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Atlantic Canada - More Information

Background information on DU's Atlantic Canada conservation priority area
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Maritime Appalachian Forest Landscape

Landscape size Atlantic region 204,625 km 2 , Maritimes 110,500 km 2 , Quebec 94,125 km 2
Proportion of the land base Atlantic region 9%, Maritimes 85%, Quebec 6%
Wetland area Atlantic region 538,000 ha, Maritimes 350,000 ha, Quebec 188,000 ha
DU-managed wetlands Atlantic region 13,500 ha, Maritimes 11,500 ha, Quebec 2,000 ha
Breeding pairs of waterfowl Atlantic region > 50,000, Maritimes 50,000, Quebec No Data.
Waterfowl goals 50,000 breeding pairs in the Maritimes


The Appalachian forest is the transition zone between the southern deciduous forest zone and the boreal coniferous region found further north. It contains mixed hardwoods and softwoods and is generally divided into highland and lowland regions. Sustainable or below sustainable levels of forest harvest is occurring in this landscape. Most of the land is privately owned (PEI 90%, NS 70%, NB 50% and QC 95%). Silvicultural activities are increasing to bolster long-term wood supplies. However, reduced wood supplies will push companies to harvest areas that are currently not economically feasible.

The wetlands in this region are generally nutrient poor, with many bogs. However, there are areas of quality wetlands. In the Maritimes, DU currently manages the majority of the productive wetlands in this landscape. Waterfowl breeding densities are typically low yet the landscape produces a significant number of waterfowl because of its size. Black ducks, green-winged teal, ring-necked ducks, goldeneyes and mergansers are the most common ducks. Significant beaver populations are maintaining a large number of ponds in this landscape.


  • Maintain the existing wetland base to support the current breeding waterfowl numbers of 50,000 pairs.
  • In the Maritimes, maintain the current quality DU projects and improvement management for waterfowl and other wildlife species.


  • Wetland quantity is generally not limiting, but due to low inherent nutrient levels, the quality is.
  • Waterfowl populations are stable.
  • Current wetland densities are adequate to support existing populations.
  • Beaver pond numbers will continue to fluctuate.
  • Increased forestry practices and recreational activities will have negative impacts on habitat quality.
  • Long-range air pollution has and is degrading water quality in poorly buffered systems.


  • Focus on the most important and threatened parts of this large and diverse landscape.
  • Conduct research on the impacts of intensive forestry practices to help develop a better understanding of what strategies will be most applicable to achieving the goals.
  • The need for forestry companies to achieve global environmental certification represents an opportunity for DU.
  • Extensive rather than intensive conservation programs are most suitable for this landscape.
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