“In my opinion, based on my research, the Mainland Moose, and specifically the Mainland Moose population in south-western Nova Scotia, are at significant risk of extirpation from Nova Scotia if current threats to their survival continue unmitigated”
-Dr. Karen Beazley, January 8, 2021
Dr. Karen Beazley (a professor in the School for Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie University and member of the NS Mainland Moose Recovery Team) has written or co-authored a number of papers. Her key concerns about the Mainland Moose in SW-NS are, in a nutshell:
- Moose show a strong fidelity to a geographic area, and this fidelity appears to be passed from adults to young. This means where you find adult moose today, you will find young moose tomorrow.
- Moose have a diversity of habitat requirements which can differ seasonally. For example, in winter they need mature coniferous or mixed coniferous-deciduous forest. The forest descriptions provided by WestFor indicate that the forest slated for cutting in South-West NS was mature coniferous forest. If Mainland Moose were living in the vicinity of these forests, then these forests may have been part of the Moose’s habitat requirements.
- Based on computer-based modeling, as well as review of relevant scientific literature, indicators of threats to the survival and recovery of Mainland Moose include; (1) increased density of forest roads, such as those created by logging companies in order to access and remove timber resources, and (2) landscape-level increases in the amount of young or ‘cut-over’ forest relative to mature forest.
- Neither the Mainland Moose Special Management Practices, nor any other current forest cutting guidelines or regulations of which she is aware account for the generally shallow soils with low acid-buffering capacity of south-western Nova Scotia, including in the vicinity of the planned cuts. The variable retention cutting referenced for this area will likely result in the regrowth of vegetation that has poorer nutrient content and potentially contain increased mineral toxicities, and may contribute to moose calf mortality and moose deformities, such as those observed in moose antlers.