The Acadian Forest Region (AFR) spans across the Maritime provinces, part of Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula and extends into Maine and Northern New England. The geographic extent of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes the Miꞌkmaq, Maliseet (Wolastoqey), Passamaquoddy (Peskotomahkati) and Penobscot nations, aligns with that of the AFR. The Acadian Forest is therefore also referred to as the Wabanaki Forest.
Also, relatively well defined by the geographic distribution of the long-lived and shade-tolerant red spruce, the AFR is further characterized by a mixture of boreal and temperate conifers and hardwoods, by glacially-derived soils, by less common naturally-occurring fire events, and by relatively high average wind speeds. The final development stage of the Acadian Forest is called old growth. Within the AFR, old-growth species include sugar maple (Acer saccharum), American beech (Fagus grandifolia), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), red spruce (Picea rubens), eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) and yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis).
Centuries of forest clearing for agriculture and forestry have left very little older Acadian Forests. Before European colonization, old-growth likely covered up to 50% of forest land in Nova Scotia. However, today it is estimated less than 0.9 percent of forest land outside of ecological preserves is old-growth, Acadian Forest. The remaining stands of old-growth Acadian Forest in Nova Scotia are likely to be found on steep slopes, where logging was difficult, and near waterways where regulations prohibit forestry activity within 20 metres of a watercourse. In addition, some protected areas in our province, such as Kejimkujik National Park and the Kentville Ravine, are home to beautiful, old Acadian Forests.