Protecting Biodiversity for Future Generations
One of the mandates of the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust is to protect habitat for all flora and fauna, including species at risk. Barnum Creek Nature Reserve provides a 500-acre refuge for many local species and several species at risk including the Five-lined Skink (Ontario’s only native lizard), the Wood Thrush, and the Blanding’s Turtle.
Recently, the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust has embarked on an enormous, visionary initiative called the Highlands Corridor. The Corridor is a unique model of conservation that includeas land trust and municipal properties, private land stewardship and unceded Crown land. This project was influenced by several factors, including the federal government’s pledge to protect 30% of lands and waters by 2030, building resilience to increasing climate change, and stemming the loss of global biodiversity. With this in mind, a large swath of land linking Queen Elizabeth Wildlands Provincial Park in the west to Kawartha Highlands and Silent Lake Provincial Parks in the east was identified by the Land Trust.
The Highlands Corridor is 100,000 ha of Crown land, municipal land and private land with 4800 ha of provincially significant wetlands extending throughout. This swath of land, lying along the southern edge of the Canadian Shield, is recognized as a significant wildlife corridor, an area rich in wetlands, home to some 35 species at risk, and a place where deep carbon deposits abound.
Protecting it by designating the unceded Crown land as a conservation reserve would offer a nature-based solution mitigating the effects of climate change and, at the same time, addressing the problem of declining biodiversity. Within this long-term strategy, HHLT would continue to build strong partnerships with private landowners and encourage good stewardship to enhance connectivity within the Corridor. In addition, consultations with First Nations have been initiated to identify traditional uses and knowledge within the identified region. Dahl Forest and the Fred and Pearl Barry Wetland Reserve, other Land Trust owned and managed properties to the southwest of you, lie within the Corridor boundaries and already protect portions of this mosaic.
Barnum Creek Nature Reserve also plays a role in the goals of the corridor, as it protects land within the northern buffer zone of this region. For more information about the Highlands Corridor, visit highlandscorridor.ca.