Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
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Committed to protecting and increasing awareness of Ontario's natural areas and wildlife
355 Lesmill Road. Don Mills. Ontario M3B 2W8
Phone- (416) 444-8419 Fax: (416) 444-9866
February 22, 1994
Counsellor H. Kennedy City of Mississauga
Dear Mr. Kennedy:
Subject: Management of Cawthra Woods
The Federation of Ontario Naturalists (FON) is a non profit organization representing approximately 16,000 direct members and 78 affiliated clubs and groups from across Ontario. Since 1931 the FON has been an advocate for the protection of natural areas and wilderness and has been committed to increasing public awareness around the importance of such areas.
The FON has just become aware that the Mississauga Parks Department is in the process of logging an existing stand of urban forest, referred to as the Cawthra Woods, located south of the QEW and east of Cawthra Rd. It is our understanding that this 21 hectare forest exists in a relatively natural state and is recognized as a regionally significant Area of Natural and Scientific Interest with several rare species of flora.
As this area represents an extremely rare ecosystem in an urban setting where the potential for public education and appreciation is tremendous, management of this forest must have the goal of maintaining the naturally occurring ecosystems allowing their dynamics to function in a relatively wild manner.
We understand that the trees removed are to be sold for firewood and furniture. The value of these large older trees would seem to be much greater standing than cut. Mature forests are very appealing to the public, and a naturally functioning ecosystem can provide a rare educational opportunity in an urban setting.
Ecological considerations must also be accounted for. The diversity of a woodlot is greater with large old trees providing habitat for a variety of wildlife including cavity-nesting species dependant upon these trees. The species composition of this woods is apparently typical of that which would be found there naturally and regeneration of these species can occur without outside influence, i.e.. thinning. Site disturbance and thinning also promote the establishment of non-native species. We also understand that the plans for this area include the planting of several carolinian species. The rationale for this direction eludes us. Given the current significance of the area, it seems appropriate to allow it to remain in its current state.
As mentioned above, the FON has only recently become aware of this plan and many questions remain unanswered. There appears to be little to be gained by the removal of these trees and much to be lost for the people of Mississauga and the rest of Ontario. The Federation of Ontario Naturalists would appreciate receiving a detailed outline of the plans for this woods and a detailed scientific rationale for this direction, as well as any species inventories and technical information which have been done.
The FON is in support of a moratorium on the removal of trees from this woods until such time as the most publicly and ecologically beneficial direction of management for this area has been determined.
I believe that the FON can be helpful in this matter and we would appreciate being involved in future meetings. I understand that this matter is presently being considered and as such look forward to an immediate response. Please call with any information or questions at 416 444-8419.
Sincerely, [ signed by ] Chris Lompart, Forestry Coordinator
cc: Honourable Howard Hampton, Minister of Natural Resources, Ken Owen, A/General Manager, Credit Valley Conservation Authority
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