Situated in the spectacular rolling terrain of Western Newfoundland, the 729 km2 Little Grand Lake Provisional Ecological Reserve protects extensive bogs and barrens, as well as mature boreal forest that is prime habitat for the endangered Newfoundland marten (COSEWIC, 2000).
The reserve's borders were designed to capture specific ecosystems-making it the province's first true ecosystem ecological reserve-and also provide the highest level of protection to the marten habitat at its core.
Little Grand Lake Provisional Ecological Reserve is one of three protected areas surrounding Little Grand Lake. The other two are the Little Grand Lake Wildlife Reserve (569 km2) and the Glover Island Public Reserve (178 km2). These reserves extend the area of Newfoundland marten habitat under protection, and provide buffers against the effects of any human activity that would be harmful to the marten's recovery.
The Little Grand Lake Provisional Ecological Reserve completes the protection of representative portions of three natural regions:
The biologically important ecotone areas where these ecoregions overlap are also included inside the three-reserve system. The area provides habitat for a number of plant and animal species, including woodland caribou that frequent the bogs, ribbed fens, and barrens habitats (in the Buchan's Plateau-Topsail subregion).
One of only 13 native land mammals inhabiting the Island, the Newfoundland marten is in the same family as the weasel, mink, and ferret. Marten thrive in mature, closed-canopy forest, a habitat type that is disappearing from the Island portion of the province. The total Newfoundland marten population in the province is estimated to be around 300 animals. The forests within the Little Grand Lake reserve system are home to the largest remaining core population of Newfoundland marten on the Island.
The Little Grand Lake Provisional Ecological Reserve was legally established in 2002, after a long history of interest in and concern about the area and its wildlife. The wildlife and public reserves were also created in 2002.
Public consultations on a draft management plan were held in February, 2004. The Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Advisory Council summarized the public comments and provided recommendations to Government in January, 2005. These are currently under review.
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