Current Research and Reports:

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation has a number of ongoing research projects. If you have any questions or feedback we'd love to hear from you. 

Call for Proposals:  Examining the Role of Green Infrastructure and the Greenbelt’s Urban River Valleys in Building Resilience to Climate Change and the Impacts of Extreme Heat

The Greenbelt is 2 million acres of protected farmland and natural systems in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area. In 2016, 21 Urban River Valleys were added to the Greenbelt. These vital natural connectors link Lake Ontario to the Greenbelt’s regional natural heritage system. They are also important green infrastructure community assets, with 4 million people living within 2 km of one of the 21 URVs, and benefiting from the many ecological goods and services they provide.

The focus of this project is examining how the URVs help build resiliency in urban communities to the impacts of climate change, by examining their role during extreme heat events. The highly vegetated sections of URVs create significantly cooler air temperatures compared to those in densely built up areas of the cities, which experience the urban heat island effect. Given the negative health consequences associated with extreme heat, the URVs provide important climate adaption capacity in the form of heat refuge and a consistent supply of cooler air to nearby neighbourhoods.

The Greenbelt Foundation is commissioning this project to identify opportunities to help reduce the risk of illness and mortality during extreme heat events through the strategic use of green infrastructure and URVs. The results of this work should be informative for municipal and community climate adaptation / resiliency planning across the region, and provide specific recommendations for the two case study communities.

Download full RFP HERE. The deadline for proposals is 4:00 PM on Friday April 26, 2019

Greenbelt Soils

Soil is one of the highest priority issues globally and locally for climate change mitigation and a sustainable food system. Soil health is essential to the long-term viability of farming – and our food system – and to local water quality and quantity. Increasing soil carbon not only removes carbon from the atmosphere, but also increases agricultural yields, improves flood mitigation and reduces run-off into water systems. The Foundation is working on two research projects during 2018 to further the goal of improving soil health in the Greenbelt

Erin Soil Health Coalition

The Soil Health Coaltion has brought together a cross section of Erin farmers to launch a collaborative pilot program to improve soil health and water quality in the Greenbelt. With funding support from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, the Soil Health Coalition is inviting farmers to work with one another to share their knowledge of soil management approaches and measure results. The project is also recruiting citizen scientists to help with soil testing. For more information visit: or contact

Soil Health Farmer Case Studies in the Greenbelt

Later this year will be collect the stories of farmers in the Greenbelt who are demonstrating leadership on the issue of soil health. Further information will follow soon.

Agriculture Profile for the Greenbelt 

We are currently updating the profile based on the 2016 Agricultural Census. The resulting report will feature research conducted by the University of Guelph’s Dr. Wayne Caldwell and Sara Epp on farmland loss since 2000.  

Stay tuned for more information!

Green Infrastructure Guide for Small Communities

Green infrastructure encompasses a broad range of natural vegetative systems and green technologies that provide a variety of economic, environmental and social benefits to communities. It offers a framework for downtown and streetscape revitalization, trail network expansions, and outdoor recreation, all of which can help attract businesses, services, and new residents.

The Foundation recently published a Green Infrastructure Guide with the Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition. The purpose of the Guide is to support small cities, towns and rural settlements to integrate green infrastructure within their communities. Widespread use of green infrastructure can be cost-effective in controlling stormwater, lowering the risk of flooding, removing pollutants, and reducing sedimentation in Greenbelt waterways. These are all critical factors in improving water quality and building resilience to climate change.

If you want to learn more about green infrastructure or about how to take action against flooding in your community see our Green Infrastructure page.

Roll out of Valuing Natural Capital Report

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is disseminating the results of our recent study, Ontario’s Good Fortune: Appreciating the Value of the Greenbelt’s Natural Assets, to various stakeholders via social media and targeted workshops. We are keen to hear from organizations that are applying these report findings in their own local context.

You can also see the presentations from our recent natural capital workshop on our Workshops page.

Current Collaborations:

EcoHealth Ontario

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is a member and proud supporter of EcoHealth Ontario. EcoHealth Ontario is made up of a collection of health practitioners, planners, academics, researchers, educators and many more, committed to sharing information, developing the science, exploring the research and kick-starting the discussion on the important connections between the environment and our own well being.

You can find out more about EHO by visiting their website.

During the summer of 2018, the Foundation is hosting a student from the Sustainability Network Ecological Economist Fellowship (SNEEF) program with York University. The student will work with the EHO Research Working Group to determine how to determine the financial benefits of green space that are typically not valued in the economy.


For more information contact: Tom Bowers,

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