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Ecological health is important to ensuring our region is livable and sustainable. In 2011, there were over 181,000 hectares of sensitive and important modified ecosystems in the region. These natural areas offer environmental benefits such as cleaner water and more abundant biodiversity, as well as offering recreation and healthy lifestyle opportunities, often at a lower cost than built infrastructure. In parts of the region, important natural ecosystems are thriving. However, in the more urbanized Regional Core many have been lost, and what remains is often fragmented and in poorer condition, reducing the ecosystem services provided.
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