In 1977, after a cluster of cases in a small town of New England, clinicians identified what would become an emerging disease for surrounding states, today infecting tens of thousands annually. And the township in question, its name now carrying a measure of infamy, was Lyme, Connecticut.
As the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid threatens the integrity of Maritime forests, government departments, research organizations and stakeholders alike are preparing their defence. And in their search for expertise in combating this invasive insect, they’ve looked no farther than New York State.
Tracking down a specific tree in Nova Scotia is like hunting a grain of sand on Prince Edward Island or a cob of corn in southern Ontario, but I found it all the same, on an undisclosed dirt road in Nova Scotia’s Hants County. Its species once accounted for a full quarter of all tree in the mixed deciduous forest of eastern North America, conquering habitat from southern New England to the Appalachian mountains and northward into Ontario. In front of me was the king of the forest, as it was known, long since deposed – the American Chestnut.
Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs, are relatively new to Atlantic Canada, arriving in May of 2004 with the establishment of The Gully off Nova Scotia’s eastern shore. Here is a 2,364 square kilometre stretch of ocean under special management for its contributions to coastal ecology, our first such safe-house but far from our last.
It’s easy to lose yourself in old growth forest, your neck craned back to admire the towering canopy and your voice kept low as to not disturb the silence. Stepping into one is like entering a cathedral, and having its defining features pointed out is like an initiation into some exclusive club. And the more you see, the more lofty your membership.
The buildup of C02 in our atmosphere is the defining issue of our time, caused by the fundamental workings of our civilization and resulting in the catastrophic warming of our planet. But while our eyes are rightly fixed on this climbing thermometer, another consequence of rising C02 often escapes our gaze.