Backus Woods will become part of 4,300 acres protected in Norfolk County
In 2011, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada announced another major accomplishment in conservation in the Carolinian region of Ontario. A $6.1 million gift from the Foundation to the NCC was used to purchase and protect Backus Woods and adjoining properties totaling more than 875 acres. Learn More
This news follows an announcement in 2010 that The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada had secured 3,400 acres of vital Carolinian habitat in Norfolk for permanent protection and restoration.
With the Backus Woods accomplishment, The Foundation has assisted in securing over 4,300 acres within the Southern Norfolk Sand Plain, which ranks this project area as the 5th largest protected area in Ontario’s Carolinian Region; rich in agricultural lands, tallgrass prairie, wetlands and forests. Comprising less than one-quarter of 1% of Canada’s land mass, Carolinian Canada is home to 25% of Canada’s population and 25% of Canada’s endangered species.
The Norfolk Forests and Long Point Wetlands natural area is one of the most biologically diverse regions in Canada. It boasts the highest level of forest cover in southern Ontario as well as the world famous wetlands of the Long Point peninsula. This biodiversity corridor re-connects four major areas of existing natural habitat: the Long Point peninsula, South Walsingham Forest, Backus Woods and the St. Williams Conservation Reserve.
The woodlands contain unique and endangered Carolinian species
such as Cucumber Magnolia, American Chestnut, and the Eastern Flowering Dogwood. The Norfolk area is home to 60 species considered at risk nationally under the Species At Risk Act and 221 provincially rare species. Restoring this biodiversity corridor has allowed animals that would have otherwise been isolated to travel easily and safely from one natural area to another.
Because of its importance in biodiversity conservation, this region has been designated as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve and has been identified as a priority conservation area by numerous conservation groups.
The Foundation continues to be committed to supporting conservation efforts to protect the Carolinian forest and its unique and threatened species, to restore the ecosystem and promote the economic viability through sustainable farming and conservation practices.
Learn more about Norfolk Carolinian Legacy or other Foundation supported land conservation projects.