Glyphosate is used to prevent the regrowth of hardwood trees after a naturally diverse forest has been clearcut. It is a forest vegetation management tool that was first experimented with in the boreal forest, after similar formulations gained approvals for use in agriculture. It is increasingly used in Nova Scotia’s mixed forests because of its convenience for some large landowners. Native Wabanaki/Acadian forests can be managed for their economic values while also safeguarding the ecosystem goods and services they offer us. These ecological forestry practices do not require the use of glyphosate-based herbicides. More importantly, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests wide-scale use of glyphosate may have harmful consequences for our native ecosystems. Glyphosate-based herbicides:
- eliminate hardwood trees and leafy plant regeneration, leaving soils exposed and at risk of erosion and creating the potential for acidified sediments.
- may remove browsing habitat for the Endangered Mainland Moose.
- increase fire risk by killing fire-resistant deciduous plants and prioritizing fire-adapted conifers.
- harm the complex mycorrhizal relationships in the soil that are essential to healthy tree growth by removing hardwood species symbionts, impacting overall soil health but also the quality of the coniferous crop tree.
- have a half-life in the soil of anywhere from 7 to 400+ days, depending on local conditions, may persist in plant tissues and the sediment for several years, and adsorb readily to sediment particles, leaving some watersheds at greater risk of contaminated runoff.
- degrade in the environment to aminomethylphosphonic acid and carbon dioxide, which can effectively decrease the pH of the water it is found in.
- can introduce a substantial source of anthropogenic Phosphorus into the watershed, which can lead to nutrient loading, fish health effects, and algae blooms.
- contain a surfactant which, at reasonable concentrations in the environment (10, 100, and 100µg/L), has been shown to be toxic to fish, mussels, and other aquatic wildlife.
- have been shown to impair honeybee navigation at just 10mg/L (or 0.500ug per animal) and impact threat stimuli learning in mosquitos at 100ug/L.
Our forests have been severely degraded by decades of industrial-scale forestry. The Wabanaki/Acadian forest cannot tolerate more large-scale harvests that disregard soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Now, in the words of William Lahey, protecting and restoring ecosystem health must be “our overarching priority.” Aerial spraying of glyphosate-based herbicides on forested land has no place in today’s forests. We are calling for a moratorium on glyphosate treatments on public lands, effective immediately.
Help us put pressure on government to finally implement ecological forestry in Nova Scotia. Sign onto our petition demanding a moratorium on aerial glyphosate-based herbicides.
Nova Scotia Needs a Moratorium on Aerial Glyphosate
For further reading, see:
- Baglan et. al., 2018, “Glyphosate impairs learning in Aedes aegypti mosquito larvae at field-realistic doses“
- Balbuena et. al., 2015, “Effects of sublethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation“
- Botten et. al., 2021, “Glyphosate remains in forest plant tissues for a decade or more“
- Bruggen et. al., 2021, “Indirect Effects of the Herbicide Glyphosate on Plant, Animal and Human Health Through its Effects on Microbial Communities“
- Connor and McMillan, 1988, “Winter Utilization by Moose of Gyphosate-Treated Cutovers“
- Dai, 2018, “The Herbicide Glyphosate Negatively Affects Midgut Bacterial Communities and Survival of Honey Bee during Larvae Reared in Vitro“
- Kanissery et. al., 2019, “Glyphosate: Its Environmental Persistence and Impact on Crop Health and Nutrition“
- Hebert and Gonzales, 2018, “The overlooked impact of rising glyphosate use on phosphorus loading in agricultural watersheds”
- Frontera et. al., 2011, “Effects of Glyphosate and Polyoxyethylenamine on Growth and Energetic Reserves in the Freshwater Crayfish Cherax quadricarinatus (Decapoda, Parastacidae)“
- Fugere et. al., 2020, “Community rescue in experimental phytoplankton communities facing severe herbicide pollution“
- Gandhi et. al., 2021, “Exposure risk and environmental impacts of glyphosate: Highlights on the toxicity of herbicide co-formulants“
- Matozzo et. al,. 2018, “Ecotoxicological risk assessment for the herbicide glyphosate to non-target aquatic species: A case study with the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis“
- Mohamed, 2011, “Sublethal toxicity of Roundup to immunological and molecular aspects of Biomphalaria alexandrina to Schistosoma mansoni infection“
- Raoult, 2021, “Role of glyphosate in the emergence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria?“
- Simard et. al., 1997, “Net transfer of carbon between ectomycorrhizal tree species in the field“
- Tarazona et. al., 2017, “Glyphosate toxicity and carcinogenicity: a review of the scientific basis of the European Union assessment and its differences with IARC“
- Wood, 2019, “The presence of glyphosate in forest plants with different life strategies one year after application“