Designing Natural Heritage Systems in southern Ontario Canada for long term protection of natural areas on the landscape

Authors: Carolyn DeLoyde*, University of Toronto, Warren Edward Mabee, Queen's University
Topics: Planning Geography, Environment, Land Use
Keywords: Natural Heritage Systems, planning, cities, landscapes, natural areas
Session Type: Virtual Guided Poster
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 53
Presentation File: Download



Natural areas and the functions they provide with regard to human wellbeing are of critical importance, and must be protected and enhanced to remain on the landscape in perpetuity. The Province of Ontario, Canada has identified planning for Natural Heritage Systems as a provincial interest within the Provincial Policy Statement, issued under the Ontario Planning Act. Environmental planning has evolved toward a landscape-level approach, incorporating the development and use of Natural Heritage Systems as an essential step in long-term environmental planning to identify, delineate and protect natural areas and features on the landscape in perpetuity. The delineation of an Natural Heritage System designed to maintain ecosystem function and ecological integrity is informed by the use of land cover mapping provided by the Province. Natural Heritage Systems identified by planning authorities enable planning authorities to make land use decisions compatible with natural processes. A southern Ontario case study of the development of an interconnected system of core natural areas and linkage corridors identified as a Natural Heritage System is presented. The process of developing the Natural Heritage System is discussed. The incorporation of the Natural Heritage System in to the Official Plan for one of the fastest growing urban municipalities in Canada is presented.

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