Environmentally Significant Areas

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London lies in the Carolinian Forest Region, an ecosystem noted for its unique diversity. This region, blessed with rich soils and favourable climate, contains species that grow nowhere else in Canada, including the tulip tree, the cucumber tree, pawpaw, and black tupelo. Unfortunately most of these vast forest were cleared be early European settlers (much like the Amazon rain forests). The few stands of forest that remain are now threatened by development.

Environmentally Significant Areas contain natural features and perform ecological function that warrant their retention in a natural state. There are currently five ESA's in London that are open to the public; Westminster Ponds, Warbler Woods, Sifton Bog, Medway Valley and Meadowlily Woods. Hopefully more including the Kilally Riverbank and Kains Woods will be designated soon. Another eleven have been recognized  but remain largely on private land.

The Upper Thames Conservation Authority manages London's Environmentally Significant Areas in partnership with the City of London, in order to protect these Environmentally Significant Areas, ensure public safety, encourage partnerships and education, and promote and enforce proper use

More information on these and other natural area can be found in "Guide to the Natural Areas of London & Vicinity" Edited by Shirley Lorimer with Barbara Bain, Anita Caveney, Patrica Cole, Dave Martin, Cathy Quinlan & Winifred Wake. Published by the McIlwrath Field Naturalists of London Ontario, 3rd Edition, 1999

In addition to areas officially designated as environmentally significant, there are dozens of other natural areas that need to be preserved. A good example is the Clara Breton Woods. The city has established a woodlot acquisition fund to buy some of these areas. But $400,000 does not go a long way when developers feel the $125,000 per acre is a fair price (see story).

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Created on Sept 7 1998
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Last Updated April 17, 2006