Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
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Reseau Canadien de Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles
including the IUCN/SSC Task Force on Declining Amphibian Populations in Canada (DAPCAN) - Charitable Tax Number: 88078-1562-RR0001
May 14, 1998
Urban Forest Management Advisory Committee
Dear Ms. Trainor:
We are writing to you with regards to the proposed management plan for Cawthra Woods. It is our understanding that the Cawthra Woods represents an unusual and significant ecosystem within the regional landscape. Although an urban woodlot may appear to be ecologically insignificant, in fact it can play a number of very important roles. Forest and wetland ecosystems, especially at a headwater, function in groundwater recharge and discharge and act as a natural water purification system with important downstream effects. An urban forest can also act as a stepping stone between larger tracts of habitat and thereby reduce the effects of habitat fragmentation. As a refuge which preserves species, gene complexes and ecosystem interactions, such a habitat enhances the ability of the regional landscape to respond to future changes In climate or land use. For all these reasons it is important to manage such a site for its full diversity and ecological functions -- not just as a pleasant spot to visit or a source of timber.
It is particularly rare to find a forest that can support such a diversity of deep forest salamanders (Jefferson, triploid hybrid and Redback) in an urban setting. The Redback Salamander in particular has been proposed as an indicator species for healthy old growth forests because of its requirement for deep leafy and woody debris. The Jefferson Salamander, as you may know is rare in Ontario where it is confined to the vicinity of western Lake Ontario and eastern Lake Erie. We recommend that you consult with Dr. James Bogart (University of Guelph) regarding its precise habitat requirements at the Cawthra Woods. Although rarely seen by the casual observer it is known that in some locations salamanders make up a greater biomass than all other vertebrates combined (all the birds and mammals) and therefore they play a key role in forest food webs. The presence of these species suggests that an unusual variety of soil invertebrates is also likely to be present and this possibility merits further study. Although most people tend to ignore them it Is the invertebrates which are, in the words of E.O. Wilson, the "little things that run the world."
We encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity you have to preserve the unique characteristics of the Cawthra Woods. Future generations will thank you.
Sincerely - Carolyn Seburn
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Their web-site; http://www.cciw.ca/ecowatch/dapcan
STAN A. ORCHARD, Chairman and DAPCAN
CAROLYN SEBURN, Vice-chairman and
DAPCAN Co-ordinator for Eastern Canada 920 Mussell Road, RR#l, Oxford Mills,
Ontario, CANADA, K0G 1S0
ANDREW DIDIUK, Vice-chairman and
DAPCAN Co-ordinator for Western Canada Saskatchewan Amphibian Monitoring
Project and Saskatchewan Herpetology Alias Project, 314 Egbert Avenue,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CANADA, S7N 1X1
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