Most of the Hamilton area outside our towns and cities is rural.
Like urban areas, rural areas are mainly human environments and
both fragment the natural landscape. Our local rural landscapes
are much more variable than in other parts of Ontario because of
the moderate local climate and local topography.
is the shape of the surface of the land, for example hilly
landscapes are a mixture of natural areas, farms and towns. The
major crops grown locally include corn, soybeans and grains but
also fruits and vegetables such as apples, strawberries and squash.
There are specialty crops like wine grapes and ginseng being grown
locally and Hamilton is also home to dairy and cattle farms. All
of these farms have one thing in common: rural habitats are not
very diverse; in many cases they are monocultures, like the tomato
field. Photo by Alan Ernst.
are areas where only one plant is being cultivated.
do not make very good wildlife habitat for this reason. Actively
farmed rural areas do not attract very many species and those that
are attracted to them are considered undesirable. These plants and
animals are actively discouraged or prevented because they will
damage the crop. Often there is considerable pesticide and fertiliser
use in rural environments, however, there are more pesticide-free
(usually called 'organic') farms every year. So how do rural landscapes
provide habitat for wildlife?
farmed areas are habitats in use by wildlife because rural areas
include both farms and natural features, and because fields are
not always being used.