Biodiversity and Habitat

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) pursues applied research to better understand the current and potential future state of biodiversity and habitat in our jurisdiction in the face of changing landscape uses and climate.

What Is Biodiversity?

“The variability among living organisms on the earth, including the variability within and between species and within and between ecosystems.” — Center for Biological Diversity

butterfly and native wildflowers exemplify the biodiversity of local meadow habitat

Biological diversity or biodiversity is the variation of life at all levels of biological organization such as ecosystem, species, and genetic levels. Commonly it refers to the total number of life forms (including species of plants, animals, birds, and microbes) across an area, and includes a measure of the range of differences in their distribution and abundance.

Biodiversity thrives when there is optimal habitat that provides the right environmental conditions and resources. This includes areas that are necessary for wildlife to carry out their life cycle needs, such as feeding, moving, and reproducing. It is necessary to have a good quantity and quality of habitat to meet regional biodiversity needs.

An ecosystem with high species diversity, including genetic species diversity, is better equipped to adapt to a wide variety of environmental conditions and disturbances. Greater biodiversity also enriches our community with varieties of foods and medicines.

Applied Research on Biodiversity and Habitat

Applied research on biodiversity and habitat enables TRCA and its partners to undertake necessary management actions to ensure functional habitat for plants, animals, and other biodiversity over the long term.

Over the past decade and half, TRCA has led or supported completion of various applied science projects, plans, and programs to advance and implement the Terrestrial Natural Heritage System (NHS) objectives, including:

  • TRCA Landscape’s Capacity for Habitat Suitability (2020)
  • TRCA Birds and Amphibian Guilds by Functional Traits (2019)
  • Estimates of Alpha and Beta Diversity (2019)
  • Ecological Integrity in an Urban Context
  • Other Biodiversity and Habitat Support


TRCA Watershed Planning and Ecosystem Science: