Forest Protection at RBG

The Nature Sanctuaries at Royal Botanical Gardens are home too 400 hectares (1,000 acres) of forest ecosystem with over 70 species of trees.

forest ravine with light shining through the trees

Forested Properties

Forest areas represent about one third of the property and are focused to the many ravines that lead to the coastal marshes. Much of this is old growth Carolinian forest and as such consists off very large trees, particularly Red and White Oak with a rich diversity of rare species in the understory. In total 65 tree species are native with numerous others planted. The most common species are Red Oak, Black Cherry, and Red Maple. The oldest trees found are white cedars found along the escarpment face at Rock Chapel.

Heritage Trees

Threats and Projects

A long history of adjacent land use changes, air and water pollution, and introduced diseases are causing a gradual decline in forest health. The biggest threat to the forest ecosystem currently is Eurasian invasive plant species. Ongoing projects to remove invasive plants are focused in the old growth ravines of the Special Protection Areas and volunteer events occur multiple times per year. Other threats to the forest include slope failures due to unstable creek flows, a result of impervious surface urban runoff further worsened by intense rainstorms of climate change, and an unbalanced food web due to a lack of amphibians (impaired wetlands), introduced earthworms, and unbalanced wildlife populations.

trees in churchill park in the fall

Churchill Park Renovation Project

On the south side of Cootes Paradise a significant project to improve forest health is underway at Churchill Park.

Learn More (pdf)

PLEASE NOTE: the document linked above is a very large pdf


Heritage TreesSpecial Protection Areas (pdf)State of Cootes Paradise South Shore (pdf)2018 Review of Hendrie Valley (pdf)
Island in Cootes ParadiseIsland in Cootes Paradise

Support Conservation at RBG

These conservation projects are possible thanks to the generous support of RBG Members and donors. With a donation to Growing up Green, you can ensure an active, vibrant and healthy future for the children of today and tomorrow through our horticultural and conservation projects.

Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is the largest botanical garden in Canada, a National Historic Site, and registered charitable organization with a mandate to bring together people, plants and nature.

Experience the Nature Sanctuaries

There are lots of ways to get in touch with nature in a manner that is respectful to the species who call them home! Join us for a hike, a paddle, or see what's turning up in the fishway!

blue bird on a branch


Royal Botanical Gardens provides easy access to some of the most diverse birding in Ontario.

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RBG ecologist holding out net with fish to visitors


See the marsh and its inhabitants from a new perspective as your guide leads you from one shore of Cootes Paradise to another.

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RBG ecologist holding out net with fish to visitors


Located at the mouth of the Desjardins Canal, RBG's Fishway is protecting native species and their wetland habitats.

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