September's issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine, the magazine of the American Society of Landscape Architects, includes a lengthy feature on the declining health of Toronto's ravine system. The story is told largely through the eyes of Eric Davies, a PhD candidate in the Daniels Faculty's forestry program who is documenting—and attempting to reverse—the encroachment of invasive species upon the city's forests.
Working with the Toronto Ravine Revitalization Study, a coalition of local conservationists, Davies has watched with dismay as non-native species like Norway maple, Japanese knotweed, and dog-strangling vine have colonized Toronto's ravines, crowding out native species like trillium, Ontario's official floral emblem. The shift in the complexion of the city's plant life has had knock-on effects for animals.
In the article, Davies criticizes the city of Toronto's incremental steps towards forest conservation. "I think in many ways this approach is akin to fiddling while Rome burns," he told Landscape Architecture. "What we need is adaptive management, to find management protocols to fix the problem, and to collect data on the management actions, to evaluate the data, and update the management actions."
Also quoted in the article is Alissa North, an associate professor in landscape architecture at the Daniels Faculty. "There's an urgent need to act," she told the magazine. "We need the right canopy cover and species diversity."