How Much Habitat is Enough?

Environment Canada

Type Government Publication
Organization Environment Canada – Canadian Wildlife Service (Ontario region)
Country Canada
Region Great Lakes region
Language English
Reference Environment Canada. 2013. How Much Habitat is Enough? Third Edition. Environment Canada. Toronto, Ontario. Accessed on 30 June 2014
Date modified  June 2014

The third edition of these Environment Canada guidelines on habitat restoration draws on nearly twenty years of scientific studies and government work in southern Ontario. Chapter 2.4, Grassland Habitat Guidelines, marks the first time that grasslands have been included in the report and offers rural communities practical advice on where and how to restore native grasslands.

The report notes that the extent and nature of grassland cover in southern Ontario fluctuates with changing agricultural uses and the expansion of urban development. While grassland cover could be addressed by land use planning, as it has elsewhere in Canada and North America, such a precedent does not exist in southern Ontario. The guidelines are intended for any land where conservation is possible, be it public or private, to address the steady drop in native grassland habitat and plant diversity, and the negative effects on grassland-dependent species.

The report suggests that native grassland cover be restored to historic levels in areas where it formerly existed, such as Carden Plain. Native grasslands should be reintroduced in clusters with an average patch size of 50 hectares (with one larger 100-hectare patch), connected by open or semi-open land cover to facilitate species travel, and located close to hedgerows, water sources, and wetlands. The sizes and strategic location would satisfy the needs of many bird species in the region, including Meadowlarks, Bobolinks, and Upland Sandpipers.