Terrestrial Ecosystems

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), along with its partner municipalities, is committed to protecting, enhancing, and restoring terrestrial ecosystems across its jurisdiction through plans, policies, and practice.

These efforts are informed by existing scientific data collection as well as by knowledge gathered through TRCA’s applied research initiatives.

TRCA ecosystem science team member conducts terrestrial monitoring in the field

About Terrestrial Ecosystems in
Toronto and Region

Terrestrial ecosystems within TRCA’s jurisdiction include forests, wetlands, meadows, beaches, and bluffs linked within the surrounding urban, urbanizing, and rural landscapes.

A wide range of environmental conditions and biodiversity are found within these ecosystems.

beach and bluffs

A healthy ecosystem supports regional biodiversity of plants and animals, clean air and water, protection from flooding and erosion, provision of recreational opportunities, and more.

Various natural and human influences continue to impact terrestrial ecosystems. For example, urbanization results in natural systems such as forests and wetlands changing into more urban landscapes with built surfaces such as parking lots and buildings.

aerial view of Woodbridge

These changes have both direct and indirect impacts on ecosystem form and function, which are made worse by climate change and related extreme weather events such as drought and flooding.

Terrestrial Ecosystems: Applied Research

The objectives of TRCA’s terrestrial ecosystems applied research program are:

  • To improve understanding of the current and future state of terrestrial ecosystems across TRCA’s jurisdiction
  • To identify critical impacts of land use and climate change on terrestrial ecosystems
  • To identify opportunities for improving function and services for terrestrial ecosystems and its critical link with aquatic ecosystems
  • To provide science-based guidance for policy and practice

TRCA’s applied research on terrestrial ecosystem science has several focus areas:

Terrestrial Ecosystems:
Monitoring and Inventories

TRCA monitors plants and animals in forests, wetlands, and meadows across our regional watersheds by conducting biological inventories and assessments and surveying long-term fixed plots.


TRCA Watershed Planning and Ecosystem Science: wpes@trca.ca