Long-Term Monitoring

Long-term terrestrial biodiversity data guides decision-making for environmental protection, restoration activities, and the management of natural areas.


What Are We Monitoring?

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has set up long-term monitoring plots in forest, wetland, and meadow habitats region-wide to measure how species and vegetation communities are changing over time in response to surrounding land use activities.

yellow warbler
native frog species
swamp milkweed

What Are The Data Telling Us?

TRCA analyzes the long-term data trends collected on birds, frogs, and vegetation communities to report on the health and condition of regional forests, meadows and wetlands.

Select the image below to explore our terrestrial biodiversity reporting data.

TRCA Watershed Reporting Hub Terrestrial Biodiversity reporting data

Visit TRCA’s Watershed & Ecosystems Reporting Hub

Current Terrestrial Biodiversity Conditions
in Toronto and Region:

Average Current Conditions (based on 2019 data)

Urban Rural Regional
Forest Vegetation Good Good Good
Wetland Vegetation Fair Fair Fair
Forest Birds Poor Good Fair
Wetland Birds Poor Fair Fair
Meadow Birds Poor Poor Poor
Wetland Frogs and Toads Poor Good Fair

Overall, terrestrial biodiversity in Toronto Region is in fair condition, with the more rural areas having the highest quality natural cover and native species.

Rural areas tend to have a higher diversity of species, including those that are very sensitive to changes in their environment. In urban areas, there tends to be more generalist species that are more tolerant of different conditions, as well as invasive species.

As human populations intensify in urban zones, there is an increased pressure on the existing natural areas and the highest quality habitat remaining in the surrounding rural landscape.

great blue heron in wetland area

Even in protected conservation areas, there are several negative impacts that have been observed, such as unauthorized trail creation, off-leash pets, and compaction of soils.

Continued development and the addition of roads has been harmful for many species that require large tracts of land to travel between wetlands and forests for different stages of their life cycle.

With climate change and the ever-increasing demands on the land for further development, long-term terrestrial biodiversity data collection provides guidance for the conservation and restoration of habitat.

It is important not just to minimize habitat loss, but also to lessen the negative influences impacting the habitat quality of remaining natural areas.

woman walking dog on leash at TRCA conservation area
You can help protect habitat and preserve terrestrial biodiversity by keeping dogs on-leash when exploring local trails.

What Can You Do to Help?

  • Keep dogs on-leash and cats indoors.
  • Stay on designated trails and respect closed trails.
  • Plant native plants in gardens and remove invasive species.
  • Do not extend your gardens or dispose of your garden waste in adjacent natural areas.
  • Maximize infiltration and reduce runoff by minimizing hard surfaces (e.g. use flagstones or gravel instead of asphalt or cement).
  • Direct downspouts into soakaway pits.
  • Find alternatives to road salt in the winter months.

View Long-Term Monitoring Reports

Click to Open Library


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