Ecoregion profile: Annapolis-Minas Lowlands

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Iman Mustapha, Environment Accounts and Statistics Division

The Annapolis-Minas Lowlands ecoregion is part of the Atlantic Maritime ecozone that covers all of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island and part of Quebec. This ecoregion, which includes the Annapolis Valley and most of the Minas Lowlands, is sheltered from direct coastal influences. 1  The average annual precipitation ranges from 1,100 to 1,300 mm, approximately double the amount that southern Ontario receives. The ecoregion covers an area of 4,391 km2, which is less than the average Canadian ecoregion (45,000 km2).

Coniferous forests are the dominant land cover, making up 43.0% of the surface area (Chart 1, Map 1 and Table 2). Coniferous forests in the region include black, red and white spruce, balsam fir, eastern hemlock, and eastern white pine. Cropland and pasture cover 23.4% of the ecoregion. Mixed forests cover 9.9% and deciduous forests cover 4.6%. Deciduous forests in the region are composed of beech, red and sugar maple, and yellow birch.

This region was the ninth most densely populated ecoregion in Canada in 2006, with 26 persons per km2. The population was 115,355 people in 2006, representing an increase of 1.4% from 2001 (Table 2). The major communities in the ecoregion include Kentville and Windsor (Map 1).

The labour force for the ecoregion was made up of more than 56,700 people in 2006, up 2.1% 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 20.4% increase over 2001.

Public administration, management and other services also advanced strongly to account for the largest labour force category in 2006, at 18.1% of the total. This was followed closely by educational and health care services (17.5%) and retail and wholesale trade at 16.0% (Chart 2).

The largest labour force decline was in the primary industries category (agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining and oil and gas extraction) which decreased by 12.9% between 2001 and 2006.

Table 3 illustrates labour force estimates for primary industries in Nova Scotia as a whole from 1990 to 2011. At the provincial level, the agricultural labour force 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 25.7%.

Agriculture in the ecoregion contributed $231.8 million (0.5%) to Canada's total farm sales of $42.2 billion in 2005 (Table 2). Total farmland area—which includes cropland, summerfallow and pasture lands—decreased by 7.6% in the ecoregion from 107,303 hectares in 2001 to 99,114 hectares in 2006. Between 2001 and 2006, the number of farms in the ecoregion decreased by 6.8% to 1,150. Total cropland area decreased by 7.1% between 2001 and 2006 to 40,136 hectares. The total area of tree fruit and berries declined by 18.7% from 3,638 hectares in 2001 to 2,956 hectares in 2006. During the same period, the number of cattle also decreased by 4.8% to 38,842.

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