohibited, hunting and fishing are still allowed in the conservation areas. The new areas protect McManus Hill (158 ha.), the Point Wolfe River Gorge (704 ha.) and Little Salmon River Gorge (706 ha)(Figure 2.17).
Figure 2.17. Conservation areas in the GFE (DNRE, 1996)
McManus Hill, adjacent to the northwest corner of the Park, is a tolerant hardwood stand, consisting primarily of Yellow Birch and Sugar Maple. The site was designated because it represents an area of relatively intact upland hardwood with the usual suite of associated understory plant species. All of the surrounding forest has been cut in the past. Protecting this site from future harvesting activities will save the existing viewscape west of Fundy NPs Wolfe Lake interpretative centre.
The Point Wolfe River Gorge is a steep forested gorge adjacent to the western boundary of the Park with cliffs, ledges, waterfalls and rapids. The primary reason for protecting this 704 ha area is to conserve the gorge and the rare plant community associated with it. The area includes the confluence of the east branch of the Point Wolfe River and the main Point Wolfe River, and hosts numerous rare plant species including Fragrant Fern, Smooth Woodsia, Fir Clubmoss, Sedge (Scirpus hudsonianus), White Snakeroot, and Hyssop-leaved Fleabane.
The Little Salmon River Gorge is located about 20 km southwest of the Fundy NP boundary. The main reasons for protection of this site were to capture an example of the unusual physiography in the area and because of the presence of rare plant species such as Brauns Holly Fern, Fragrant Fern, Northern Woodsia, Smooth Woodsia, and Fir Clubmoss. In addition, the site hosts a stand of relatively undisturbed mature Red Spruce. Fens nearby, which had been identified as requiring protection, were not included in the conservation area. The area of this site may be increased in the future however, because the management plan for the area recommends changing the boundaries to include all the area that would be considered riparian buffer by the GFE Biodiversity Guidelines.
A recent development in the GFE is a 38 km long linear park extending westward along the coast from Fundy NP. The new park will be called the Fundy Linear Park and is intended to protect the 1 km wide coastline from most consumptive uses. The IUCN category for this site is uncertain because in addition to allowing hunting and fishing in the area, a highway may traverse the length of the park, raising questions about the biodiversity protection value of the site. A number of deep river or stream gorges cross the linear park, but only the gorge mouths will be protected. The mouth of the Little Salmon River falls within the Fundy linear park. The expectation is that this area will be treated as a conservation area, as prescribed in the Little Salmon River Gorge management plan.
During the past five years, gap analyses were conducted at different scales in the Fundy Model Forest and in the province as a whole. A gap analysis is a procedure that is used to identify geological features, vegetation types and vertebrate species that are under-represented in areas managed primarily for conserving native biodiversity, and to locate areas where additional protection would increase the representation of native biodiversity in such managed areas (Scott, et al 1993). Davis and Stoms (1996) identified four spatial levels for gap analysis: (1) the planning region, corresponding to the province, (2) the planning unit, corresponding to large-scale landforms or watersheds, (3) the landscape, roughly corresponding to the ecosite classification level, and, (4) the landscape feature, including vegetation types, wildlife habitat types, and occurrences of rare, threatened or endangered species. For three of these levels, gaps were identified in the representation of ecological features in existing protected areas. The provincial gap analysis identified representation gaps at the landform level. A process is underway to identify large protected areas that will result from the provincial gap analysis. The two gap analyses conducted within the FMF were at the two finer scales.
A fine-filter gap analysis of the FMF identified 65 areas requiring protection on the basis of rare plant occurrence, unusually high species diversity, or ecosystems that are limited to small areas by natural or human causes. These sites represent a range of ownerships, with few sites falling entirely on a single property. Each of the 27 sites that falls entirely or partially on J.D. Irving freehold land, is being included in the companys unique areas program. This means that the sites are delineated on maps and receive special consideration in forest management practices. These sites are not given permanent protected status, however, and timber extraction in these areas is not excluded. Thirty-five of the sites fall entirely or partially on small private holdings. All owners have been contacted and invited to donate the land to a conservation agency, enter into a stewardship agreement or, at least, develop appropriate management plans to protect the biodiversity values. Nature Conservancy Canada has received one small site, which hosts a number of rare plant species, as a donation from a private woodlot owner. The Conservancy is currently working on acquisition of another large site, involving several owners. This site, which is close to being secured, hosts a rich and diverse flora.
The second gap analysis was conducted at a landscape level to assess ecosite representation by existing and proposed protected areas (MacDougall et al. submitted). No new areas were proposed as a result of this exercise; it simply identified holes. Significant portions of three ecoregions fall within the GFEs ISA. The ecosites in the Fundy Coast Ecoregion, near Fundy NP, are well represented by the Park, or by the newly established conservation areas. The only ecosite in this ecoregion, in proximity to the Park, that is not adequately represented in a protected area is Black Spruce forest on coastal bog. If all sites that were identified by the fine-filter gap analysis receive protection, this ecosite will be covered.
Most of the ecosites in the Southern Uplands Ecoregion are well represented in existing protected areas, as well, with exceptions being the Balsam Fir-Black Spruce-Cedar forest on poor to moderately rich and well-drained bottomland soils, Red Spruce-Balsam Fir forest on lower slopes with acidic moderately-drained soils, and Sugar Maple-Red Spruce-Beech on well-drained, nutrient deficient steep slopes.
The other ecoregion that partially falls within the ISA is the Continental Lowlands. At present, none of the ecosites in this ecoregion that are close to the Park is represented in protected areas. Small areas of some of the ecosites are included in sites identified by the fine-filter gap analysis, but even if these sites receive legal protection, the representation for these ecosites would generally not be adequate.
Information provided by:
Dr. Graham Forbes
Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at UNB
Last Update: May 7, 1998
This document: http://www.unb.ca/web/forestry/centers/cwru/soe/chapter2.htm