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ENv495: Final Presentation

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James Boutilier

on 26 July 2015

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Transcript of ENv495: Final Presentation

The most recent Prescribed Burn for Management Unit 1C took place on Wednesday March 21, 2012
("High Park Prescribed Burn Notice, Wednesday March 21", 2012)

Photomonitoring station at Management Unit 1C

Restoring Black Oak Savannah in High Park Management Units 1C & 1D
Abiotic Factors
Landscape and Infrastructure
Biotic Factors
Sociocultural Aspects
Restoration Recommendations
Photo Journal
Photo 1: South-facing Slope of Management Unit 1D adjacent to Grenadier Pond. This figure illustrates topographic relief of the site. It also shows heavy erosion along man-made trails due to loose soils, steep slopes and hydrological activity that makes the hillside highly susceptible to erosion.
Photo 2: Exposed plant roots due to heavy erosion. This figure shows loose sandy loam, the primary soil type at Management Units 1C and 1D.
Photo 4: Wood Ducks (Aix sponsa) at Management Unit 1D. This figure shows wood ducks feeding at the shore of Grenadier Pond.
Photo 3: Mixed wood woodland Canopy and Understory of Management Unit 1C. This figure illustrates the homogenous domination of the understory of the management units by Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canaenis) and the varied relatively dense canopy which includes numerous species beyond Black Oak (Quercus velutina) and Sassafras (Sassafras albidum).
Photo 5: A Black squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) feeding at a Black Oak at Management Unit 1D. Black Squirrels, are a colour phase of the Grey Squirrel species.
Photo 14: Burnt logs of woody tree species at Management Unit 1C. Burnt woody debris such as that depicted in this image are a result of restoration management activities such as prescribed burning.
Photo 6: Remnants of Black Oak acorns (Involucres/nut caps). Consumption of acorns by biota, such as black squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) and Eastern chipmunks (Tamias striatus) as depicted in this image is one of the factors contributing to poor Oak regeneration in management units 1C and 1D.
Photo 7: Presence of Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in Management Unit 1C. This image shows evidence of biological invasion by Garlic Mustard in an isolated patch on the site, which appears to have been completely enveloped.
Photo 15: Runner along High Park Trail adjacent to Grenadier Pond. This image illustrates that the main trail transversing our site is common for recreational activity including running and walking. The clearing of leaves along this trail is evidence of maintenance by High Park staff.
Photo 8: Invasive Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) found throughout the site.
Photo 10: Warning signs against the use of fishing lines and hooks in Management Unit 1C. The sign in this picture is one of a few through the management units placed to prevent the use of fishing equipment which can injure wildlife or damage their nesting areas
Photo 9: Chicken wire collar around a Black Oak tree trunk. The chicken wire depicted in this image acts as fencing to protect trees from disturbance from biota such as porcupines, raccoons, skunks, etc.
Photo 13: Monitoring plot containing saplings of Oak tree species such as Red Oak (species name) at Management Unit 1C. This image shows an example of a monitoring plot found at high park. These monitoring plots are the sites where past prescribed burns were carried out.
Figure 11: Sign detailing the history and wildlife present at the Grenadier Pond. This image shows the sign of Grenadier Pond, which borders management units 1C and 1D. Grenadier Pond which attracts a variety of aquatic species that interact with our site. There is also evidence of vandalism on this sign.
Photo 12: A beer can littered on the ground at Management Unit 1D. A couple beer cans, like the one depicted above, were observed to be disposed off on the ground in the Management Units.
Ground Rules
Be a good listener
Think of thoughtful questions
Be respectful of the speakers
Try to stay awake
Have fun :)
Presentation Overview
Context / Introduction
Abiotic Factors
Landscape and Infrastructure
Biotic Factors
Past Restoration and Management activities
Sociocultural factors
Future Restoration Recommendations
YOUR questions and comments :)
Any questions or comments?
Past Restoration and Management Activities
Management Units 1C and 1D
Absence of Fire
Aggressiveness of introduced plant species (i.e. Invasive Species)
Squirrel Predation of Acorns
Human Disturbance
*LOW Reproduction rates of Black Oak Savannah trees*
Causes for Restoration and Management Activities at High Park:
Currently implemented + Ongoing Management and Restoration Initiatives at High Park:
--> Prescribed burning
--> Controlling invasive plant species
--> Re-establishing native plant communities & species
--> Restoring rare native plant populations
--> Restoring tall shrub habitat for migrant songbirds
--> Reducing trampling damage
--> Restoring hydrology
--> Managing grey squirrel populations
--> Monitoring pollution and climate change

(City of Toronto, 2002, 44-63)

Installation of Chicken Wire Tree Trunk Guards
Environmental Stewardship & Invasive Plant programming
Continuous Monitoring
Thinning of Woody Species
(commonly with prescribed burns)
Volunteer and Staff plantings
Garlic Mustard
(Alliaria petiolata)
Controlling Invasive Species through ongoing management
(commonly from mechanical removal such as weeding and prescribed burns)
Prescribed/ Controlled Burning
Management and Restoration Initiatives Specific to Management Units 1C and 1D
Dog Strangling Vine
Cynanchum spp
Common Buckthorn
Rhamus cathartica
Tartarian Honeysuckle
Lonicera tartarica
Prescribed Burning
Prescribed Burns
Mechanical removal/weeding
Garlic Mustard patch at Management Unit 1C
Common/European Buckthorn from Management Unit 1D
Invasive Species Control
Signage & Public Awareness
Educational Programs
High Park Nature is a joint initiative of the High Park Natural Environment Committee (NEC) and the High Park Volunteer Stewardship Program (VSP/High Park Stewards)
Chicken Wire Tree Trunk
Stewardship-related Activities
Main trail: Popular path for runners
Commonly used for recreational activity
Evidence of maintenance
Informative signs about wildlife present
Signs warning about entry into areas or about using fishing lines.
Stewardship and Educational Outreach Programs:
Prescribed burn at management unit 1D
Nature walks led biannually
After school programs for middle school and high school students
Anthropogenic damage:
Man-made side trails

Steep hillside with a south-facing aspect
Long, steep slope increases velocity and volume of water, thus increasing erosive potential
- Mitigated by vegetative cover, but apparent along man-made trails
- Rill and gully erosion along trails

Geology and soils:

Lake Iroquois

Sandy soil
Prone to erosion
- Forms light aggregates that are easily disturbed by wind and water
- Impenetrable pavements upslope increase runoff down the slope
Low in nutrients and organic matter
-Shallow topsoil
> Time
> Erosion
Abiotic Factors
Catchment area includes city streets as well as the park
Primary inputs are precipitation and surface overland flow
Groundwater largely redirected through the use of sewers
Low risk of drought except at summit of hill (#1)
Summit – vertical drainage
#2,3,4 all retain water due to high water table and lateral drainage

Ecosystem Classification
According to High Park Staff classified as Dry Black Oak - White Oak Tallgrass Woodland.
Tree cover exceeds the 15-35% limit required to be classified as a Black Oak Savannah.
Shrub Cover
Red-osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Invasive Species
Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Garlic Mustard
(Alliaria petiolata)
Norway Maple
Acer platanoides
Ecosystem Trajectory
Management units 1C and 1D appear to be transitioning away from being Black Oak Savannah towards becoming more typical 'Mixed Wood Woodlands'.
This is due to the increasing proliferation of less fire resistant tree species, which are increasing tree cover.
Black Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis)
Eastern chipmunks (
Tamias striatus
Wood Duck (
Aix sponsa
Grenadier pond
Poor oak acorn germination rates
Although High Park currently has a management plan, this plan focuses heavily on the science side of restoration and fails to adequately address the issues of stakeholder involvement
Visitors are an untapped resource that is nearly always present in the park, and interested members of the public could be actively involved in the management plan
This has multiple benefits for both the park and the public, including increased awareness about issues and management of these issues
The public is already present within the park, and their time can be spent providing information about issues if they are properly educated on identifying and reporting them

family walks ~2 times/year, no recent volunteer planting within the sites
regular volunteer meetups to seed native plants, plant young species to maintain a normal community age profile, and to control invasive species
-Only hand weeding as herbicides must be applied by licensed professionals
Meet ups could combine nature walks to teach rudimentary plant identification with unguided exploration of the part by trained individuals to identify invasive species
It could be beneficial to encourage horticulture clubs and groups to attend these meet ups
to increase visitors’ involvement in management activities

Volunteer Meet Ups
: nothing like this currently exists at High Park.
the creation of an invasive species identification guide to help interested visitors learn about these species and their impacts
This guide will contain a trail map where visitors can mark sightings of invasive plants
Maps of sightings will increase the efficiency of the park staff, and decrease the amount of time invasive plants have to establish in new areas
to involve the public in the protection and management of High Park’s ecosystem
The bulk of interaction between humans and the environment in high park is through visitors, and these visitors are an untapped resource
Visitors are present in the park regardless, but by increasing their knowledge and interest, their actions within the park can become primarily beneficial rather than detrimental

Trail Maps and Invasive Species Identification Guides
sites 1C and 1D are extremely vulnerable to erosion due to steep slopes and frequent usage of trails, and currently exhibit gully erosion along these man-made trails
Causes the loss of topsoil, and dangerous during wet or icy conditions
reducing access to these trails through the use of barriers, signs explaining the detrimental effects of this degree of erosion, and an increased number of maps along the paved trails showing the location of access trails back to the parking lot and roads
to reduce human traffic on the hillside, and thus eliminate anthropogenic causes of erosion while increasing visitor knowledge of environmental protection.

Combating Erosion
Tuesday after school group
the creation of an extensive educational program through schools in the region
to foster in children a sense of responsibility for the environment, as well as interest and some basic knowledge of management activities

Educational Outreach Programs
Educational outreach programs
Seeding, weeding, planting
Volunteer meetups and activities
Seeding, weeding, planting
Combating erosion
Invasive species identification guide
Trail maps
New Strategies
To protect the rare Black Oak Savannah and the significant species that it hosts, while also maintaining educational and recreational benefits of the park

Current Management
New strategies
- Increase public awareness and gain the cooperation of park users, as they are the primary interface between humans and the environment of High Park

Continue prescribed burns throughout the site
Current Management
Steep slope
Vulnerable to erosion

Adjacent to Grenadier Pond
Aesthetic appeal of the pond increases visitor traffic near and within the site
Increases human impacts, but also increases educational opportunities
Unique Features of 1C/1D
Control of invasive species
Most of the terrain is natural, and very little infrastructure is found in these management units.

Toronto’s High Park is an isolated habitat fragment and 1C and 1D management units are fragmented patches within the park.
There exists only one wide trail in 1C and 1D which is looked after by the park staff.

It has no barriers on either side, allowing for greater anthropogenic disturbance.
The 1C and 1D management units have a southwest topographic aspect and slope steeply down towards Grenadier Pond. This means that the slope receives greater solar heating which results in lower humidity, rapid moisture loss and increasing prevalence of forbs and grasses

Management units 1C and 1D consist mainly of hilly, upland terrain and the ground of these areas is covered with loose sandy soil.

Physical Infrastructure
Chicken wire tree trunk guards are noted coiled around trees along the wide trail adjacent to Grenadier Pond.
Plenty of signage found in our management units, installed to inform visitors of the species found in the sites as well as to discourage visitors from performing undesirable activities.
There is a single installed wooden bench.
Branching off from the main trail, there is evidence of a number of man-made narrow side trails which further fragment the site.
Canada Goldenrod
Solidago canadenis
Black Oak
(Quercus velutina)
European White Birch
(Betula pendula)
Sugar Maple
(Acer saccharum)
American Elm
(Ulmus americana),
Not pictured:
Siberian Elm (Ulmus pumila)
Norway Maple (Acer platanoides)
European Linden (Tilia cordata)
Weeping Willow (Salix X sepulcralis)
most signs are “no access” or warnings about unsafe ice conditions
: an increase in educational and descriptive signs
to increase public awareness of issues within the park, inform them about management activities to control these issues, and to provide information to increase public interest and involvement in the management activities

Calder, I., & Dye, P. (2001). Hydrological impacts of invasive alien plants. Land Use and Water Resources Research, 1(7), 1-12.
City of Toronto. (2002). High Park Woodland & Savannah Management Plan. Corporate Printing. Toronto, Ontario, 1-93. Retrieved October 24, 2013 from http://www1.toronto.ca/staticfiles/city_of_toronto/parks_forestry__recreation/urban_forestry/files/pdf/HighParkMgmtPlan.pdf
City of Toronto. (2012). High Park Prescribed Burn Notice, Wednesday March 21. City of Toronto, Parks, Forestry & Recreation. Retrieved November 2, 2013 from http://www.highparknature.org/wiki/uploads/HighParkNature/HP%2024HR%20B URN%20NOTICE%20to%20Local%20Residents2012.pdf
Geospatial Training and Analysis Cooperative. (n.d.). Wildland Fires: Topography. GeoSTAC. Retrieved November 22, 2013, from: http://geology.isu.edu/geostac/Field_Exercise wildfire/topography.htm
Grunwald, S. (n.d.). Soil Formation and Hillslope Hydrology. Soil and Water Science Department. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from http://soils.ifas.ufl.edu/faculty/grunwald/teaching/eSoilScience/formation.shtml
History / High Park Geology. (n.d.). High Park Nature. Retrieved November 19, 2013, from http://www.highparknature.org/wiki/wiki.php?n=History.Geology
Kotanen, P. (2013). Lecture on Ontario Plant Communities, from BIO339H5, presented on November 4, 2013. [PowerPoint slides]. Personal Collection of P. Kotanen, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario.
Ministry of the Environment. Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch. (2003). Hydrogeology of Southern Ontario. Retrieved Ministry of the Environment website: http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/resources/STD01_076324.html
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