Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity is a big word for the variety of life on Earth.

Biodiversity is you — and every other living thing on the planet. We see biodiversity every day, but it’s more than bugs and animals and trees. It’s about how everything is connected. If we lose one piece of biodiversity, the rest is affected.

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The beaver: architect of biodiversity

Today, we join Discovery and Marketing Specialist Dave Sproule for a chat about the ecological and cultural significance of the beaver, which became Canada’s official symbol in 1975.

We all know beavers are industrious. They build dams, canals and sturdy homes called lodges, which are warm in winter. They repair all those dams and collect enough food to survive long northern winters.

We know beavers are well-suited to the Canadian environment. Beavers are amphibious — they’re more at home in the water than on land — with webbed hind feet, nostrils that can close, a third see-through eyelid that protects the eye when they’re underwater, and a big flat tail that acts as a rudder while swimming.

However, the biggest reason to celebrate the beaver is that it built Canada, shaping both its historical and ecological landscape.

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Forever protected: why Pinery belongs

Our “Forever protected” series shares why each and every one belongs in Ontario Parks. In today’s post, Alistair MacKenzie tells us Pinery’s story.

Not until I began working for Ontario Parks did I realize that our great system of protected areas is based upon a model of representation. Each park is different and critical to the success of our protected areas system on the whole.

I am the Supervisor of Natural Heritage Education and Resource Management at Pinery Provincial Park, and I’d like to tell you why Pinery belongs in our provincial system.

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Forever protected

We all know Ontario’s provincial parks aim to protect our natural landscapes and species.

But did you know that each individual park is protected for its own (often very specific) reasons?

Our parks work together as a network of biodiversity and protection. Whether an immense wilderness or a small urban nature reserve, every park plays a critical role in the protection of our biodiversity, including representative ecosystems, species, and cultural heritage.

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Establishing a new conservation reserve in Prince Edward County

Our staff have been working hard to evaluate the possibility of establishing a new conservation reserve. 

Ostrander Crown Land Block and Point Petre Provincial Wildlife Area are two ecologically significant areas along the southern shore of Prince Edward County.

They are currently designated as provincial Crown land, managed by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry.

These are areas used for waterfowl hunting, hiking, recreational motorized vehicles, birdwatching, and other recreational activities that all Ontarians are welcome to enjoy.

The South Shore is recognized as a unique and globally significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area and an International Monarch Butterfly Reserve. 

Could a conservation reserve designation help protect these uses and values?

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks proposes that designating the area as a conservation reserve would help strengthen the long-term protection and health of local wildlife and ecosystems (and invites your feedback!).

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Birds and biodiversity

Welcome to the final installment of  our series “IBAs in provincial parks,” brought to you by Ontario IBA Coordinator Amanda Bichel of Bird Studies Canada.

It’s great sharing bird facts, and stories about IBAs and provincial parks, but it’s time to step back and take a look at the bigger picture: biodiversity.

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Don’t bring plants from home!

Our parks protect some of the most biodiverse places in Ontario, and this biodiversity includes an enormous number of native plant species.

From giant Tulip Trees in the south to small ancient White Cedars on the Niagara Escarpment, north to carnivorous wildflowers (and the infamous Poison Ivy almost everywhere) — plants are the basis of our forest food chains.

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Enhancing biodiversity in Killarney’s tree plantations

This article was written by Connor Oke, a marketing intern at Ontario Parks, using information provided by Ed Morris, Ontario Parks’ northeast zone ecologist. 

When Killarney Provincial Park was established in 1964, park managers faced a problem: what to do with old fields belonging to former homesteads within the park’s boundaries.

To prevent the spread of weedy species, they decided to plant trees, including White Spruce and Red Pine, and regrow the forests.

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Armchair observations and sticking close to home

Today’s post comes from David LeGros, park naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Even though our parks are currently closed, I’ve noticed people are continuing to submit observations to iNaturalist.

At first, I was a little worried that people were entering parks during the closure, but on closer inspection, I was pleasantly surprised.

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Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve: biodiversity on the Bay

The eastern shore of Georgian Bay is a pink necklace of islands scattered on a turquoise sea. A freshwater sea, that is.

Georgian Bay is part of Lake Huron, and Huron is one of the Great Lakes, the largest expanse of freshwater in the world.

Eastern Georgian Bay is world class. In 2004, the area was designated as a world biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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