Natural Heritage Features Mapping: Challenges and Best Practices

This study examines the process by which natural heritage features are mapped and communicated to the public by municipalities.

Jul 06, 2016   •   Ecosystem services, Research

The Greenbelt's Natural System provides a continuous and permanent land base, necessary to support human and ecological health. As part of implementing the Natural System, it is necessary to map specific natural heritage features (NHF), such as wetlands and forests. The Greenbelt Foundation undertook this study to examine the process by which NHF are mapped and communicated to the public. Communication of NHFs typically is undertaken by municipalities in response to issues raised by stakeholders who were concerned about mapping inaccuracies for the Natural System. This report documents the complexity of NHF mapping, the challenges with data collection, mapping, and documenting NHF, and provides recommendations to address these issues. Recommendations include:

  • Standardizing language and data collection methodologies
  • Ensuring use of appropriate technology and expertise
  • Better coordination between mapping agencies
  • Providing municipalities and conversation authorities with additional resources, like funding and guidance
  • Providing an improved process for involving the public in NHF mapping
  • Establishing simple processes for correcting maps
  • Improved mapping of NHF continues to be relevant as municipalities refine provincial mapping of the Natural System.

pdf-icon.pngNatural Heritage Features Mapping: Challenges and Best Practices (480KB)

This study examines the process by which natural heritage features are mapped and communicated to the public by municipalities.