Ecoregion profile: South-Central Nova Scotia Uplands ecoregion

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Iman Mustapha, Environment Accounts and Statistics Division

The South-Central Nova Scotia Uplands ecoregion is part of the larger Atlantic Maritime ecozone that covers all of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and part of Quebec (Map 1). The ecoregion is characterized by warm summers and mild, snowy winters. The average annual precipitation ranges from 1,300 to 1,600 mm, approximately double the amount that southern Ontario receives. The ecoregion is characterized by large sections of exposed rock, wetlands and glacial landforms and covers an area of more than 6,600 km2, which is smaller than the average Canadian ecoregion of 45,000 km2.

Coniferous forests are the dominant land cover, making up 64.4% of the surface area of the ecoregion, mixed forests cover 9.1% and deciduous forests cover 3.5% (Chart 1, Map 2 and Table 2). The region's coniferous forests include black, red and white spruce, balsam fir, eastern hemlock, and eastern white pine, while the deciduous forests are composed of beech, red and sugar maple, and yellow birch. Exposed land covers 6.9% of the ecoregion, followed by water (6.1%), developed land (3.8%) and shrubland (2.1%). In 2010, the protected area in this ecoregion was 641 km2, or 9.7% of the total area (Table 2).

The South-Central Nova Scotia Uplands ecoregion was the eighth most densely populated ecoregion in Canada in 2011, with 46 persons per km2. In 2011, the population was 302,408 people, a 32% increase from 1971 (Table 2). The major communities in the ecoregion include Halifax and Dartmouth. 1 

The labour force for the ecoregion was made up of just under 163,500 people in 2006, a 1.5% rise from 2001. The growth rate for the Canada-wide labour force over the same period was 8.0% (Table 2). The fastest growing employment category was finance, scientific and real estate services with a 21.8% rise over 2001. Public administration, management and other services was the largest category in 2006, making up 20.8% of the total labour force (Chart 2). This was followed by educational and health care services (19.2%) and retail and wholesale trade (15.5%).

The labour force in primary industries in this ecoregion (agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining and oil and gas extraction) decreased by 17.3% between 2001 and 2006. At the provincial level, labour force in agriculture declined 33.7%, forestry and logging and associated support activities declined 44.7%, and mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction declined 5.3% from 2001 to 2006. On the other hand, labour force in fishing, hunting and trapping increased by 25.7% during the same period (Table 3).

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