Report reveals Greenbelt home to almost 40% of Ontario's species at risk
Toronto — The David Suzuki Foundation and Ontario Nature released a new report today revealing that while the Ontario Greenbelt enhances protection for 78 species-at-risk — almost 40% of all provincially listed species — work remains to be done to ensure these species recover. The report also highlights the economic value of protecting habitat in the Greenbelt, conservatively estimated at more than $2.6 billion per year in economic benefits.
"This report demonstrates that Ontario's Greenbelt is definitely paying dividends for Ontarians," said Rachel Plotkin, policy analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation. "The Greenbelt's rich forests, fields, streams and wetlands are both safeguarding species and providing billions in benefits to Ontarians, by filtering our air, cleansing our water, providing food and protecting us from floods."
Ontario's Greenbelt is home to 78 of over 200 provincially listed species at risk in the province, like the Bobolink, Redside Dace and Jefferson Salamander. Since being established in 2005, it has prevented the conversion of natural and agricultural lands into sprawling residential development. Despite this early success, the report highlights the need to strengthen existing provincial policies and laws to address on-going threats to the integrity of the Greenbelt from pressures like road development and aggregate extraction.
The report provides a comprehensive review of the Greenbelt's legal and policy framework concerning species at risk and highlights the need to strengthen the Greenbelt Plan during the legislative review expected in 2015.
"While there has been much success on the ground, species in the Greenbelt still need more help to survive," said Dr. Anne Bell, director of conservation and education with Ontario Nature. "It is our hope that the Greenbelt will continue to fulfill its promise and become a model of ecological and economic innovation for communities across the country and abroad."
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For more information, please download a copy of the report at http://www.davidsuzuki.org or contact:
Dr. Anne Bell, Ontario Nature (416) 444-8419 ext. 239
Rachel Plotkin, David Suzuki Foundation (416) 348-9885 ext 1582