EBAR Range Mapping


NatureServe Canada's Ecosystem-based automated range maps (EBAR) initiative is developing publicly accessible range maps for priority species.  The objectives of the project are to develop national range maps that:

1) incorporate the best available species occurrence information
2) can be reviewed and refined by species experts in an ongoing and efficient manner
3) provide access to reference information of the underlying occurrence data
4) are publicly available at no charge
5) are provided in an electronic format that permits efficient customization and integration by biodiversity experts, organizations and decision-makers

To access published EBAR maps please click HERE.  Ranges are available in PDF format or as a geospatial data package with associated metadata. We will continue to update the list of available EBAR maps as they are completed.

EBAR Range Mapping Project Overview

EBAR maps combine biodiversity data with expert knowledge to populate ecoshapes (which are ecoregions, ecodistricts or similar ecological land classifications) with species presence information.  Each ecoshape is associated with a set of references for the species information providing transparency regarding the underlying data.

NatureServe Canada’s “North American terrestrial ecoshapes mosaic” for EBAR mapping. Each ecoshape of an EBAR map contains accessible reference information documenting the decision on whether the species is known to be present, presence expected or historical, in a given ecoshape ((basemap: Esri and partners).

NatureServe Canada EBAR maps support priority programs such as environmental impact assessments, status assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), Species At Risk Act recovery action plans, the identification of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) and provincial and territorial Species at Risk programs and legislation.  

EBAR Workflow

Species "Data Mining”

Accurate range maps require the best available species data. EBAR maps incorporate species occurrence information from Conservation Data Centres, provincial, territorial and federal governments, citizen science platforms and digital biodiversity data resources (e.g., GBIF, iNaturalist), academia, non-governmental organizations, industry, species experts and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).

We are currently focused on data mining and EBAR mapping for:
1) Species that are priorities for status assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and Species At Risk Act recovery action plans. To access this list please click HERE.
2) Priority species for the Canada Key Biodiversity Areas program (i.e., KBA Trigger Species) To access this list please click HERE.

If you are aware of data sources for these species please contact us at:  EBAR-KBA@natureserve.ca, or complete this SURVEY.

Data Management

Project data is be stored on a secure Canadian cloud-based Microsoft Azure server. An ArcGIS Enterprise Server manages access to the EBAR database, facilitate data analysis using a variety of tools and provides the foundation for the EBAR Reviewer online tool.  Data is archived to support future review of project decisions and analyses. 

“Automated” Range Map Generation

The next step in EBAR project workflow is to populate the ecoshapes mosaic (i.e., ecoregions, ecodistricts or similar ecological land classifications) with species presence information (e.g., present, presence expected, historical) using the mined data. Repeatable GIS-based routines (python scripts) are employed to facilitate and automate this process as much as possible.

Draft EBAR map for Gypsy Cuckoo Bumble Bee (“automated” mapping phase).  The dots show where occurrence information in a specific ecoshape were documented. The next step is to have experts review and refine the map.

Expert Review

Expert review is critical to fill in data gaps of the “automated” EBAR maps, particularly for lesser known and rare species. Scientific, traditional and other expert knowledge holders are recruited to review/refine the “auto-generated” EBAR maps based on additional data they may have and/or their on-the-ground knowledge. The EBAR Reviewer online app allows experts to engage in this process in an efficient and secure manner.

There are two EBAR Reviewer training videos that describe key functions of the app and instructions for conducting reviews. More detailed information can be accessed in the EBAR Reviewer training manual that is provided to expert reviewers.

If you are interested in participating as an expert reviewer please contact us at:  EBAR-KBA@natureserve.ca, or complete this SURVEY to provide information on additional data sources for EBAR priority species and/or your availability to offer expert review to improve EBAR ranges.

Data Publishing

NatureServe Canada makes EBAR maps publicly available online at no cost. Species ranges are available in PDF format or as a geospatial data package with associated metadata (which facilitate customization and integration into standard GIS tools).  EBAR species ranges are available on our EBAR maps download page, the NatureServe Explorer platform (under the Distribution section), our Esri online app and Esri Living Atlas

NatureServe Canada EBAR map (after the expert review and refinement phase) for Rusty-patched Bumble Bee (Bombus affinis).

To learn more about NatureServe Canada's EBAR Mapping Project please contact us at:  EBAR-KBA@natureserve.ca