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How to minimize the negative impact of our presence on Mount Royal’s biodiversity?
Our mountain is a refuge and habitat for more than 60 species of trees, 600 herbaceous species, close to 20 species of mammals, 2 species of amphibians and 2 species of reptiles, more than 180 species of birds, not to mention the 5 million human beings who visit Mount Royal Park annually. How can we make sure everyone lives together, while ensuring that human activity does not threaten the integrity of the natural environment of Mount Royal?
Les amis de la montagne shares with you three easy tips on what you should and shouldn’t do on your next visit to help conserve our beloved mountain’s biodiversity.
1. Do Not Feed Wild Animals
As we explained in a previous article about Mount Royal’s raccoons, feeding wild animals is harmful for their health, in addition to generating a dependency on humans. Birds are good examples of animals which can suffer from a contact with humans. Bread, for example, is nutritionally inadequate for birds’ and ducks’ natural diet. Because of the starch it contains, regular consumption over a long period of time can cause a disability in birds which attacks the last joint of their wings, preventing the bird from flying to escape a predator or to migrate in winter.
2. Avoid Walking Off-Trail
Walking off-trail is one of the factors that causes soil erosion and the degradation of the forest’s vegetation. Mount Royal’s popularity led to the creation of numerous informal pathways following the repeated passage of visitors, reducing the vegetation wealth.
Some plants can lie dormant as a rhizome, an underground stem, and can be hidden under leaves. If you walk on a Bloodroot rhizome, for example, a plant that takes 2 to 3 years before producing a flower, you could undermine its survival.
To avoid promoting erosion and soil degradation and trampling beautiful plants, which contribute to the biodiversity of Mount Royal:
3. Gather your garbage and throw them in the appropriate place
In order to reduce the impact of human activity on Mount Royal’s natural habitat, minimize your environmental footprint on the mountain. Dispose of your waste and hot ashes in the appropriate containers provided for that purpose.
Hot ashes scattered on the soil are not only dangerous for other visitors in the park, they can also cause severe burns to the tree roots and bark and increase the risk of grass fires. For trash, even if it is “biodegradable”, it may take several months to decompose. In addition of posing a risk for the health of wild animals, which can develop infections and stomach injuries when they eat trash, trash has a negative visual impact on Mount Royal’s landscape and the quality of the visitor’s experience.
Les amis de la montagne encourages you to enjoy the richness of Mount Royal’s nature while respecting it. Remember: a simple and innocent gesture can have significant negative impacts when repeated by thousands, or even millions of visitors. So on your next visit, be a friend to the mountain and do your part in making sure this incredible green space stays beautiful for generations to come!