Planning for Ecological Reserves in Nova Scotia (Curatorial Report #56)


  • Geoffrey E. Katz


Coastal-plain flora, Designated Ecological Site, Ecological reserve, Ellenwood Lake, Gillfillan Lake, Landscape ecology, Nature conservation, Planning - ecological, Special Places Protection Act, Terrestrial ecology, Tusket River, Wilsons Lake


A method is described for selecting sites as candidates for designation under the Special Places Protection Act and for planning ecological reserves in Nova Scotia. Designation implies protection: hunting, forestry, and other activities are forbidden. The method is applied to select sites that contain unique ecological features. Either an ecological feature or a particular site may be proposed for designation. The method introduces an enhanced concept of ecological reserve in order to implement conservation. This concept integrates Designated Ecological Sites (with  management plans), buffer zones, and a surrounding greater management area.

The method has two stages. 1. The priority for protection of the ecological feature or proposed site is determined early to avoid delay and unnecessary expense. 2. All sites in which the ecological feature may occur or all sites similar to the proposed site are identified. The degree to which the pattern of suitability and land-use at each site can fulfill the four conservation functions of an ecological site and can satisfy management requirements determines which ·sites are selected as candidates for  designation. The ecological reserve is planned in order to fufill all the conservation functions.

The proposed method is compared with the methods of Gehlbach (1975) and Wright (1977). Approaches to public participation in the establishment and management of ecological reserves are suggested.

To develop, test, and illustrate the method, the Tusket River system in southwest Nova Scotia was chosen as an appropriate study area: it contains species of the coastal-plain floral element of Nova Scotia, some of which are considered as rare or endangered in Canada.


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