Mapping Forest Communities with Friends of Redtail Society

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SCOTSBURN – The Friends of Redtail Society is hosting the next event in its Talking Forests educational series, Mapping Forest Communities, with Peter Neily and Steve Harder this Sunday, 1-4 p.m.

Participants will help identify and map some of the forest communities on the Friends of Redtail Society land in western Pictou County. In doing so, they will learn about the trees and other plants that form communities, and the forest ecology that links them together.

Peter Neily, co-author of the Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) for Nova Scotia, is a forest ecologist with the Natural Resources Department in Truro where he helped develop the province’s FEC system. At the stand level, which is the focus of the Redtail event, classifying ecosystems based on vegetation, soil and site attributes allows for recognition of similar forest communities – and increased understanding.

Steve Harder, co-founder of Legacy Forest, has a background in environmental studies and has learned about forests mainly by observing what occurs on his family’s woodland. He and wife Deborah started Legacy Forest as a way to encourage small woodlot owners to voluntarily set aside part of their forest for conservation.

Participants will walk part of the Redtail lands and identify two or more forest communities. These will then be recorded as a community map, which will become a future community resource. Participants will work in small groups, looking for changes in trees, plants, mosses, landscapes and soils as a way to locate the boundaries of forest communities. 

Participants should come dressed for the outdoors and the day’s weather conditions. Sturdy footwear with good tread is recommended as the terrain is hilly and rugged.

The group will meet at the bridge on MacBeth Road. Talking Forests is a free educational series, but contributions may be made to assist with offsetting program costs. For more information, visit

Organizations: Redtail Society, Forest Ecosystem Classification, Natural Resources Department

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Truro

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