Simply put, the rare Charitable Research Reserve is more than an impressive collection of plants and animals. The species diversity of rare is significant for one-third of the plants of Waterloo Region are found here together with 70% of the birds, 60% of the amphibians and reptiles and 50% of the mammals. As well, about two dozen species of fish inhabit the rivers and streams of rare. This diversity reflects its location along the boundary formed by the Carolinian forest zone of southern Ontario with the Northern Hardwood forest zone of the province.
What makes rare of special significance to Waterloo Region, is that its 900+ acres encompasses many of the habitats that occur along this imaginary forest zone boundary. Habitat diversity – the variety of places where life exists – makes species diversity possible because each kind of habitat is home to a number of species, many of which are dependent upon a particular kind of habitat. Should a habitat disappear, many species that live in that habitat, disappear too. A habitat seldom disappears entirely or all at once but rather it is “nibbled” away until only small fragments remain. Most importantly, rare exhibits significant ecosystem diversity. Unlike a zoo, plants and animals live in natural biological communities in old-growth forest, the riparian zone, a vertical cliff face, a wetland or an old field. These biological communities are associations of interacting species that are cornerstones of biodiversity living within ecosystem structures and underlying ecosystem functions that dictate the components of each ecosystem. At rare we are committed to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in its many forms – species, habitat and ecosystem.
Experiencing the biodiversity of rare will take patience – at times – as well as well-developed observation skills and return visits in early morning, late afternoon, each season… and over years.
– Photo by Amanda Newell