Trees for Niagara: Wildlife Corridor Enhancement Project (2005 to 2008)
This project was composed of three main objectives: habitat restoration, habitat protection, and habitat education. This project aimed to increase Carolinian forest cover in Niagara and focused on building wildlife corridors to connect existing forest fragments within the Fifteen, Sixteen and Eighteen Mile Creek watersheds, and several smaller adjacent watersheds. From 2005-2008, over 62,000 native trees and shrubs were planted on over 40 public and privately owned properties,
restoring 32 ha of forest habitat.
The project also promoted different methods of long-term forest protection for landowners, such as conservation agreements, easements, and tax incentives including the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Plan (MFTIP), and the Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP). The project also provided environmental education to the public through several volunteer planting days, demonstration days, and information sessions.
Forest cover in the Niagara Region is at an all time low of 14%. Remaining woodlots are typically small and fragmented, which provide very little interior wildlife habitat for species which rely upon core forest area, such as rare species in Niagara including the scarlet tanager, oven bird and hooded warbler. The Carolinian zone is actually home to one third of Canada’s endangered species, due in large part to the increasing urban population in this region of Ontario.
This project was undertaken with the help of the NRC’s partners, including the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority, Trees Unlimited, Land Care Niagara, the Niagara Woodlot Association and the Carolinian Canada Coalition. Funding for this program has been given by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the Niagara Community Foundation and the Shell Environmental Fund.