Deforestation at Tommy Thompson Park: solutions for urban double-crested cormorant disturbance

Authors: Daniellle Marcoux-Hunter*, Ryerson University, Andrew Millward, Ryerson University
Topics: Environmental Science
Keywords: urban forestry, double-crested cormorant, Tommy Thompson Park, restoration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor


This paper examines the relationship between double-crested cormorants and urban deforestation at Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The park is located on a man-made spit, providing habitat for colonial waterbirds to nest along Lake Ontario’s shoreline. Double-crested cormorant colonization resulted in the deforestation of the western edge of the park. This deforestation is an emerging problem for Toronto; the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is constantly updating its cormorant management techniques and searching for recommendations. The focal area for this study is Peninsula C, an 8.12-hectare area of the park that is experiencing severe degradation due to consecutive years of cormorant nesting in its’ early-successional tree species. This study analyzes the current ecological conditions on Peninsula C and aims to use these results to provide restoration recommendations to the TRCA. By following a systemic sampling approach using a 30 x 30 m grid, this study will use geospatial interpolation to create a continuous prediction surface of ecological conditions across the peninsula. The interpolation results will be analyzed with classical statistics in the form of an ANOVA using a sub-selection of sample points in order to define whether cormorants are having a significant difference on soil quality and composition at the site. Finally, statistical results will be paired with ground-observations and international cormorant management examples in order to recommend steps that can be taken to restore soils, improve tree canopy, and promote the maturation of the forest while consecutively deterring the spread of cormorant nests in the park.

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