Reducing Greenhouse Gases and Improving the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Nova Scotia’s Wild Blueberry Industry

Bragg Lumber Company is a Nova Scotia based food production and forestry company.  The company focuses on wild blueberry and carrot production.  The company owns or leases 48,000 acres of commercial fields and provides custom farm operations for an additional 10,000 acres of wild blueberry fields. The company provides wild blueberries to its sister company Oxford Frozen Foods Limited (i.e., Oxford). Oxford processes approximately 45% of the wild blueberries in North America and 55-60% of the wild blueberries produced in Atlantic Canada.

The proposed research project focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improvements in the carbon sequestration of the wild blueberry production system. The GHG and ammonia emission reductions will occur through:

  1. reductions in fertilizer usage achieved with use of remote sensing and improved prescription map technologies;
  2. improvements in fertilizer use efficiency with the use of urease/nitrification inhibitors;
  3. partial replacement of traditional fertilizers with nitrogen supplied by nitrogen fixing bacteria; and
  4. reductions in farm machinery usage, fuel consumption, and resulting GHG emissions.

The carbon sequestration potential of the wild blueberry system will also be determined.  The carbon sequestration of the wild blueberry plants and calculation of average annual net primary production with the amount present as persistent biomass, amount leaving as harvested fruit, and amount entering the detrital pathway (decaying organic material including leaf litter and prunings). The determination of plant carbon and the effects of nitrogen fertilizer applications, presence of other vegetation including broadleaf, grass and moss weed species, and surrounding vegetation including tree line rows used as wind breaks and pollinator refuge areas will also be examined,  Soil samples within the blueberries, in bare areas and in surrounding tree windbreak rows and neighboring forested areas will be collected at varying depths for assessments of soil carbon. When completed, the annual carbon flow through a blueberry field and the potential of wild blueberry fields to store carbon will be known.


Principal Investigator: David Percival, Bragg Lumber Company
Partners: Graham Wood, Manager, Bragg Lumber Company; Roxanne Campbell, Oxford Frozen Foods Limited

September 1, 2023 – March 30, 2025