Dr. Kristina Boerder (a marine biologist at Dalhousie University) & Rachel Kendall (master of science graduate from McGill University) provide scientific perspectives about owls head provincial park

Francis Campbell
The Chronicle Herald
April 12, 2021

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“Eel grass is one of the most important ecosystems there is,” [marine biologist Kristina] Boerder said. “It’s an excellent carbon sink, so it stores carbon more efficiently than forests on land … and it provides shelter for small animals, a breeding ground for a couple of fish species and for lobsters — to hide to feed, to spawn.”

Boerder said eel grass beds are extremely sensitive. “Run-off from land would be a big factor, that could be sediment,” Boerder said. “They (eel grass beds) are really sensitive to the use of fertilizer and pesticides.”

… “These bogs, which cover much of the area, are carbon sinks, suck out all this carbon from the atmosphere, naturally mitigating climate change,” [biologist Rachel] Kendall said.

Kendall said peatlands globally can store up to 550 billion tonnes of carbon, 30 per cent of the carbon stored in all of the world’s soils.

Kendall said forested wetlands are also prevalent in the Owls Head area and are another significant carbon sink. Forested wetlands provide high bird and lichen diversity, she said, “and are sensitive to change, hence, they would be sensitive to a golf course.

“This is just more evidence that leaving protected areas to provide these ecosystems services is important for our province,” Kendall said.

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