This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Halton Regional Forests. To commemorate this milestone, Halton Region has recently acquired 37 hectares of new forest land, marking the first addition to the Regional Forest in almost 50 years. Between 1939 and 1965, Halton secured more than 665 hectares (1,643 acres) of land, ranging from 12 hectares to more than 166 hectares in size, in 14 separate forest tracts. The new forest lands contain a provincially significant wetland (approximately 14 hectares) and a woodlot (approximately 23 hectares) bringing the total size of Halton’s Regional Forests to 702 hectares.
Our Regional forests are an important reminder of the critical role natural areas play in the Halton landscape. It is essential that we preserve these unique natural systems which are home to a wide array of plants and animals including a number of rare and endangered species.
Halton Region has recently adopted a Biodiversity Strategy for the Halton Regional Forests and is the first regional municipality in Ontario to do so. The Biodiversity Strategy will protect and increase biological diversity in the Regional forests, while preserving and enhancing the Regional Natural Heritage System. This strategy will guide conservation of the Regional forests over the next 10 years and help protect them for future generations. The strategy contains seven key biodiversity initiatives to help maintain and enhance the biodiversity of the forests including:
- Implementing strategic control measures for priority invasive species in Regional Forest Tracts;
- Expanding the scope of restoration and enhancement activities beyond tree and shrub planting;
- Implementing programs to monitor the biodiversity of Regional Forest Tracts;
- Promoting Regional Forest Tracts as Living Laboratories;
- Engaging the public in enjoying, characterizing and enhancing biodiversity resources in the Regional Forest Tracts;
- Engaging in public awareness and educational activities to promote biodiversity; and,
- Continuing to implement good forestry practices in Regional Forest Tracts in accordance with the Forest Management Plan.
Regional Council considers sustainability in all that we do and is committed to the protection and preservation of Halton’s natural heritage. Working together, we can help preserve our vibrant communities and the natural environment that make Halton a great place to live, work, raise a family and retire. If you would like to learn more about our Regional Forests or our Biodiversity Strategy for the Halton Regional Forests, please visit halton.ca/forests.
As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton, LinkedIn or Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”