The Nature Conservancy of Canada has partnered with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to conduct a GIS-based analysis to identify areas on the landscape that, if conserved, would ensure the long-term success of the native species, habitats and ecosystems in the Great Lakes ecoregion. This project is the first entire watershed analysis of the landscape, biodiversity values, extent of natural heritage values and conservation priorities, undertaken to assess and to identify the gaps in representation of ecological systems and rare species in Ontario’s protected areas. Although the southern Ontario landscape has been dramatically altered, the Canadian Shield portion of Ontario’s Great Lakes ecoregion contains some of the largest and most intact natural landscapes. By incorporating our bestscientific knowledge, repeatable methods and reasonable consensus, biodiversity targets and their conservation goals were applied to locate the areas that best meet these goals. We used digital Forest Resource Inventory (FRI) data to create digital spatial mapping of ecological systems for the Canadian Shield portion of the Great Lakes ecoregion. A literature review of natural disturbance regimes and the habitat requirements of wide-ranging mammals informed the design of a spatial model to identify the best representative examples of these ecological systems within each ecodistrict.
- Bonnie L. Henson, Kara E. Brodribb, and John L. Riley