Forest Biodiversity Monitoring
After the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, many international agencies recognizing the need to document changes in the environment began to establish biological monitoring programs. In 1995 with the assistance of Environment Canada’s Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Program, the Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation (LPWBRF) initiated a Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Program within the Biosphere.
The LPWBRF established monitoring plots in Backus Woods in 1995, Wilson Tract in 1996, two plots in Turkey Point Provincial Park in 1997, and 21 (20x20m) randomly placed quadrants in the Spooky Hollow Nature Sanctuary and adjacent Long Point Region Conservation Authority Lands in 2003. All the other plots were re-inventoried or inventoried in 2007. The information has been valuable not only to the local stakeholders, but to COSEWIC for the preparation of the recovery plan for eastern flowering dogwood (cornus florida) as these plots provided the only quantitative data available in Canada on the decline of the species.
Monitoring in the permanent forest biodiversity monitoring plots has focused on mainly trees and shrubs, though salamander monitoring plots were established in Backus Woods in 2000. Salamanders are excellent indicators of forest health as they reflect changes in both air and forest floor conditions. Volunteer Jim Wilson has been tirelessly collecting salamander data over the past 16 years, and is responsible for the one of longest data sets for this amphibian in Canada.
Monitoring surveys are repeated approximately every 5 years, providing significant data sets for statistic analysis and research opportunities including the evaluation of tree growth and health within the Carolinian forests of southern Norfolk County.
Thanks to a grant from Environment Canada’s Science Horizon Youth Internship Program, the LPWBRF conducted a re-inventory on the biodiversity monitoring plots in 2012. This project has resulted in several scientific reports on both the forest biodiversity monitoring plots and the annual salamander monitoring statistics.
The LPWBRF would like to thank the Colleges and Institutes Canada Clean Tech Internship Program for providing funding for our 2016 Biodiversity Monitoring Intern, Ariana Burgener. Ariana is a recent graduate of the University of Edinburgh’s Master of Environmental Sustainability program, and holds a B.Sc. of Forestry from the University of Toronto. She conducted field work throughout the 2016 summer season, and providing survey results and in-depth statistic analysis. Ariana was assisted in the field by Linda Warren (Community Conservation Project Manager, LPWBRF) and supervised by Adam Chamberlain (Director, LPWBRF).