From beluga whales in Hudson Bay in northern Ontario to the extremely rare small-mouthed salamander on Lake Erie’s Pelee Island, we have an amazing diversity of species living in our province.
Ontario’s Diversity of Species
- 3,045 vascular plants
- 511 mosses
- 154 liverworts
- 112 ferns
- 1,000 fungi and algae
- 700 lichens
- 260 molluscs
- 230 worms
- 479 birds
- 84 mammals
- 27 reptiles
- 27 amphibians
- 160 fish
- Thousands of insects
And these diverse species live among an enormous variety of natural habitats. Everything from our globally significant boreal forest, which stretches from one side of the province to the other, to the extraordinary sand dune ecosystems that make up some of our favourite provincial parks.
Globally, this variety of life – our biosphere – is under enormous stress. The loss of biodiversity is a real problem here in Ontario too. Habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, unsustainable harvesting, and pollution are all problems.
But many of these problems have solutions, it’s just a matter of making it a priority to tackle them head-on.
Our last Environmental Protection Report looked at some of these challenges, and the things that the Ontario government can do to move us forward in conserving our province’s biodiversity:
- Managing and Using Fire in Ontario’s Northern Forests;
- Invasive Species Management in Ontario; and
- Wildlife Declines in Ontario.
A big need that we have in Ontario is better biodiversity monitoring. You can't manage or protect what you don't measure or know about, and for many species the government simply isn't keeping track.
Conserving biodiversity is a cornerstone of Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights. Our office has been holding the government to account on this critical issue for many years – if you’d like to learn more, you can find a collection of some of the most important issues here.