Put simply, “Biodiversity is the shortened form of two words “biological” and “diversity”. It refers to all the variety of life that can be found on Earth (plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms) as well as to the communities that they form and the habitats in which they live.” – from “Introduction to Biodiversity.” PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
Biodiversity is responsible for clean air and water, and the many other resources that support our survival. Species at risk recovery is a key component in protecting biodiversity.
The Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) is the Government of Ontario’s legislative commitment to protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats. A species is automatically protected against harm and harassment, and the habitat(s) it depends upon is protected from damage and destruction at the point in time when a species is listed under the ESA as extirpated, endangered or threatened. It is then the responsibility of The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to ensure that a recovery strategy is prepared for any species listed as endangered or threatened.
A science-based recovery strategy advising on what is necessary to achieve recovery must be provided to the government within one year for endangered, and two years for threatened species. The government then responds with a statement, the government’s policy response to the scientific advice offered. This statement must take into account factors beyond the scientific advice, including: input from stakeholders, other jurisdictions, Aboriginal communities and members of the public. Together, these various elements reflect the best available traditional, local and scientific knowledge.
With regard to implementation, the ESA allows the Ministry to determine what actions are feasible in terms of social and economic factors.
Here is an example:
Erynnis martialis (Mottled Duskywing) butterfly
This butterfly relies solely on C. americanus
(New Jersey Tea) for all stages of its life cycle.
Endangered, meaning “the species lives in the wild in Ontario but is facing imminent extinction or extirpation.” – Species at Risk in Ontario (SARA) list
Added to the SARO list on June 27, 2014.
Ontario Recovery Strategy was developed during the year following the above date, and completed on 25 June 2015.
The Government of Ontario then publishes the summary, “Mottled Duskywing Recovery Strategy Executive Summary”.
Within 9 months the Government must follow this up with a response statement. In the case of Mottled Duskywing, the statement was published 23 March 2016.
Since resources, understanding and know-how are not in the hands of one entity, while the Government of Ontario sets goals for recovery, the actual process is shared with various entities. In other words, the Government of Ontario leads some aspects of recovery, while supporting others.
Supported aspects include:
- habitat management and stewardship, working with local landowners / community partners in managing habitat through threat mitigation and increased public awareness
- increase knowledge of the species’ abundance, distribution and site-specific threats through inventory and monitoring
- continue research into habitat requirements, life processes and population dynamics
Presently, The Ontario Butterfly Species at Risk Recovery Team is working to reintroduce and establish a self-sustaining population of Mottled Duskywing butterfly in the oak savanna habitat of Pinery Provincial Park (on the southern shore of Lake Huron).
You may be asking, in the case of Mottled Duskywing, how can Ontario citizens be good stewards? Here are some suggestions:
- if you are a private landowner you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
- if you are a farmer, Canada-Ontario Farm Stewardship Program is available to farmers registered under the Canada-Ontario Environmental Farm Plan. This plan encourages greater protection and conservation of habitat for species at risk.
- if you are a hiker or biker, follow the posted directives of the trail, as they are designed to protect the biodiversity of sensitive landscapes. In the case of alvars, rare is the word! Alvars only exist only in the Great Lakes region of North America and northern Europe. The predominance of limestone and lack of soil limits the plants that can grow in this habitat. Those that do take root and flourish are often rare species and hosts to rare insects.
- if you are a seasoned or wanna-be gardener, the rare Mottled Duskywing, along with many other butterflies are pollinating insects. With pollinator populations declining around the world, help them along by creating a pollinator garden. You may also like to look into Seeds of Diversity.
To learn more about:
Linton, Jessica. 2015. Recovery Strategy for the Mottled Duskywing (Erynnis martialis) in Ontario.
Ontario Recovery Strategy Series. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Peterborough, Ontario. v + 39 pp.
“Butterflies of Canada – Mottled Duskywing (Erynnis martialis) (Scudder, 1869).” Layberry, Ross A., Peter W. Hall, and J. Donald Lafontaine. Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility (CBIF). Government of Canada, 2002. Updated 09 July 2014. Web. Accessed 17 Mar 2020. https://cbif.gc.ca/eng/species-bank/butterflies-of-canada/mottled-duskywing/?id=1370403265694.
“Introduction to Biodiversity.” PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Web. Accessed 07 Jul 2020. https://www.pbl.nl/en/Introduction-biodiversity.
“Mottled Duskywing government response statement.” Ontario.ca, Government of Ontario, 23 March 2016. Updated 08 May 2019. Web. Accessed 17 Mar 2020. https://www.ontario.ca/page/mottled-duskywing-government-response-statement.
“Mottled duskywing Scientific Name: Erynnis martialis.” Ontario.ca, Government of Ontario, 18 July 2014. Updated 10 Dec 2019. Web. Accessed 17 Mar 2020. https://www.ontario.ca/page/mottled-duskywing.