This section of the website describes the ecology of the Highlands Corridor, including the areas of scientific interest, wetlands, forests and barrens, and wildlife (including an extensive collection of material on species at risk).
The content of the section is derived from a report written by Paul Heaven of Glenside Ecological Services in collaboration with Ontario Nature. Please Click here to download a PDF version of the Executive Summary of the report Protecting the Highlands Corridor.
The following are the key conservation values, based on desktop analyses and field evaluations:
- Metamorphic rock barrens have limited occurrence in southern Ontario, but cover 1.2% of the Highlands Corridor.
- Total wetland coverage in the Highlands Corridor is approximately 17.9%, indicating high regional representation. This includes twelve Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) complexes totaling 4,892 ha, approximately 916 ha of an additional candidate PSW, and 13,420 ha of unevaluated wetlands.
- About 23% of the wetlands in the Highlands corridor are fens, bogs or coniferous swamps with deep organic deposits, providing highly valuable functions for climate resilience, including carbon storage and flood prevention.
- 75% of the forests of the Highlands Corridor are mature and 2% qualify as old growth forests. The largest old growth forest identified is the 210 ha Catchacoma Old-growth Forest, notable for Eastern Hemlock.
- The Highlands Corridor supports 39 federal and/or provincial species at risk, and an additional 26 provincially significant species and 43 regionally rare species.
- A circuit theory analysis, conducted to show areas of concentrated wildlife movement, found high priority areas for conservation that enhance connectivity and allow wildlife movement among the three existing provincial parks.
- One candidate provincially significant Earth Science Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) (Lochlin Esker) and two candidate regionally significant Life Science ANSIs (Lochlin Bog and Silent Lake – Lowrie Lakes) are within or adjacent to the Highlands Corridor.