Ontario’s Priority Place for Species at Risk conservation
In August 2017, Long Point Walsingham Forest (LPWF) was selected by the federal government as Ontario’s priority place for species at risk conservation. Located entirely within Norfolk County, LPWF is 86,715 hectares large and includes the longest freshwater sand spit in the world, Long Point. Long Point is an internationally recognized Ramsar site (wetlands of international importance), an international Monarch Butterfly Reserve, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and the first globally significant Important Bird Area in Canada. LPWF also includes the Norfolk Forest Complex, which is also recognized as an Important Bird Area. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in the Long Point area.
While LPWF makes up less than 1% of Canada’s total land area, it was selected as Ontario’s priority place for the following reasons:
- its high concentration of biodiversity, including over 80 species at risk;
- the significant threats to its biodiversity; and
- its highly engaged local conservation community.
The land cover in LPWF includes agriculture, forests, beaches and coastal dunes, tallgrass communities, and wetlands. LPWF has retained much of its natural integrity due to the conservation and stewardship initiatives spearheaded by private landowners, conservation authorities, not-for-profit organizations, and government. This conservation community has been addressing the numerous threats affecting species at risk and their habitats in LPWF. These threats include land use changes, fire suppression, roads, and invasive species.