The Last Wilderness Landscape in Southern Ontario
The Land Between bioregion extends from Simcoe County and southern Parry Sound across the highlands to the Ottawa Valley. It is one of 15 Community Nominated Priority Places in Canada.
The region is home to 57 federally listed Species at Risk such as the little brown bat, turtles at risk, rare birds, snakes at risk and the five lined skink; and is a final refuge for many common yet disappearing species as well such moose, black bear, loons, and river otters.
The Land Between is one of the only intact landscapes left in southern Ontario as it spans the province. Within this landscape, you will find the highest habitat diversity, the highest density of wetlands, lakes and rivers, and the most rock barrens. These habitats are found in an undulating pattern from high to low and wet to dry, and this patchwork creates a braided belt of resilience that allows for species' adaptations and continuing ecological services to benefit all of southern Ontario, during climate change.
As part of the Community Nominated Priority Places initiatives, supported by Environment Canada and Climate Change, The Land Between charity has been hard at work to create and deliver a strategic action plan for species recovery and conservation in this globally rare and unique area!
Natural Splendor & Rich Cultural Heritage
When traveling in Ontario, you will encounter large ecosystems such as the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Canadian Shield, and the Boreal Forest. But what lies between these areas? At the edge an ecosystem is what ecologists call an "ecotone": an area of transition containing elements from the ecosystems it borders, but having features that are entirely unique. The Land Between is an ecotone - a region between the Shield and Lowlands stretching across south-central Ontario from Georgian Bay to the Frontenac Arch. It runs parallel to, but just north of Highway #7. This landscape is less rugged than the near-north, but not as flat and arable as the south. Look further and see the landscape undulating in patterns of low to high and wet to dry. It has an abundance of glittering small lakes, rivers, and wetlands between open granite ridges and limestone plains, few roads, small dispersed communities, and scattered farm lands between shaded woods. This landscape has the highest percentage of shorelines, the only rock barrens in the province, the majority populations of reptiles, overlapping species ranges. What you are seeing is The Land Between! Rare alvars and savannahs, fens and meadow marshes are found here. It is a meeting ground and at the northern limit for many species such as White Oak, Woodchuck, Chorus Frog and the Common Crow. At the same time, it is the southern limit for other species such as Grey Wolf, Moose, River Otter, American Raven, and the Common Loon. Unique species mainly associated with The Land Between include Five-lined Skink, Ontario’s only lizard, Golden Winged Warbler , Whippoorwill, and majority populations of rare turtles, reptiles and amphibians. The resources and diversity of the region provide key services and shelter today that may be vital in the future. However, the limited soils, with abundant shores, and starker climate make the region extremely sensitive and disturbance here is far-reaching and long-lasting.
The Land Between is also rich in culture and heritage. It is the territory of a thriving and sophisticated Nation of the Anishinaabeg and now it is also a meeting place of Great Nations of the Anishnaabeg, Wendatt, and Haudenashaunee. Early European Settlers had to be creative to survive and thrive with limited spaces for agriculture. The Land Between includes part of a major historic and current navigation route: the Trent Severn Waterway. It is a modern mix of urban and wilderness. Its economy is based on the natural capital but also on creativity and diversity. It is a natural wonder, an outdoor enthusiasts paradise, a place of ancient stories, and of new adventures. It is the home of the canoe, of kids camps, of visible night skies, and with a vibrant culture of First Nations, innovative settlers, entrepreneurs and artists.
The region's boundary was determined by measuring biological and ecological diversity in Ontario, physical and geographical changes, and validated by the unique cultural and historical features found here.