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Hardwood Transition / Lower Great Lakes – More Information

Background information on DU's Hardwood Transition / Lower Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Plain - Ontario conservation priority area
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Assumptions

  • The waterfowl population goal of 10 breeding waterfowl pairs/km2 is achievable working within the confines of current land use activities (agriculture, forestry and urban expansion).
  • The size of breeding waterfowl populations are limited by the amount and quality of habitat which in turn has been affected by wetland and upland loss and degradation.
  • Waterfowl capabilities or carrying capacities are not equal across all landscapes within the Mixed Woodland Plain landscape.
  • Wetland density, type and distribution limit the density of waterfowl breeding pairs in the GLSL.
  • Lack of adequate brood rearing habitat in some areas limit population growth because of low brood and duckling survival due to predation.
  • Mallard and wood duck breeding habitat needs represent the general habitat needs for other upland and cavity nesting waterfowl species, respectively.
  • The amount of nesting cover limits waterfowl population growth in areas with <30-40% cover because of low hen success due to predation.
  • Availability of nesting cavities in close proximity to wetlands limits cavity-nesting waterfowl breeding pairs densities.

Strategies

  • Ensure that functional wetlands are conserved in the face of the inevitable developments that will accommodate the increasing population.
  • Work with agriculture to ensure that current and future agricultural activities incorporate wildlife habitat conservation.
  • Support public policies that affect wetlands and associated habitats.
  • Motivate the public (both general and targeted publics) to take actions in support of wetland habitat conservation.

Shield landscape

The Shield landscape is located between the Boreal Forest of northern Ontario and the Mixed Woodland Plain to the south. The area is underlain by Precambrian granite bedrock, with a shallow soil layer. Climate and natural disturbances such as fire, insects and disease have played key roles in the development of forest communities found throughout this 5 million ha area. This landscape once consisted of large, contiguous mature mixed coniferous and deciduous forests interspersed with a patchwork of wetlands, rivers and lakes and areas that had been disturbed by fire, windthrow and disease. Since European settlement, forestry, hydroelectric, industrial and recreational activities have modified this landscape. Land tenure is approximately 50% private and 50% public land, however there tends to be more privately held land in the southern portions of the Shield and higher proportions of public land in the northern half of the Shield. The loss and degradation of wetlands and uplands is relatively low compared to southern Ontario and, although this landscape is by no means pristine, it appears to be a relatively intact ecosystem.

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