Biodiversity encourages ecological stability, regenerative capability and resistance to disturbance. The Park is also highly significant for its diversity of species, community composition, habitat niches, moisture gradients, community structure, successional states and community interspersion.
Rouge Park has more than:
- 762 plant species, including 6 which are nationally rare and 92 which are regionally rare.
- 225 bird species, 5 of which are nationally rare breeding birds and 4 other breeding birds of special concern as well as numerous locally rare, area-sensitive raptor and colonial birds
- 55 fish species, 2 of which are nationally vulnerable
- 27 mammal species, some are locally rare
- 19 reptile and amphibian species, some are locally rare
Flora and Fauna
Many of the vegetation communities are the best examples of these features for the district, such as the Park's lakeshore marshes, riverside meadows, several oak and pine forest types and the valley terraces dominated by Black Maple forests.
The Park is at the northern edge of the eastern deciduous forest region, also known as the Carolinian life zone. This zone is rare in Canada, covering less than 1% of the country's land mass, and it provides habitat to more species than any other life zone in Canada. In 1984, the Rouge River valley was identified as one of 38 critical unprotected sites; fortunately the Park was created 11 years later and now protects these important habitats.
Numerous significant plant and animal species and communities are near their northern limits on the south-facing, warm slopes close to Lake Ontario, which significantly moderates the local climate. On the steep, cool north-facing slopes, and in perched tableland swamps away from the lake, more northern species and communities occur. The Park is also significant within the region as a very important wintering ground and stop-over area for migrants.