Norfolk County stands out among other southern Ontario regions both in the amount of wooded area and the diversity that comes with being located in the Carolinian forest region. The climate of this region allows the growth of varied and rare species. In fact, there are more rare or threatened species here than in any other Canadian biozone.
Invasive species threaten this important diversity. Most invasive plant species occur because they are introduced as an ornamental plant which then spreads through the natural landscape, overtaking native plants and replacing natural forest diversity with a monoculture, or a single non-native species.
This results in a loss of overall native biodiversity, leading to an increased number of species at risk or a complete loss of important insect and plant life. This is why targeting invasive species in wooded areas is a top priority for the Forests and Treed Swamps Working Group.
“While we strive to maintain the natural and native landscape of Norfolk County, invasive species continue to expand throughout the region. Our goal is to reduce as many invasive species as possible,” says Ian Fife, chair of the Forests and Treed Swamps Working Group. “This initiative will be used to target woody stemmed invasive species such as European Buckthorn, Autumn Olive, and Multi-flora Rose to name a few.”
Using a portion of the funding received from Environment and Climate Change Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service, the Working Group has conducted surveys to locate invasive species and determine the extent of the invasive species risk. The group has shared the results of these surveys with land managers, giving detailed locations of invasive species in their woodlots. This information will be used to prioritize problem areas where management activities will be conducted using direct application of an herbicide which will not affect other plants. By reducing woody invasive species, the Working Group is helping to restore and maintain the important biodiversity of wooded areas in the Priority Place.