The Acadian forest

Kejimkujik lies within the Acadian Forest region, a unique and complex forest that features a mix of temperate tree species with ranges that extend south into Ontario and the United States, and more northern boreal trees. Human activity has changed these forests dramatically over the last two hundred years. Farmers cleared hardwoods from hills and loggers cut giant White pine and Red spruce, and later and harvested wood for pulp. Current threats to the Acadian forest in Kejimkujik include climate change and invasive species.

Eastern hemlock, the defining tree of Kejimkujik

As one of the longest-lived trees in eastern North America, hemlock forms stands that represent among the last old-growth forests in Nova Scotia. Hemlock is a foundational species of the Acadian forest: it provides forest functions that no other eastern tree does, such as supporting breeding birds, providing winter thermal cover for wildlife, and protecting aquatic ecosystems by regulating waterflow, preventing erosion and shading streams.

Hemlock trees and the cool and shaded forests they create are an essential part of the Kejimkujik experience; many of our visitor facilities are located in hemlock stands.

The threat: Hemlock woolly adelgid

 Hemlock Woolly Adelgid on underside of Hemlock branch
Hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA, is an invasive insect that is damaging and killing Eastern hemlock. Southwest Nova Scotia is the first location in Canada to have an established population of HWA, and since that detection in 2017, Parks Canada and several partners have formed a multi-stakeholder working group to share information and respond to this new threat with a regional lens.

HWA was detected in Kejimkujik in 2018, and while park forests are currently considered healthy, Parks Canada anticipates the mortality of hemlock expected to exceed 80% within 3-10 years as a result of HWA. Interventions are urgently required to slow the spread of HWA and increase hemlock resiliency.

What is Parks Canada doing about it?

The control of firewood importation is an important measure in protecting the forest, reducing further spread and infestation of HWA and limiting the introduction of other invasive insects. Parks Canada introduced a firewood importation ban in 2018; only firewood purchased in the park is permitted. More info: Firewood Management 

Other current HWA management actions include early detection surveys, investigating possible control measures, assessing ways to diversify the forest where facilities are located, and phytosanitizing infested areas (cutting branches and small hemlock trees that could contact people, pets or vehicles) in all front-country visitation areas including trails and Jeremy’s Bay Campground.

In 2019, the Government of Canada announced a federal investment of approximately $1.4 million to help protect Kejimkujik’s hemlock forests. This funding supports Parks Canada’s efforts to enhance the resiliency of hemlock forests with HWA, with a goal to slow the spread of this invasive species, limit the long-term impact of hemlock decline on Kejimkujik’s old-growth forests, and protect Kejimkujik visitor experience and facilities.

Parks Canada will continue collaborating with partners to implement new measures to reduce the spread of the invasive Hemlock woolly adelgid and increase the resiliency of Eastern hemlock. Through this project, control methods for priority old growth forests will be investigated. Over the past 30 years, biological and chemical controls have been used in the United States to protect hemlock forests from HWA. Some of these chemical treatments are approved for use in Canada and are injected directly into the tree, protecting it for up to eight years. There are potential methods to control HWA by releasing insects that feed on them to lower the impacts on hemlock. However, these methods require further investigation to ensure there are no negative consequences on native biodiversity.

It is virtually impossible to eliminate Hemlock woolly adelgid from a region where it is established. The project will focus on reducing the spread of this invasive insect, public outreach and education, and working with our partners to test different control methods in priority old-growth stands. The goal of the project is also to help the forests of Kejimkujik become more resilient to the impacts of HWA through silviculture, which are planting and restoration techniques that manage the growth, composition and health of priority hemlock forests. Over the next five years, Parks Canada will have implemented critical steps to manage the invasive Hemlock woolly adelgid.

What can I do to help?

• Learn more about Hemlock woolly adelgid: CFIA – Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Nova Scotia Q&As
• Learn more about the danger of moving firewood and wood products: CFIA – Don’t move firewood campaign
Learn how to identify HWA (CFIA)
Report your findings to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)