Granite barrens are generally naturally open habitats consisting of exposed granite rock. Two
although never entirely barren hosting a range of scattered trees, shrubs and grassy areas, area is
dominant in bare rock with lichen and moss throughout.
Significant Plant Species in Conservation
16 provincially rare species are present along with 29 regionally rare plants. In addition to the
rare species of dry sites, the barren landscapes contain rare coastal plain elements, most of which
are wetland plants. There remain few detailed reports on the rare plant species of barren landscapes
with little to no expansion on the unique characteristics within the Kaladar Jack Pine Barrens, or
surrounding barrens for that matter over the last 20 years. The last SCI for the Kaladar Jack Pine
Barrens was in 2001 and will be noted below in the references.
Significant Animals in Conservation
The five-lined skink is Ontario’s only native species of lizard. 80% of occurrences with the rare
five-lined skink are on granite barrens in Ontario. Similarly, the rare black rat snake has most of
its Ontario localities within the granite rock barrens. Several butterflies are specifically
confinied to the Ontario rock barrens such as the olympia mablewing, chryxus arctic, and the rare
The prairie warbler is an extremely rare bird in Canada where there are likely less than 300 pairs.
In Ontario, more than 80% of prairie warblers are in protected granite barrens.
Continued Research Needed
Researchers have largely neglected the flora and fauna on dry granite rock barrens in Ontario.
Fortunately, the protection of the Kaladar Jack Pine Barrens was brought forth in 1994. While
studying and learning from this property, more can be done to protect similar ecosystems elsewhere
in the world. An understanding of the significance of granite rock barrens was so incomplete that
there was no research aimed at determining the effect of spraying bacillus thuringensis on the
community as a whole, either prior to or during the spray program to control gypsy moth. This a
lamentable situation considering current world commitments to the protection of biodiversity.
Research is essential with regards to potential influences such as the construction of dams and the
limitations of on natural water level fluctuations, as well as spraying to control insects. Apart
from the research essential to effectively manage barrens landscapes, there are promising opportunities
involving evolution of specialized ecotypes, drought tolerance, environmental monitoring and comparison
with better-studied nonglaciated sites further south.
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources provided funds to conduct biological inventories and
evaluations of several granite barrens in the past. These studies included T. Norris who supervised
the studies. T. Scar of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and D. Lafontaine of Agriculture
Canada provided information on the management of the barrens for blueberry production. S. Porebski
of Agriculture Canada prepared the distribution map.
With an ambitious environmental team of field professionals and students in 2022, we aim to expand
on the research to date while improving important knowledge of barrens and ecosystems.
- P.M Catling and V.R. Brownell, The Flora and Ecology of Southern Ontario Granite Barrenns
- Kaladar Jack Pine Barrens Conservation Reserve Management Statement, 2001
- Argus, G.W. et al, Atlas of the Rare Vascular Plants of Ontario, Parts 1- 4. Botany Division, National Museum of Natural Sciences, Ottawa, 1982- 1987.
- Brownell, V. R., A Biological Inventory and Evaluation of the Kaladar Jack Pine Barrens ANSI, Tweed: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1994.
- Davidson, R. J. A Framework for the Conservation of Ontario’s Earth Science Features. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Division of Parks, 1981.
- Easton, R. M. The Grenville Province and the Proterozoic History of Central and Southern Ontario: in Geology of Ontario, Ontario Geological Survey, Special Volume 4, Part 2, p. 714 – 904. Toronto: Queen’s Printer, 1992.
- Lyciuk, L.Y., Kaladar Jack Pine Forest – Life Science Inventory Checksheet. Kempville: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1976.
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Tweed District Land Use Guidelines. Tweed: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1983.
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Procedural Guideline A – Resource Management Planning (PL Procedure 3.03.05), 1997 as amended by the Ontario’s Living Legacy Land Use Strategy , 1999.
- White, D. J., Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest in Site District 6E-10. Kempville: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 1993.