Nature-based solutions through marginal farmland naturalization in Southern Ontario at the subfield scale
The proposed project will assess the potential for converting many small patches of farmland to natural habitat. In particular, it will assess both the ecological effectiveness and the economic feasibility of such land restoration. It will map unproductive patches of land within fields where soybean is grown, across all of Southern Ontario, using a combination of in?field observations and satellite images. It will then simulate taking those patches of land out of production, and estimate the resulting impact on biodiversity (population, habitat connectedness), on biodiversity benefits to farmers, and on farmer profits. Simultaneously, it will establish a dialogue between farmers, conservation practitioners, and researchers, to integrate farmers’ experience and preferences into the proposed restoration strategy, and provide them with tools for carrying out such restoration. This will help the Canadian Wildlife Federation to design a strategy for scaling up its work on land restoration, and habitat creation for Monarch butterflies.