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Forest Cover Habitat Program

Landowner afforestation program to increase forest cover habitat across Haldimand County and the Niagara Peninsula

Program Objectives

The proposed project addresses the overall Habitat Stewardship Program Prevention Stream objectives of protecting and improving habitat for not-at-risk species and engaging private landowners, community volunteers, agencies and businesses collectively to achieve these objectives. 

The project will create new forest habitat adjacent to existing forest habitat, thereby benefiting early successional bird species complexes in the short-term (i.e. Black-billed Cuckoo, Brown Thrasher, Eastern Towhee, Northern Flicker and Rose-breasted Grosbeak) and enhancing interior forest habitat values for targeted species Eastern Wood-pewee and Wood Thrush when crown closure occurs (approximately 15 years) and edge-effect is displaced further from the original adjacent forests' edges. 

A basic support network of agencies, small businesses and community volunteers has been actively growing tree seedlings, preparing professional site prescriptions, site preparation, tree planting and tending. However, there is a shortage of tree seedlings available and this is due to a critical lack of seed collection activity. The proposed project will address this shortage by identifying potential seed collection areas across Haldimand and the Niagara Peninsula, initiate a seed forecasting regime and collect seed where good crops occur. In this way, the future of forest habitat creation and enhancement can be maintained, at a minimum, if not increased. Given the complexity of delivering a consistent and successful landowner afforestation program, the proposed project also addresses the need for a full-time manager, not only to look after the aforementioned aspects, but to identify high-priority locations for habitat creation and initiate a landowner outreach campaign targeting these areas; and develop a five-year management plan, updated annually, to ensure program success.