Large-scale restoration of the Rice Lake Plains: A landscape conservation approach

  • Farrell T
  • Riley J
  • McLaughlin L
  • 6

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Abstract

In Ontario, it is estimated the taUgrass prairie and savanna once covered 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres), of which approximately 3% (2,100 ha, 5, 189 acres) remains today. Based on historical land surveys and from early botanical accounts, the easternmost extent of these unique habitats was along the eastern flank of the Oak Ridges Moraine in an area known as the Rice Lake Plains. This area covered an estimated 15,384 to 30,300 hectares (38,000-74,131 acres) (Carling and others 1992). The Rice Lake Plains harboured numerous savanna indicator species such as the extirpated Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis). In 2002, the Nature Conservancy of Canada purchased 316 ha (780 acres) on the Rice Lake Plains and initiated restoration plans. Bringing together multiple partners, NCC is leading the Rice Lake Plains Joint Initiative. This goal of the partnership is to raise the awareness of, and restore, the globally rare and provincially significant ecological communities and the species assoc iated with them. To date, three years of funding has been secured. The Initiativeinvolves the restoration ofNCC lands and the assess; ment of over 2,400 hectares (6,000 acres) of adjacent lands. Restoration will include the removal of species and prescribed burns. In addition, mapping and field inventories will be conducted on private lands on the Rice Lake Plains. Educational and communication opportunities will highlight this area to naturalists, landowners and local citi; zens and raise awareness of this globally rare habitat. Management plans are being developed for properties and will be used to generate a landscape conservation plan for the Rice Lake Plains.

Author-supplied keywords

  • 2005
  • nature conservancy of canada
  • oak savanna
  • plains joint initiative
  • restoration
  • rice lake
  • tallgrass prairie

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Authors

  • T Farrell

  • J Riley

  • L McLaughlin

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