A social media release, with audio clips, is available at http://novascotia.ca/news/smr/2013-04-29-Crown-Lands/ . Hi-res downloadable photos will be added after the event. The roads are now open to Nova Scotia’s new Crown land in the province’s western region, the former Bowater Mersey land. “The land now belongs to Nova Scotians and it is important to us economically, environmentally and socially,” said Community Services Minister Denise Peterson-Rafuse, on behalf of Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. “The lakes, streams and woods on this land were always accessible on foot or by paddling and we are now providing road access to vehicles, so long as they stay on the road.” The province purchased 555,000 acres of land from the former Bowater Mersey mill. Three large pieces of that land have 2,500 kilometres of forest roads that were blocked off by the previous owners. Thirteen road gates are now open, providing access to 1,700 kilometres of forest roads. Provincial Crown land policy allows Nova Scotians access to all provincially owned land, except where restricted for appropriate reasons, such as ecological protection. “We’re very pleased that the province has decided to open the gates on the former Bowater forest roads,” said Tony Rodgers, executive director, Nova Scotia Federation of Anglers and Hunters. “Better road access to the land is something we’ve been hoping to see for a long time, and it will greatly improve opportunities for fishing and safe hunting.” Government worked with Nova Scotians to discuss sustainable plans for the land. Nine public open-house consultations were held across the western region to focus on ways to use the new Crown land for economic, social and environmental benefits. The consultation period ended April 19. “With this expanded access will come much responsibility,” said Mike Marriott, president, Safety Minded ATV Association. “These public lands, available for public use, will require everyone to respect them as we do our own properties, and to use them responsibly, safely, and leave the areas as we found them. “What a legacy to leave our kids, who now will have the opportunity to carry on with preserving this jewel of Nova Scotia for future generations.” Some areas of the western Crown land are ecologically sensitive, and in order to protect it for future generations, they will remain off-limits to vehicle traffic. Some of the road gates are on private land, and will remain closed as the province works with land owners to determine if those roads will be opened in the future. To view a map of the opened roads on the western Crown land, visit www.gov.ns.ca/natr .
The devil is in the detail: small-scale sexual segregation despite large-scale spatial overlap in the wandering albatross
Sexual segregation in foraging habitat occurs in many marine predators and is usually attributed to competitive exclusion, different parental roles of each sex or niche specialisation associated with sexual size dimorphism. However, relatively few studies have attempted to understand the patterns and underlying drivers of local-scale sexual segregation in marine predators. We studied habitat use, diet and feeding ecology of female and male wandering albatrosses Diomedea exulans, fitted with GPS and stomach-temperature loggers during the chick-rearing period (austral winter) at South Georgia in 2009. During this period, when oceanographic conditions were anomalous and prey availability was low in waters near the breeding colony, the tracked wandering albatrosses showed high consistency in their foraging areas at a large spatial scale, and both males and females targeted sub-Antarctic and subtropical waters. Despite consistency in large-scale habitat use, males and females showed different foraging behaviours in response to oceanographic conditions at a smaller scale. Males appeared to be more opportunistic, scavenging for offal or non-target fish discarded by fishing vessels in less productive, oceanic waters. They exhibited sinuous movements, feeding mostly on large prey and consuming similar amounts of food during the outbound and return parts of the foraging trip. In contrast, females targeted natural productivity hotspots, and fed on a wide variety of fish and cephalopods. They commuted directly to these areas; most prey were ingested on the outbound part of the trip, and they often started their return after ingesting large prey at the farthest point from the colony. Together, these results indicate that sexual segregation in core foraging areas of wandering albatrosses is driven by sex-specific habitat selection due to the low availability of prey in local Antarctic waters. This segregation results in different feeding behaviour at local scales which may be explained by differing breeding roles and degree of parental investment by each sex, with females investing more than males in reproduction. Further investigations are necessary to confirm the existence of this pattern through time under contrasting environmental conditions and to identify the drivers responsible for local-scale sexual segregation in wandering albatrosses.