A landscape assessment for the Ontario Mixedwood Plains: Terrestrial biodiversity of federal interest in the Mixedwood Plains ecozone of Ontario: 2015
Table of contents
- Document information
- Executive summary
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Methods
- 3 Results
- 3.1 Geographic patterns of biodiversity in the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone
- 3.2 Regulated protected preas
- 3.3 Conservation risk index
- 3.4 Species at risk
- 3.5 Wetlands
- 3.6 Forest, grassland and open country bird habitat (nesting)
- 3.7 Migratory stopover habitat
- 3.8 Colonial nesting waterbirds
- 3.9 Relative breeding densities of Bird Conservation Region 13 priority species
- 3.10 Priority regions – key regions
- 3.11 Highest-scoring regions overview
- 3.12 An example of program investment: The distribution of Canadian Wildlife Service conservation Incentive programs in the ecozone
- 4 Discussion
- 5 Acknowledgements
- 6 Bibliography
- Appendix A: Land cover and conservation
- Appendix B: Priority bird species
About the Canadian Wildlife Service
Environment Canada's Canadian Wildlife Service is responsible for wildlife matters that are related to species of federal concern. This includes protection and management of migratory birds as well as nationally significant wildlife habitat, endangered species, control of international trade in endangered species and applied science on wildlife issues of national importance.
For more information, contact:Environment Canada
Canadian Wildlife Service
4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto ON M3H 5T4
Canadian Wildlife Service publications are available online at the following URL: [TBD]
May be cited as:
Environment Canada. 2014. Terrestrial Biodiversity of Federal Interest in the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone of Ontario. Environment Canada, Toronto, Ontario.
This report is based upon:
G. Bryan,i A. Hebb,ii K. Holmesi and D. Kraus.ii Federal Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation in the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone of Ontario. Unpublished. October 2011
i Canadian Wildlife Service, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3H 5T4
ii Nature Conservancy of Canada, RR#5, 5420 Highway 6 North, Guelph, Ontario N1H 6J2
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Front cover photos: TBD
The purpose of the Terrestrial Biodiversity of Federal Interest in the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone of Ontario report and accompanying maps is to identify landscapes or regions in the Ontario Mixedwood Plains Ecozone that have multiple and overlapping federal biodiversity elements, and to identify areas where conservation actions may have the greatest impact. Environment Canada is obligated to report, monitor, manage and conserve particular wildlife and habitat elements of terrestrial biodiversity under legislated mandates, policies and international agreements. These include the Species at Risk Act,the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the Canada Wildlife Act, the Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (i.e., the Ramsar convention)and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Collectively, these represent Environment Canada's terrestrial wildlife and habitat biodiversity portfolio. Multiple programs are in place to support these mandates, policies and agreements, such as supporting international designations (e.g., Ramsar sites), protecting key areas for birds (e.g., Migratory Bird Sanctuaries), facilitating conservation of key habitats (e.g., Ecological Gifts) and funding projects that protect and help recover species at risk (e.g., Habitat Stewardship Program).
This project provides information across the landscape at two resolutions: Tier 1 and Tier 2. The Tier 1 assessment looks at the biodiversity portfolio at the ecozone level, while Tier 2 assesses and maps the biodiversity portfolio at the level of physiographic region and breeding bird atlas grid squares. The mapping includes species at risk, wetlands, breeding birds and habitats for migratory birds. The relative importance of each physiographic region was assessed based on the terrestrial elements of biodiversity that exist within its boundary, and finer resolution maps for each physiographic region were produced to illustrate the distribution and abundance of priority migratory bird species and their potential stopover habitat.
By looking at how all the parts of its biodiversity portfolio are distributed across the landscape, Environment Canada is able to see the spatial distribution of its terrestrial wildlife and habitat mandate as a whole. The biodiversity elements vary in concentration and richness across the Ontario Mixedwood Plains, with a notable convergence of biodiversity along the Great Lakes coast and the Canadian Shield transition. Identifying physiographic regions with a high number of multiple and important biodiversity features--such as the Iroquois Plain, Napanee Plain, Erie Spits, Haldimand Clay Plain, St. Clair Clay Plains, Norfolk Sand Plain, Huron Fringe, Prince Edward Peninsula and Bruce Peninsula--enables Environment Canada to direct conservation efforts most efficiently. Many physiographic regions exhibit overlapping distributions of biodiversity elements, and managing resources and programs to respond to these patterns of biodiversity should result in a greater synergy of efforts and also maximize investments of time, resources and personnel. Conservation of important natural places--whether wild or cultivated--and the gaps between them allows programs and partners to work better together.
The terrestrial biodiversity portfolio
Fourteen geospatial values were used to represent the biodiversity portfolio in the Mixedwood Plains. These values were chosen as representative of the biodiversity mandate but could also be measured using relatively comprehensive, accurate, reliable and complete data sources, such as the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (Cadman et al. 2007), Canadian Wildlife Service bird surveys, and the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre.
The values used to measure biodiversity in the landscape were:
- SAR (species at risk) richness
- SAR count
- SAR irreplaceability
- Globally rare species locations
- Coastal wetland locations
- Colonial nesting waterbird locations
- Landbird stopover locations
- Shorebird stopover locations
- Waterfowl stopover locations
- Forest bird density
- Open-country bird density
- Shorebird density
- Waterbird density
- Waterfowl density
Each value was weighted equally.
Biodiversity conservation often requires the identification of priority areas so that limited resources may be most effectively allocated (Margules and Pressey 2000). Approaches such as mapping concentrations of biodiversity, or "hot-spots," has been used to direct the allocation of conservation resources, allowing society to "protect the most species per dollar invested" (Myers et al. 2000). The Australian government, for example, has identified 15 national biodiversity hot-spots--based on ecosystems, endemic species and threats--to focus conservation effort and awareness (Australian Government 2006). Similarly, South Africa developed a program to identify and fund local conservation planning and action within Key Biodiversity Areas (Knight et al. 2007). These approaches are part of a movement toward applying a landscape/ecosystem approach to conservation.
Through its landscape assessment and planning function, Environment Canada is developing its own landscape/ecosystem approach to conservation based on its mandate areas. Various pilot projects are being initiated throughout the Environment Canada regions, and this project is part of Ontario Region's commitment towards producing a landscape plan for the Ontario portion of the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone. It identifies priority biodiversity conservation areas within the Mixedwood Plains based on 14 biodiversity elements (see The Terrestrial Biodiversity Portfolio box) chosen to represent the legislation, policies and agreements that are the responsibility of Environment Canada. The project provides a coarse-resolution assessment of the biodiversity portfolio across the entire ecozone, and a medium-resolution assessment addressing physiographic regions and breeding bird atlas squares within the ecozone. These are respectively referred to as Tier 1 and Tier 2 assessments. Collectively, the Tier 1 and Tier 2 assessments identify landscapes or regions within the Ontario Mixedwood Plains that have multiple and overlapping terrestrial biodiversity elements, and where conservation efforts may have the greatest impact. This project reflects a philosophy of targeting existing areas of higher biodiversity for restoration, defragmenting and linking. Additionally, it reflects the mandate of Environment Canada to protect and conserve existing wildlife and habitats. Conversely, the results of this landscape assessment may be used to identify areas of lower biodiversity as a focus for restoration.
1.2 Terrestrial biodiversity portfolio and program responsibilities
No one agency or level of government is responsible for all elements of biodiversity. The Environment Canada terrestrial biodiversity portfolio, as delivered by its Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS), is defined in legislation and policies such as the Species at Risk Act (SARA), the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994, the Canada Wildlife Act, the Federal Policy on Wetland Conservation, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (i.e., the Ramsar convention) and the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Environment Canada also has interests and responsibilities over certain lands through the Ecological Gifts program (under the Income Tax Act), National Wildlife Areas (NWAs), Migratory Bird Sanctuaries (MBSs) and other stewardship and acquisition sites under the Habitat Stewardship Program. These responsibilities, as well as their geographic overlap, continue to grow with new and revised legislation such as SARA, the Income Tax Act and, most recently, the National Conservation Plan. The National Conservation Plan expands opportunities for partners (e.g., municipalities, environmental interest groups, hunters and anglers, landowners and community groups) to take practical actions towards conserving Canada's lands and waters, restoring Canada's ecosystems, and connecting Canadians to nature. With these changes comes a need to better integrate and apply legislative, stewardship and incentive tools to address cross-cutting mandate needs. An ecosystem approach of managing a site, a system or a region for multiple species may prove to be a more efficient and effective tool than managing species on an individual basis, particularly when they occur in the same space.
The Mixedwood Plains Ecozone
The Mixedwood Plains Ecozone includes some of the most endangered ecosystems in North America. This ecozone includes the region of Ontario south of the Canadian Shield (defined by provincial Ecological Site Districts 6E and 7E) and is over 7.5 million hectares in size. This ecozone is also known as the Southern Great Lakes Forests and Eastern Great Lakes Lowland Forests Ecoregion (Ricketts et al. 1999). It is also analogous with Bird Conservation Region 13. Within Canada, this region is bounded by Lake Ontario and extends along the shore of the St. Lawrence River to Quebec City south of the Canadian Shield; this region also extends south of Canada into Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, New York and small portions of Pennsylvania and Vermont. Approximately 49% of this region occurs in Canada. The topography ranges from extremely flat areas in the southwest and southeast to the more rugged terrain of the Niagara Escarpment. Vegetation is diverse, characterized by mixed deciduous-evergreen forests and tolerant hardwood forests, including Carolinian forests. Alvars, tallgrass prairies and savannahs also occur. Wetlands are numerous in certain areas, although many historic wetlands have been lost.
The Mixedwood Plains Ecozone has one of the highest human population densities in Canada and many of its pre-European settlement ecosystems have been converted for agriculture and urban settlement. Recreation and tourism are also major activities. In addition to land-use demands, exotic invasive species are displacing native species and altering natural ecosystem structure and function (Environment Canada 2005; Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources 2008).
2.1 Data collection and preparation
In order to develop the Tier 1 and Tier 2 assessments, various geospatial data representing the biodiversity elements were collected. An overview of the data is provided in Table 1. The Tier 1 study area--the Ontario Mixedwood Plains--was defined using provincial Ecological Site Districts 6E and 7E, and the Tier 2 study area was defined by the 53 physiographic regions within the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone (see Figure 1). All analyses and maps were produced in Lambert Conformal Conic projection, North American Datum 1983 using ArcGIS (ESRI 2008).
Table 1. Data inventory
Note: Vintage reflects the actual dataset used for analysis; there may be more current updated versions of datasets listed below.
|Migratory Bird Sanctuaries||2002||~1:50 000||Canadian Wildlife Service|
|Important Bird Areas||2004||≥ 1:50 000||Bird Studies Canada, Canadian Nature Federation|
|Ontario Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Staging Priority Areas||2007||–||Ducks Unlimited Canada|
|Ecological Gifts Program Sites||2008||–||Canadian Wildlife Service|
|Habitat Stewardship Program Sites (2003–2008)||2009||–||Canadian Wildlife Service|
|Biosphere Reserves||2005–2008||–||Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, Niagara Escarpment Commission, Long Point World Biosphere Reserve Foundation|
|National Wildlife Areas||2002||~1:50 000||Canadian Wildlife Service|
|Areas of Concern||2008||1:5 000–1:10 000||Environment Canada|
|Federal Land||2005||Various||Compiled by Canadian Wildlife Service|
|National Parks||2003||1:50 000||Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|National Marine Conservation Areas||2003||1:50 000||Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Provincial Parks||2003||1:50 000||Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Conservation Reserves||2003||1:50 000||Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Element Occurrence||2005||–||Natural Heritage Information Centre|
|Colonial Waterbird Nesting Sites||2008||–||Canadian Wildlife Service|
|Ontario Breeding Bird Atlas||2008||–||Bird Studies Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Wetland Units||2000||1:10 000||Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Evaluated Wetlands||2006||1:10 000||Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Permanent Wetland Areas/Lakes||2006||1:10 000||Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Inventory||2004||1:10 000||Environment Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System||2008||1:10 000–1:50 000||Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Provincial Land Cover||1998, 2002||25 m||Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Confirmed Alvars||1998||1:10 000||Natural Heritage Information Centre|
|Tallgrass||2004–2008||1:5 000–1:50 000||Tallgrass Ontario, Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Rivers (Water Resources Information Program Water Flow Network)||2005||1:10 000||Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|County Soil Surveys||1929–1996||1:20 000–1:250 000||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada|
|Ecological Site Districts||2006||1:10 000||Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources|
|Physiographic Regions of Ontario||2007||≤ 1:250 000||Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (based on Chapman and Putman 1984, 3rd edition)|
Regulated protected land
For purposes of this project, federally protected land was represented by the extent of National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas, NWAs and MBSs. Provincial parks and conservation reserves were added to map all federally and provincially regulated protected land within the Ontario Mixedwood Plains.
Wetland data from the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Inventory and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) (now known as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) Natural Resource Values Information System (NRVIS) were combined with the location data of permanent wetland areas (identified through OMNR's Ontario Base Mapping) to create a comprehensive wetland Geographic Information Systems (GIS) layer. The permanent wetland layer provided critical wetland information previously missing for Manitoulin Island and St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. All wetlands within 2 kilometres of the Great Lakes shoreline were considered coastal wetlands, and wetlands coinciding with Ramsar sites were classified as Ramsar wetland sites.
Land cover was compiled from the OMNR's provincial land cover database. Multi-spectral satellite imagery (Landsat Thematic Mapper) collected between 1986 and 1998 was available for the majority of the Ontario Mixedwood Plains Ecozone, and 28 different land cover classes were identified from the satellite imagery. A revised 2002 provincial land cover database, derived from satellite imagery collected between 1998 and 2002, provided additional land cover information for Manitoulin Island and St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands.
The Southern Ontario Land Resource Information System (SOLRIS) data for southern Ontario provided further land cover information to assist in distinguishing between cropland and pasture within the agricultural land class.
Land cover data were reclassified as follows:
- Wetland – freshwater coastal marsh/inland marsh, open bog, open fen
- Forested Wetland – coniferous swamp, deciduous swamp, treed bog, treed fen
- Forest – coniferous plantation, dense coniferous forest, dense deciduous forest, mixed forest mainly coniferous, mixed forest mainly deciduous, sparse coniferous forest, sparse deciduous forest
- Pasture – pasture and abandoned fields, old cuts and burns, recent cutovers
- Agriculture – cropland
- Urban – settlement and developed land, transportation
- Other – mine tailings, quarries and bedrock outcrop, cloud and shadow, unknown
The reclassified land cover data were used to identify stopover habitat for priority birds. Undeveloped land cover was defined as all natural land cover features (i.e., wetlands, forested wetlands, forest, pasture and alvar). Agricultural and forest bird habitat data consisted of all agriculture and forest features. Grassland bird stopover habitat was represented by a combination of areas classified as pasture in the land cover data with prairie, savannah and tallgrass data and the location of confirmed alvar sites.
Species at risk
Data representing species at risk and globally rare species were available as Element Occurrences from the Natural Heritage Information Centre of OMNR. Each Element Occurrence was separated (ungrouped) for further analysis.
The Ecological Gifts data were converted from generalized polygons (areas) to points. A random point within each Ecological Gift polygon was buffered by 5 kilometres and then converted back to a point for use in further analysis.
Detailed soil survey data were used to represent the hydric soils necessary for migratory bird stopover habitat models. Ewert et al. (2005) define hydric soils as those with a wet or very wet soil moisture index. As soil moisture information was not available for this project, soil drainage was used as a proxy. With the exception of eight counties, soil drainage information was available in digital format from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Soil drainage information was manually added to the soil survey information from digital copies of the original maps for the eight counties with no data from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. All county soil surveys were merged into a single layer, and all features classified with poor or very poor soil drainage were used to map hydric soils as input into the bird model.
2.2 Data analysis
Before the finer-resolution Tier 2 assessment was carried out, the various landscape features were assessed at the Tier 1 level. This involved summarizing the features in various ways. The area (hectares) of agricultural, urban and natural land cover and regulated protected land was calculated across the Mixedwood Plains. The area of landscape features coinciding with regulated protected land was computed, and the total area of each landscape feature was summarized by physiographic region.
A Conservation Risk Index (CRI) based on land cover data was derived to measure the disparity between habitat loss and protection. CRI was calculated by dividing the percentage of total land area converted from natural land cover by the percentage of total land area protected for conservation. Converted land includes areas converted for urban and agricultural land use, while secured land areas include all regulated protected land. Higher CRI values indicate that the area converted is much greater than the area protected (Hoekstra et al. 2005).
Within each physiographic region, the extent of forest and grassland bird habitats were combined with the extent of regulated protected lands to summarize the total area of forest and grassland habitat within each region as well as the percentage of each bird habitat that was protected. The process was repeated to summarize the total area of wetland, coastal wetland, protected wetland and Ramsar wetland features within each physiographic region.
Federally protected land area was used to determine the percentage of land within each physiographic region that is federally protected. Additionally, the extent of Ecological Gifts lands and Habitat Stewardship Program project sites was determined for each physiographic region. The species at risk and globally rare species Element Occurrences were used to count the number of species at risk within each physiographic region and to determine species richness.
2.3 Bird modelling
Methodology developed by Ewert et al. (2005) to model migratory bird stopover sites in the Western Lake Erie Basin was modified and applied to the Mixedwood Plains. Using the modified methodology, suitable bird habitat for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds and landbirds was identified within the Mixedwood Plains. For each migratory bird group, habitat was scored as having very low (1), low (2), medium (3), high (4) or very high (5) suitability based on stopover site preference attributes.
Suitable habitat for migrating waterfowl
Attributes important to mapping waterfowl bird habitat include the size and type of wetland, location and size of agricultural fields, and proximity to lakes. To identify suitable habitat for migrating waterfowl, wetlands were divided up based on land cover class (wetland versus forested wetland), and the distance between all wetlands with an area greater than 1 hectare to the next closest wetland larger than 1 hectare were determined. Only wetland features within 120 metres of other wetland features were included in the analyses. Agricultural fields with hydric soils were represented by the intersection of agricultural land cover with the extent of hydric soils.
To identify suitable habitat for migrating waterfowl, wetlands, agricultural hydric soils and lakes were combined together to map potential waterfowl habitat. Suitability scores were assigned based on the attributes and the location of each feature in the landscape (see Table 2). For example, all forested wetland features over 1 hectare in size were assigned a suitability score of 2. All agricultural fields that intersected areas of hydric soil were selected. This selection was narrowed further to include only features greater than 5 hectares in size that are less than 24 kilometres from the Great Lakes shoreline. These features were assigned a suitability score of 3. A similar method of selecting features was used to assign suitability scores of 4 and 5.
The models completed for waterfowl were augmented with CWS waterfowl survey data in order to partially address waterfowl habitat in the open waters of the Great Lakes.
|Wetlandsa > 16 ha with > 1 ha of open water||5|
|Wetlandsa > 1 ha and < 120 m from another wetland1||5|
|Wetlandsa > 1 ha||4|
|Agricultural fields with hydric soilsb > 5 ha that are < 24 km from Great Lakes shoreline||3|
|Agricultural fields with hydric soilsb > 5 ha that are < 1.6 km from a permanent lake > 2 ha and > 24 km from Great Lakes shoreline||3|
|Agricultural fields with hydric soilsb > 5 ha that are > 24 km from Great Lakes shoreline||2|
|Forested wetland > 1 ha||2|
a Excludes swamps, treed bogs and treed fens
b Soils that are poorly or very poorly drained
Suitable habitat for shorebirds
Important attributes for shorebird stopover habitat include the size of wetland complexes and wetlands, the presence of agricultural fields with hydric soils, and proximity to the Great Lakes. In order to map shorebird habitat, wetland complexes were defined, with each wetland in a complex being less than 250 metres from any other wetland. To identify wetland complexes, all wetland features were buffered by 125 metres. The buffers were dissolved and assigned a unique identifier, and then spatially joined with the original wetland features. By spatially joining the two layers, it was possible to identify within which wetland complex each individual wetland feature fell. The wetland features were dissolved by the unique identifier of the wetland complexes, and the area of each complex was calculated. The wetland complex layer was combined with the agricultural land cover data and hydric soils layer to create a shorebird habitat layer. Suitability scores were then assigned based on attributes and location of each feature in the landscape (see Table 3).
|Wetland complexesc > 10 ha that are < 3.2 km from Great Lakes shoreline||5|
|Wetland complexesc > 10 ha that are > 3.2 km from Great Lakes shoreline||4|
|Wetlands or agricultura fields with hydric soilsd < 16 km from Great Lakes shoreline||4|
|Wetlands or agricultural fields with hydric soilsd > 16 km from Great Lakes shoreline||3|
|Wetland complexes or isolated wetlands < 10 ha and < 3.2 km from Great Lakes shoreline||3|
|Wetland complexes or isolated wetlands < 10 ha and > 3.2 km from Great Lakes shoreline||2|
c Each wetland in a complex is < 250 m from any other wetland in a complex; isolated wetlands are > 250 m from any other wetland
d Soils that are poorly or very poorly drained
Suitable habitat for landbirds
The main determinants for identifying suitable landbird habitat include type of cover (i.e., natural or undeveloped) and proximity to water and other natural features. Buffers were generated around rivers, lakes, the Great Lakes shoreline and undeveloped land areas to determine feature location within the landscape. Undeveloped features were then selected based on various attributes and assigned a suitability score (see Table 4).
|Undeveloped covere < 0.4 km from Great Lakes shoreline||5|
|Undeveloped covere > 0.4 km but < 1.6 km from Great Lakes shoreline||4|
|Undeveloped covere > 1.6 km from Great Lakes shoreline and < 0.2 km riversf or lakeshores||3|
|Undeveloped covere > 1.6 km from Great Lakes shoreline and > 0.2 but < 0.4 km from riversf or lakeshores||2|
|Undeveloped covere > 1.6 km from Great Lakes shoreline and > 4 km from other cover||2|
|Undeveloped covere > 1.6 km from Great Lakes shoreline and < 4 km from any other cover||1|
e Undeveloped cover includes alvar, bog/fen, forest, marsh, pasture and swamp (excludes agriculture, urban, water, other, unknown)
f Rivers with a Strahler stream order of 3 or higher
Suitable habitat for each bird group was combined with the total area of regulated protected land in each physiographic region to summarize the area of each stopover suitability category. Suitable habitat and regulated protected lands were also combined with Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and staging areas (waterfowl only) to summarize habitat suitability by IBA and staging area (waterfowl only).
Colonial waterbird nesting sites were also mapped for the bird modelling analysis. Colonial waterbird nesting sites were spatially joined with regulated protected land within each physiographic region in order to identify the total number of nesting sites, and the number of nesting sites in protected areas, IBAs and each physiographic region.
2.4 Relative density maps
This project developed a series of maps to illustrate relative densities for different groups, or guilds, of priority birds. Relative density is a measure of density for a priority bird species within a specific unit of area (e.g., 10 x 10 kilometre grid square), relative to the average density of that species across the wider landscape (e.g., Bird Conservation Region [BCR 13]). Bird groups included landbirds, forest birds, open country birds, shorebirds, waterbirds and waterfowl. The list of priority species included in each bird group is provided in Appendix B. It should be noted that the list is based on a provisional BCR 13 priority list in existence at the time of analysis (2009–2010), based on four pillar plans created for the region under the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. There would likely be little or no change in the results presented in this report if the final BCR 13 list were substituted. This is because there are relatively few differences in terms of the individual species included on each list, and the analysis addresses entire guilds of priority birds, which are well represented by either list, rather than individual species.
Point count data from the Atlas of the Breeding Birds of Ontario (Cadman et al. 2007) was used to determine relative densities for atlas grid squares. "Point counts" are records of the birds seen and heard at a patricular location, or station, by a trained observor for a set period of time. The atlasdatabase consisted of 2001–2005 atlas point counts, point counts for species at risk (breeding birds) and point counts for rare species and colonial species. The point count data were derived from a number of sources including, among others, the Forest Bird Monitoring Program, Marsh Monitoring Program, Waterfowl Database and Colonial Waterbirds Decadal Census.
The atlas grid squares were screened to the Mixedwood Plains/BCR 13, and individual point counts were related to the atlas grid squares to record all of the species within each atlasgrid. The total count of individual species within each atlas grid square was determined, and each square was further screened to include only those squares with at least 10 point counts. The provisional list of priority species for BCR 13 was used to further screen species. It is important to note that all individual point counts remaining in the analysis were capped at a maximum of 10 individuals to reduce the impact of large flocks.
The average count of each priority bird species per atlas grid square was computed by dividing the total count of an individual species within each square by the total number of point counts found within that square. The maximum average count for each species across all squares was determined (maximum average count of each species was the square with the highest average count for that species), then used to determine relative density scores.
Mapping relative density as a continuous surface
To interpolate relative density surfaces for each bird group, each atlas grid square was converted to a point (centroid) representing the relative density for each bird group within that square. The point was used in kriging: a geostatistical technique that interpolates values from discrete map squares and turns them into a continuous surface. For each priority bird group, ordinary kriging was used, with an exponential semivariogram model, a fixed search radius of 27 000 kilometres and an output cell size of 1 000 metres.
The resulting surface (grid) was initially classified into 10 quantiles, with each quantile containing an equal number of squares. This classification method is similar to the equal area classification method used to illustrate overall relative density scores for each priority bird group in each atlas square, as all the grid cells in the kriging surface are the same size. The 10 quantiles were mapped into four categories of relative density: very high (top 10% of the squares with scores), high (next 20%), moderate (next 30%) and low (bottom 40%).
The final relative density kriging surfaces were converted into polygon coverages and intersected with the physiographic regions to calculate the area of each relative density category for every priority bird group within each region.
Relative density scores were calculated for each species by dividing the average count per priority bird species per atlas square by the maximum average count for that species. Relative densities greater than or equal to 50% were assigned a score of 5, densities between 25 to 50% a score of 4, 10 to 25% a score of 3, 1 to 10% a score of 2, and those greater than 0 but less than 1% a score of 1.
To generate an overall relative density score for each priority bird group (landbird, shorebird, waterbird and waterfowl), relative density scores were totalled across all species within each atlasgrid square. Such an overall relative density score was also calculated for each habitat guild (e.g., forest and grassland). The overall relative density values were reclassified into quartiles and mapped using equal area classification with the aid of ArcView 9.3 (ESRI 2008): very high (top 10% of the squares with relative density scores), high (next 20%), moderate (next 30%) and low (bottom 40%).
In addition to showing relative density by atlas squares, maps were also produced representing relative density as a continuous surface. See Figure 5 and Mapping Relative Density as a Continuous Surface box.
The location of known colonial waterbird nesting sites were also mapped and summarized by unit. The nesting sites were spatially joined with the study area units and regulated protected land in order to calculate the total number of nesting sites within each unit and the number of nesting sites in protected areas within each unit.
The detailed results of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 assessments are illustrated in 26 ecozone scale maps and 53 physiographic region scale maps and are available as a separate map book at URL TBD.
3.1 Geographic patterns of biodiversity in the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone
There is significant variation in the amount of natural land cover in the Mixedwood Plains, ranging from 8.3% in the St. Clair Clay Plains in the southwest to over 80% for Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island, St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands, and the Smith Falls Limestone Plain. The average natural land cover for the ecozone is approximately 41% (see Figure 2).
3.2 Regulated protected areas
The Mixedwood Plains Ecozone has less regulated land protection than most parts of Canada. Federal and provincial parks, wildlife areas and reserves cover less than 1% of the ecozone. Regions with higher levels of parks and protected areas include the Erie Spits (64.8%), Bruce Peninsula (11.5%), Huron Fringe (5.5%), Algonquin Highlands (5.3%) and Pelee Island (3.3%). These calculations do not include the substantial contribution of lands held by non-governmental organizations or conservation authorities, county forests or municipal parks. It also does not account for the major role that statutory land use planning under the provincial Planning Act plays in defining and conserving habitat.
3.3 Conservation risk index
The CRI is a ratio of habitat conversion to habitat protection. It compares the area within each physiographic region that has been converted to other land uses (e.g., conversion from forests to cropland) to the area that is under regulated protection. The CRI represents a comprehensive measure of whether habitats are being protected on the same spatial scale as habitats are being converted. The value for the entire Mixedwood Plains is 75.8:1 (i.e., for every 75.8 hectares converted, 1 hectare has been protected).
As with land cover and protected areas, there is great range in this value for the Mixedwood Plains as a whole. For example, 16 of the physiographic regions do not have any regulated protected areas, and the conservation risk index cannot be calculated.
3.4 Species at risk
At the time of this project, there were 144 species at risk in the Mixedwood Plains, representing almost a third of all species at risk in Canada.Footnote 1 Most of the occurrences were located in the southern physiographic regions (St. Clair Clay Plains, Norfolk Sand Plains) where many southern species reach the northern limit of their range. In some areas, such as the Erie Spits, Pelee Island and Huron Fringe, there were relatively high diversities of species at risk documented in protected areas. This richness is likely based on a combination of protected areas having high quality habitats that support species at risk, public access that increases the documentation of species at risk and professional inventories done for management planning. Overall, there was a general decrease in species at risk richness along a south-to-north gradient (see Figure 3).
Richness and abundance of globally rare species were also examined. Areas with high richness and abundance of globally rare species tended to have large areas of Great Lakes coast and include the Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island and the St. Clair Clay Plains. Several physiographic regions hosted unique species at risk that do not occur in other regions of the ecozone. Examples of these include the Norfolk Sand Plain (Toothcup) and Napanee Plain (Juniper Sedge).
There are nearly half a million hectares of wetlands in the Mixedwood Plains, including over 56 000 hectares of Great Lakes coastal wetlands. Concentrations of coastal wetlands occurred in the St. Clair Clay Plains, Erie Spits, Iroquois Plain and Napanee Plain. Almost 3% of all wetlands are included in the Ramsar designation of internationally important wetlands (Ramsar: Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat). However, half of this total is from one wetland (Minesing Wetlands).
3.6 Forest, grassland and open country bird habitat (nesting)
Forest-breeding bird habitat generally corresponds to the amount of natural cover, with the majority of natural cover being forest (upland and swamp) or undergoing reforestation. Grassland was defined as pasture/old field, alvar and tallgrass. There are some discernible patterns in grassland distribution, with concentrations in the Ottawa Valley Clay Flats, Peterborough Drumlin Field, Glengarry Till Plain, Horseshoe Moraines and Manitoulin Island. However, grassland mapping is less accurate than the forest or natural cover maps, as it is difficult to distinguish between types of open country land covers from existing satellite imagery.
The term "open country" includes grassland, and it constitutes the areas not classified as forest or wetland. It is difficult to distinguish open country habitat, and it was not identified for this analysis. In addition, not all open country offers breeding habitat for species at risk or migratory birds. Some grain crops, for example, serve as limited breeding habitat for birds, but corn has little or no breeding-bird habitat value (although it is used by waterfowl for migration stopover). Further, open country--especially agricultural grassland--is relatively ephemeral. Areas will change from pasture, hay or grains to other uses on a yearly or even seasonal basis, meaning distributions of open country (and accompanying maps) can quickly change.
Protection of grassland bird habitat in agricultural areas is very limited (<0.5%), with much grassland habitat in active or recently retired agricultural use (e.g., pasture, hay, fallow fields or old fields). Protection of grassland habitat is higher in physiographic regions where grasslands represent rare native grassland community types (e.g., Erie Spits and Carden Plain).
The distribution of non-native open country and agricultural grassland habitats often does not correspond to the distribution of other biodiversity values such as species at risk concentrations or high breeding densities of other bird guilds.
3.7 Migratory stopover habitat
There is a high degree of variation in the amount and quality of migratory stopover habitat in each physiographic region for all bird groups (landbirds, shorebirds and waterfowl). For landbirds, physiographic regions where greater than 50% of the remaining natural land cover is highly suitable habitat include the Erie Spits, Pelee Island, St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands, Huron Fringe, Manitoulin Island, Cape Rich Steps, and Prince Edward Peninsula. Existing protection of this highly suitable habitat ranges from 75% for the Erie Spits to 0% in the Cape Rich Steps (although a large portion of the region includes the Department of Defence Land Forces Central Training Centre). Highly and very highly suitable landbird migratory stopover habitat occurs in 14% of the remaining natural cover in the Mixedwood Plains. Small areas of stopover habitat are likely more significant in physiographic regions that lack natural cover, as migrant birds have fewer alternatives. For an example of suitable habitat mapping, see Figure 4.
Potential shorebird stopover habitat concentrations are more common because of shorebirds' use of agricultural fields. Only areas mapped as very high relative density (4% of the ecozone) may be considered a priority for shorebirds. Areas with a large proportion of very high priority habitat for shorebirds include Erie Spits, Huron Fringe, Prince Edward Peninsula, Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin Island, and St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands. As with landbirds, most of this habitat is protected in the Erie Spits. Other physiographic regions have 1.7% (Prince Edward Peninsula) to 7.8% (St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands) of their potential shorebird stopover habitat protected.
Highly and very highly suitable stopover habitats for waterfowl are very rare within the Mixedwood Plains, occupying just over 2% of the total area. The greatest concentrations can be found within Erie Spits, Pelee Island, Bruce Peninsula, St. Clair Clay Plain, and Leeds Knobs and Flats.
3.8 Colonial nesting waterbirds
Habitat for Great Lakes colonial nesting waterbirds is generally restricted to regions with islands in the Great Lakes. Areas with the greatest number of sites are Manitoulin Island, Iroquois Plain, St. Clair Clay Plains and Bruce Peninsula. There are also colonial nesting waterbirds that nest in inland wetlands or in Great Lakes coastal wetlands.
3.9 Relative breeding densities of Bird Conservation Region 13 priority species
Regions with the greatest relative breeding density of all BCR 13 priority species are associated with the area south of the Canadian Shield east of Lake Simcoe and west of Brockville, and the north shore of Lake Erie (see Figure 5).
Areas with high relative breeding density for open-country birds occur in physiographic regions with large amounts of pasture and old field, and physiographic regions with large areas of alvar and tallgrass habitats.
High relative breeding densities of shorebirds occur as scattered pockets throughout the Mixedwood Plains. Some of the most significant concentrations occur in the Carden Plain and Russell and Prescott Sand Plains physiographic regions.
Waterbirds and waterfowl are concentrated in specific regions of the Mixedwood Plains. Colonial waterbirds are primarily associated with islands and wetlands, while non-colonial waterbirds are associated with wetlands. The greatest relative breeding densities of waterbirds occur in the Erie Spits, Bruce Peninsula, Napanee Plain and Prince Edward Peninsula physiographic regions. The analysis grouped Great Lakes colonial waterbirds (those that largely occur on islands and some coastal wetlands) with colonial and non-colonial wetland birds. It is thought that Great Lakes colonial waterbirds were under-represented in the analysis, as some of the over 1500 sites where CWS conducts population surveys were not included. Priority waterfowl species occur in the highest relative breeding densities in the Napanee Plain, Prince Edward Peninsula and Peel Plain.
3.10 Priority regions – key regions
Fourteen key biodiversity attributes related to species at risk, migratory birds, wetlands, and other species and features were used to identify priority areas (see Table 5). The values of these attributes were determined for each region, and a score (0–4) was assigned based on the relative value of the attribute within the region compared to all other regions. The total score for each region was then divided by the maximum potential score (n=56), to assign each region a Conservation Priority Index score. Top-scoring regions (see Figure 6) are listed in Table 5. Many regions have identical scores, including the top-ranked Iroquois Plain and Napanee Plain, which each have a score of 54. This should be noted when ranking regions to avoid confusion. For example, the top 5 scores (54, 52, 48, 47 and 46) represent 8 different regions: the Iroquois Plain and Napanee Plain (54), the Erie Spits (52), the Haldimand Clay Plain (48), the St. Clair Clay Plains and Norfolk Sand Plain (47), and the Huron Fringe and Prince Edward Peninsula (46).
|[No.]||Physiographic region/ landscape unit||Species at risk (SAR) rich-ness||SAR count||SAR irreplace-ability||Globally rare species||Coastal wet-lands||Colonial nesting water-birds||Land-bird stop-over|
|23||Haldimand Clay Plain||4||4||4||4||4||4||3|
|19||St. Clair Clay Plains||4||4||4||4||4||4||4|
|22||Norfolk Sand Plain||4||4||4||4||4||3||3|
|40||Prince Edward Peninsula||2||3||0||3||4||4||4|
|42||Leeds Knobs and Flats||3||3||0||3||4||4||4|
|18||Bothwell Sand Plains||4||4||4||4||3||0||3|
|43||Smiths Falls Limestone Plain||2||3||0||4||0||3||0|
|30||Oak Ridges Moraine||2||3||0||2||0||0||0|
|31||Peterborough Drumlin Field||2||3||0||3||0||0||0|
|34||Schomberg Clay Plains||2||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|49||Ottawa Valley Clay Plains||2||3||4||4||0||0||0|
|13||Arran Drumlin Field||2||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|17||Ekfrid Clay Plain||4||4||0||3||3||0||3|
|29||St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands||1||1||0||2||4||4||4|
|16||Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex||4||3||4||4||0||0||0|
|7||Dundalk Till Plain||2||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|11||Guelph Drumlin Field||3||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|44||Edwardsburg Sand Plain||2||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|46||Glengarry Till Plain||2||1||0||3||0||4||0|
|4||Cape Rich Steps||1||1||0||1||3||0||4|
|8||Stratford Till Plain||4||3||0||2||0||0||0|
|15||Mount Elgin Ridges||4||3||0||3||0||0||0|
|50||Russell and Prescott Sand Plains||2||1||0||2||0||0||0|
|12||Teeswater Drumlin Field||2||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|14||Oxford Till Plain||3||2||0||2||0||0||0|
|24||Saugeen Clay Plain||2||1||0||2||0||0||0|
|45||North Gower Drumlin Field||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|47||Winchester Clay Plain||1||1||0||1||0||0||0|
|51||Muskrat Lake Ridges||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|52||Petawawa Sand Plain||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|[No.]||Physiographic region/ landscape unit||Shore-bird stop-over||Water-fowl stop-over||Forest bird density||Open-country bird density||Shore-bird density||Water-bird density||Water-fowl density|
|23||Haldimand Clay Plain||3||0||4||3||4||3||4|
|19||St. Clair Clay Plains||3||3||3||2||0||4||4|
|22||Norfolk Sand Plain||3||3||4||3||2||3||3|
|40||Prince Edward Peninsula||4||4||2||4||4||4||4|
|42||Leeds Knobs and Flats||4||3||4||3||0||4||3|
|18||Bothwell Sand Plains||2||0||4||2||0||4||3|
|43||Smiths Falls Limestone Plain||2||4||4||1||3||4||3|
|30||Oak Ridges Moraine||3||3||3||4||3||3||3|
|31||Peterborough Drumlin Field||2||4||3||4||4||0||2|
|34||Schomberg Clay Plains||2||4||2||4||3||3||2|
|49||Ottawa Valley Clay Plains||1||3||0||2||4||0||3|
|13||Arran Drumlin Field||3||4||2||4||3||3||0|
|17||Ekfrid Clay Plain||1||0||4||3||0||0||0|
|29||St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands||4||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|16||Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex||1||0||3||1||0||0||0|
|7||Dundalk Till Plain||1||3||0||4||2||0||3|
|11||Guelph Drumlin Field||3||0||3||2||0||0||4|
|44||Edwardsburg Sand Plain||2||3||2||1||3||0||4|
|46||Glengarry Till Plain||1||0||0||2||4||0||2|
|4||Cape Rich Steps||4||0||0||4||0||0||0|
|8||Stratford Till Plain||1||0||0||4||0||0||3|
|15||Mount Elgin Ridges||1||0||2||2||0||0||2|
|50||Russell and Prescott Sand Plains||1||3||0||2||4||0||2|
|12||Teeswater Drumlin Field||2||0||0||4||0||0||4|
|14||Oxford Till Plain||1||0||0||3||0||0||3|
|24||Saugeen Clay Plain||1||0||0||4||4||0||0|
|45||North Gower Drumlin Field||1||0||0||3||4||0||3|
|47||Winchester Clay Plain||1||0||0||2||4||0||2|
|51||Muskrat Lake Ridges||2||4||0||3||0||0||0|
|52||Petawawa Sand Plain||2||3||0||1||0||0||0|
|[No.]||Physiographic region/ landscape unit||Total score||Index score|
|23||Haldimand Clay Plain||48||0.86|
|19||St. Clair Clay Plains||47||0.84|
|22||Norfolk Sand Plain||47||0.84|
|40||Prince Edward Peninsula||46||0.82|
|42||Leeds Knobs and Flats||42||0.75|
|18||Bothwell Sand Plains||37||0.66|
|43||Smiths Falls Limestone Plain||33||0.59|
|30||Oak Ridges Moraine||29||0.52|
|31||Peterborough Drumlin Field||27||0.48|
|34||Schomberg Clay Plains||26||0.46|
|49||Ottawa Valley Clay Plains||26||0.46|
|13||Arran Drumlin Field||25||0.45|
|17||Ekfrid Clay Plain||25||0.45|
|29||St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands||23||0.41|
|16||Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex||20||0.36|
|7||Dundalk Till Plain||19||0.34|
|11||Guelph Drumlin Field||19||0.34|
|44||Edwardsburg Sand Plain||19||0.34|
|46||Glengarry Till Plain||19||0.34|
|4||Cape Rich Steps||18||0.32|
|8||Stratford Till Plain||17||0.30|
|15||Mount Elgin Ridges||17||0.30|
|50||Russell and Prescott Sand Plains||17||0.30|
|12||Teeswater Drumlin Field||16||0.29|
|14||Oxford Till Plain||14||0.25|
|24||Saugeen Clay Plain||14||0.25|
|45||North Gower Drumlin Field||13||0.23|
|47||Winchester Clay Plain||12||0.21|
|51||Muskrat Lake Ridges||11||0.20|
|52||Petawawa Sand Plain||7||0.13|
3.11 Highest-scoring regions overview
This lowland area along the western and northern coast of Lake Ontario includes the past shoreline of post-glacial Lake Iroquois. The narrow band extends inland from the Lake Ontario shore at a distance that varies from a few hundred metres to over 10 kilometres, with a larger inland extension near its eastern boundary. Characteristic features of the region are sandy beaches, clay bluffs and large river-mouth wetlands. The Iroquois Plain includes 57 federal species at risk (species listed at risk under SARA as of 2008–2009), primarily in the Niagara region. The region has some of the largest and most extensive coastal wetlands in the ecozone. It is important for landbirds, waterfowl and shorebirds during migration. The islands near Toronto and Presqu'ile are important for colonial nesting waterbirds. Large areas of this region have been urbanized within Ontario's Golden Horseshoe, and most of the remaining one-third natural cover occurs in forests in the eastern portion of the region and in coastal wetlands.
The Napanee Plain is a flat limestone plain with many areas of thin soil or exposed bedrock. This plain runs along the northeastern coast of Lake Ontario and includes Amherst and Wolfe islands. Major relief is limited to valleys cut by the Salmon and Napanee rivers. The poor soils have limited agricultural land use, and 56% of the region remains in natural or semi-natural cover (a large portion of this is open country habitat [agricultural grasslands and bedrock, and meadow alvars] that are likely grazed). Most agricultural use is for pasture, and the Napanee Plain includes some of the most extensive grasslands in the ecozone (total of 45 392 hectares). The 25 species at risk found in the region are primarily associated with alvars and large coastal wetlands (4 776 hectares in total area). The proximity to the coast and high amount of natural cover also make this region important for migratory bird stopover sites.
The Erie Spits include Point Pelee, Rondeau and Long Point. These spits are very low and dominated by sand beaches, open foredunes, forested backdunes and 3469 hectares of coastal wetlands, including the Long Point and Point Pelee Ramsar sites. These rare and unique Great Lakes coastal ecosystems support 51 species at risk. Over 85% of all rare species occurrences (and 65% of the total area of the region) are within protected areas including Point Pelee National Park, Rondeau Provincial Park and Long Point National Wildlife Area. These spits are well-known for their importance and use as migratory bird stopover sites. Over 97% of the region has been classified as "very high" value for landbirds, which is the highest value for any region in the ecozone.
Haldimand Clay Plain
The Haldimand Clay Plain includes most of the Niagara Peninsula and associated north shore of Lake Erie. It is almost 320 000 hectares, has almost one-third natural cover and includes 3 763 hectares of coastal wetlands. Almost 10% of the region includes habitat for open-country birds. This region ranks third for the richness of species at risk, and includes some irreplaceable species such as Virginia Mallow (irreplaceable species are those species that do not occur in other areas or other parts of an agency's jurisdiction. In the case of Virginia Mallow, it is only found in two Canadian locations, both in the southern portion of the Mixedwood Plains.). Many of the species at risk are associated with the coast of Lake Erie and the Niagara River. Only 0.2% of this region is protected, and a large portion associated with the Niagara River is designated as an Area of Concern.
St. Clair Clay Plains
At almost 500 000 hectares in size, the St. Clair Clay Plains is one of the largest regions in the ecozone, and one of the most heavily impacted. Only 8% of the region remains in natural cover (the lowest of all regions), and one quarter of this natural cover is concentrated in the Lake St. Clair delta. The remaining natural cover supports a high richness of species at risk. With 86 different species at risk (as of 2009), this is the highest number of any region in the ecozone. The St. Clair Clay Plains are also rich with globally rare species that are primarily associated with lake-plain prairies. In addition, the region has notable aquatic habitats and contains 9 184 hectares of coastal wetlands, including the St. Clair National Wildlife Area Ramsar site. The remaining natural cover is important landbird stopover habitat. This cover, in addition to poorly drained agricultural fields that are often flooded in the spring, also provides habitat for migrating shorebirds. This region has few protected areas; the St. Clair National Wildlife Area (over 350 hectares) is one of the largest.
Norfolk Sand Plain
The Norfolk Sand Plain is a large region that extends from the shore of Lake Erie near Long Point, north to the Brantford area. Approximately 25% of this region is in natural cover, primarily as forest, but it also includes sand barrens and some relatively large areas of prairie and savannah. There are over 70 different species at risk associated with the forests and grasslands. The proximity to the coast and high amount of natural cover also make this region important for migratory bird stopover sites, and it has a high density of BCR 13 priority forest species. The Long Point Biosphere Reserve includes part of this region.
The Huron Fringe is a narrow coastal band that extends from Sarnia to Stokes Bay on the Bruce Peninsula. It is characterized by terraces of glacial Lake Algonquin and Lake Nipissing, and includes active sand beaches and dunes, forested dune ridges and swales, and coastal fens. These coastal ecosystems support a large number of species at risk including Spotted Turtle, Dwarf Lake Iris and Tuberous Indian-plantain. This region has a relatively high amount of natural cover (49%), including over 4000 hectares of coastal wetland. The dry sandy soils and shallow bedrock make much of this region unsuitable for agriculture. The large areas of forest and proximity to the coast make this an important migratory corridor for landbirds. Shorebirds and waterfowl also use this coast. Colonial nesting waterbirds use the Fishing Islands and the Chantry Island Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
Prince Edward Peninsula
The Prince Edward Peninsula is a low limestone plain that extends into eastern Lake Ontario, and is almost entirely separated from the mainland by the Bay of Quinte. The irregular shoreline results in an extensive coast, and approximately 20% of the entire Lake Ontario coastline occurs in this region. The soils include deeper tills that are suitable for agriculture and shallow, sometimes exposed limestone bedrock. Natural cover occurs on 57% of the Prince Edward Peninsula, and there are over 16 000 hectares of grassland. Approximately 2% of the region is within parks and protected areas, including Sandbanks Provincial Park and Prince Edward Point and Weller's Bay National Wildlife Areas. Species at risk are associated with the grassland (including alvars), sand beaches and the more than 6 400 hectares of coastal wetlands. This region is one of the most important for migratory stopover sites for all bird groups. The offshore islands support colonial nesting waterbirds.
3.12 An example of program investment: The distribution of Canadian Wildlife Service conservation incentive programs in the ecozone
CWS has invested resources in various locations within the ecozone under various programs and partnerships and through internal funding. Examples of partnership programs include the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture and the Black Duck Joint Venture, which fund site and regionally specific habitat restoration and securement initiatives. Examples of geographic allocation of internal resources include the numerous species and habitat monitoring and assessment activities (e.g., avian monitoring programs, coastal wetland monitoring and assessment) that CWS conducts.
The Ecological Gifts Program (EGP) and Habitat Stewardship Program (HSP) are two relatively new federal incentive programs that directly support partner and citizen habitat stewardship and protection actions. To help assess and guide these programs, and to provide an example of how landscape assessments can be used for program assistance, properties donated through EGP ("ecological gifts") and HSP project sites were geospatially assessed in terms of the terrestrial biodiversity suite. Based on data from 2009, these programs combined had allocated resources to all but seven regions in the ecozone. The distribution of allocation had been focused in a few areas, with 60% of the regions having fewer than 10 ecological gifts and HSP project sites. Regions with the greatest number of total and HSP project sites were the St. Clair Clay Plains, Stratford Till Plain, Horseshoe Moraines, Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex, and the Ekfrid Clay Plain. This is primarily a result of the high number of HSP project sites for species at risk. Regions with the highest number of ecological gifts were the Oak Ridges Moraine, Simcoe Lowlands, Iroquois Plain, Niagara Escarpment, Horseshoe Moraines and Norfolk Sand Plain. Given that HSP is focused upon species at risk, Table 6 below shows the ranking for regions based on both species at risk richness and total number of HSP projects. Other biodiversity elements were excluded from Table 6.
Table 7 provides a list, in descending order, of the total number of HSP and EGP sites, and Table 8 lists projects by biodiversity ranking. The eight regions with the top five biodiversity scores had 35% of the HSP projects, 19% of the ecological gifts, and overall 32% of all HSP and EGP sites. The seven regions with the five lowest overall biodiversity scores had 5% of the HSP project sites, 2% of the ecological gifts, and 4% of the combined total of EGP and HSP sites. If the Oxford Till Plain is eliminated from the analysis, the remaining lowest-ranked regions had 2% of all ecological gifts but only 0.1% of the HSP project sites, and a combined total of only 1% of all EGP and HSP sites.
|Species at risk richness (ranked)||Habitat stewardship program projects (ranked)|
|1. St. Clair Clay Plains||1. St. Clair Clay Plains|
|2. Norfolk Sand Plain||2. Stratford Till Plain|
|3. Haldimand Clay Plain||3. Horseshoe Moraines|
|4. Bothwell Sand Plains||4. Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex|
|5. Iroquois Plain||5. Ekfrid Clay Plain|
|6. Erie Spits||6. Napanee Plain|
|7. Horseshoe Moraines||7. Oxford Till Plain|
|8. Huron Fringe||8. Oak Ridges Moraine|
|9. Ekfrid Clay Plain||9. Bothwell Sand Plains|
|10. Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex||10. Peterborough Drumlin Field|
|11. Mount Elgin Ridges||11. Norfolk Sand Plain|
|12. Stratford Till Plain||12. Haldimand Clay Plain|
|13. Niagara Escarpment||13. Mount Elgin Ridges|
|14. Simcoe Lowlands||14. Huron Fringe|
|15. Pelee Island||15. Iroquois Plain|
|16. Napanee Plain||16. Pelee Island|
|17. South Slope||17. South Slope|
|18. Oxford Till Plain||18. Carden Plain|
|19. Simcoe Uplands||19. Dundalk Till Plain|
|20. Leeds Knobs and Flats||20. Niagara Escarpment|
|Biodiversity score rank||Region no.||Physiographic region||Federally protected land||Number of ecological gifts||Number of HSP projects||Total number of project|
|4||19||St. Clair Clay Plains||0.00%||8||184||192|
|16||49||Ottawa Valley Clay Plains||0.00%||1||53||54|
|25||50||Russell and Prescott Sand Plains||0.00%||0||43||43|
|5||40||Prince Edward Peninsula||0.00%||10||26||36|
|27||14||Oxford Till Plain||0.00%||5||30||35|
|3||23||Haldimand Clay Plain||0.00%||3||27||30|
|15||31||Peterborough Drumlin Field||0.00%||5||11||16|
|23||11||Guelph Drumlin Field||0.00%||2||13||15|
|4||22||Norfolk Sand Plain||10.00%||7||1||8|
|11||43||Smiths Falls Limestone Plain||0.10%||7||1||8|
|17||17||Ekfrid Clay Plain||0.00%||8||0||8|
|23||46||Glengarry Till Plain||0.00%||0||8||8|
|17||13||Arran Drumlin Field||0.00%||5||2||7|
|9||18||Bothwell Sand Plains||0.00%||6||0||6|
|23||44||Edwardsburg Sand Plain||0.00%||4||2||6|
|7||42||Leeds Knobs and Flats||1.40%||5||0||5|
|16||34||Schomberg Clay Plains||0.00%||4||0||4|
|26||12||Teeswater Drumlin Field||0.80%||4||0||4|
|13||30||Oak Ridges Moraine||0.40%||3||0||3|
|22||16||Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex||0.10%||1||2||3|
|20||29||St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands||0.00%||2||0||2|
|24||4||Cape Rich Steps||0.00%||2||0||2|
|27||24||Saugeen Clay Plain||0.00%||2||0||2|
|25||8||Stratford Till Plain||0.00%||1||0||1|
|28||45||North Gower Drumlin Field||0.00%||1||0||1|
|23||7||Dundalk Till Plain||0.00%||0||0||0|
|25||15||Mount Elgin Ridges||0.00%||0||0||0|
|29||47||Winchester Clay Plain||0.00%||0||0||0|
|30||51||Muskrat Lake Ridges||0.00%||0||0||0|
|31||52||Petawawa Sand Plain||0.00%||0||0||0|
|Biodiversity score rank||Region no.||Physiographic region||Federally protected land||Number of ecological gifts||Number of HSP projects||Total number of projects|
|3||23||Haldimand Clay Plain||0.00%||5||31||36|
|4||19||St. Clair Clay Plains||0.00%||8||184||192|
|4||22||Norfolk Sand Plain||0.00%||10||26||36|
|5||40||Prince Edward Peninsula||0.50%||0||0||0|
|7||42||Leeds Knobs and Flats||1.40%||5||0||5|
|9||18||Bothwell Sand Plains||0.00%||5||36||41|
|11||43||Smiths Falls Limestone Plain||0.40%||3||0||3|
|13||30||Oak Ridges Moraine||0.00%||40||3||43|
|15||31||Peterborough Drumlin Field||0.00%||7||30||37|
|16||34||Schomberg Clay Plains||0.00%||4||0||4|
|16||49||Ottawa Valley Clay Plains||0.00%||8||0||8|
|17||13||Arran Drumlin Field||0.00%||2||0||2|
|17||17||Ekfrid Clay Plain||0.00%||1||53||54|
|20||29||St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands||0.60%||0||0||0|
|22||16||Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex||0.00%||0||63||63|
|23||7||Dundalk Till Plain||0.00%||2||13||15|
|23||11||Guelph Drumlin Field||0.00%||0||6||6|
|23||44||Edwardsburg Sand Plain||0.00%||1||0||1|
|23||46||Glengarry Till Plain||0.80%||4||0||4|
|24||4||Cape Rich Steps||0.00%||0||0||0|
|25||8||Stratford Till Plain||0.00%||3||165||168|
|25||15||Mount Elgin Ridges||0.00%||5||30||35|
|25||50||Russell and Prescott Sand Plains||0.10%||1||2||3|
|26||12||Teeswater Drumlin Field||0.00%||1||0||1|
|27||14||Oxford Till Plain||0.00%||0||43||43|
|27||24||Saugeen Clay Plain||0.00%||2||0||2|
|28||45||North Gower Drumlin Field||0.00%||2||1||3|
|29||47||Winchester Clay Plain||0.00%||0||0||0|
|30||51||Muskrat Lake Ridges||0.00%||0||0||0|
|31||52||Petawawa Sand Plain||0.00%||0||0||0|
The Mixedwood Plains within Ontario is a diverse yet highly fragmented ecozone with biodiversity values scattered across the region. Many of these values are associated with fragmented natural cover, but there are also a number of species and habitats, such as grassland birds, that are located within the dominant agricultural land-use matrix. This fragmentation also geographically fragments Environment Canada mandate-related conservation and protection activities, with Environment Canada resources being spread across the ecozone. The results of this analysis can be used to better understand this complex landscape and identify areas with multiple, overlapping biodiversity values.
These clusters of multiple biodiversity values present opportunities for protection and restoration and show where a single investment will potentially result in many measurable benefits. For example, a project that restores forest habitat for species at risk on Pelee Island will also create "high priority" stopover habitat for landbirds. There is also an opportunity to better target programs to areas that have "under-serviced" biodiversity. This could include building capacity in local land trusts through training and the development of site-based conservation plans, or identifying priorities for biodiversity designations. Results could also be used to support actions for BCR 13 and assist in multi-species and ecosystem-based recovery strategies and action plans.
Before identifying potential areas of conservation concern and action, it is important to understand the assumptions and considerations behind this mapping project.
One approach to conservation is to compare biodiversity values for each physiographic region of the Mixedwood Plains to the corresponding CRI values. A consideration is that the CRI measures protection by the existence of federal and provincial protected areas, which account for only a small portion of the ecozone. As a result, it is also important to look at local stewardship activities and land use planning designations and the varying degrees of habitat protection they provide. Furthermore, CRI cannot be calculated where no regulated protected areas exist in a region, which leaves many regions unrepresented for comparison purposes. Also, CRI does not count agricultural land uses--such as pasture and hay--as habitat, which many open-country bird species rely upon, so using CRI alone will not present a fully balanced assessment. Comparing biodiversity values against present and predicted conservation risks, such as development pressures found in provincial or local planning documents or general declines in forest or grassland cover, will also help to assess the extent to which biodiversity elements are at risk.
It is important to consider the technical limitations of maps produced by this project and maps in general. Maps are an abstraction of the actual land surface and ecological attributes. For example, the GIS used to create the maps in this project shows only discrete lines between regions and natural phenomena, where in reality boundaries are more diffuse. As a result, this exercise does not represent ecotones, and it presents an even-value surface across a region, patch or distribution, where this may not be the case. The project also only uses comprehensive and sometimes generalized data sets. Therefore, finer-scale site- and species-specific information must be employed to make conservation decisions. Also, while there is a great difference in the value of conservation scores between the top- and bottom-scoring regions (e.g., the Iroquois Plain and the Petawawa Sand Plain have scores of 54 and 7 respectively), there is little difference between any region and the next highest- or lowest-scoring region (e.g., the Haldimand Clay Plain is the third-highest scoring region at 48 points, the St. Clair Clay Plains and Norfolk Sand Plain are tied for fourth-highest score at 47, and the Huron Fringe and Prince Edward Peninsula share the fifth-highest score at 46: altogether representing a range of only 3 points). Therefore, care must be taken when attempting to rank similarly scored regions for conservation purposes, as the differences between regions may be nominal.
In terms of overall results, this study confirms the influence of landscape features and phenomena operating from an ecozone to continental scale.
- A latitudinal influence is exhibited, with species at risk being concentrated in the southern physiographic regions. The 10 physiographic regions with the greatest richness of species at risk are all fully or partially located in the Lake Erie Lowland Ecoregion/Carolinian Canada life zone, the most southerly division of the Mixedwood Plains. These areas have a greater richness of all species because they have a higher number of species that reach their northern range limit in southern Ontario, including many species that are not at risk in other parts of their range (e.g., Blue Ash). There also appears to be greater richness of species at risk within Great Lakes coastal areas.
- When the overall terrestrial biodiversity portfolio is considered, a strong association between it and the Great Lakes coast can be observed. This is seen in the presence of multiple, overlapping biodiversity features such as species at risk, migratory stopover habitat, waterbird nesting sites, as well as the presence of existing federal protected areas and designations. There are also additional federal lands near the Great Lakes coast, including Department of National Defence (Cape Rich), First Nations communities and Transport Canada (associated with Great Lakes navigation).
- There is also a strong association between biodiversity and the zone of transition to the Canadian Shield. Mapping of biodiversity attributes on the Shield showed corresponding higher values immediately north of the Mixedwood Plains transition that diminished northward, which suggests an ecotone effect of higher diversity. This relationship, along with the high values along the Great Lakes, may reflect the positive effect on biodiversity of adjacent terrestrial and aquatic ecozones.
- Conversely, the higher inland elevations in southwest Ontario and the far eastern counties and Ottawa valley have lower biodiversity scores. For southwest Ontario, this may be a reflection of climate changes with elevation, the absence of a fertile coastal plain (Riley 2013) and a dampening of the effect of the Great Lakes with elevation and distance. Lower levels of biodiversity in eastern Ontario may be due to the effect of latitude and lack of an ecotone effect with an adjacent ecozone.
The relationship between conservation programming and biodiversity values, as exemplified by the distribution of ecological gifts and HSP project sites, is not always straightforward. When HSP and EGP locations are looked at broadly, it appears that incentive funds (match funds for HSP, income tax deductions for EGP) were generally allocated to the regions with the highest biodiversity values. For example, of the 1159 HSP projects and ecological gifts included in this analysis, approximately 32% occurred in the 8 regions with the highest overall biodiversity scores. In contrast, only 4% of the projects occurred in the 7 regions with the lowest total scores. When HSP and EGP are looked at separately, the relationship between conservation programming and biodiversity values changes. HSP projects did largely appear to be located in regions with higher biodiversity scores (35% of projects in the 8 highest-ranked regions for biodiversity, 4% of the 7 lowest ranked, and 0.1% of 6 of the 7 lowest ranked) but are even more closely related to species at risk richness. This seems obvious, as HSP is a species at risk focused program. However, this relationship cannot be assumed, as there are other factors to consider. For example, the infrastructure to carry out projects (e.g., number of capable recipients, conservation groups and networks) is not evenly distributed across all physiographic regions. This unevenness does show up in some notable disjuncts between species at risk richness, biodiversity scores and number of projects. For example, the Oak Ridges Moraine and Peterborough Drumlin field had respectively the 8th and 10th most HSP projects (as of 2009) but are only the 34th and 33rd highest-ranking regions for species at risk richness. And there is also a matter of applicability: the Erie Spits has high species at risk and biodiversity scores, but 65% of the region is within federal or provincial protected areas, which are ineligible for program funding. These few regions would appear to be exceptions and generally, resources had matched species at risk richness and overall biodiversity. Shortly after 2009, CWS-Ontario began using terrestrial biodiversity data to help select Habitat Stewardship Program project locations according to biodiversity value. Therefore, HSP project locations after this date are now correlated to regional biodiversity scores. Any subsequent analysis using post 2009 data can not be used to assess any independent relationship between HSP locations and biodiversity values.
The EGP projects showed less of a relationship with biodiversity scores. Nineteen percent of the ecological gifts were in the eight highest ranked regions. In comparison, 22% of the ecological gifts would be randomly expected to occur within any eight regions. However, only 5% of the ecological gifts were made in the lowest scoring regions, showing that ecological gifts at least tended to not occur in the less biodiverse regions. As with HSP, local opportunities and resources play a role. For example, there needs to be local land trusts or other conservation bodies to donate land to and there need to be groups of willing rural land donors. Also, the EGP is a far more applicant-driven program, and the threshold for participation (i.e., presence of ecologically sensitive land) is more commonly found across the ecozone than are species at risk habitats.
As an initial step towards mapping terrestrial biodiversity values, it is hoped that this project will provide a coarse filter across the Mixedwood Plains to help CWS and its partners prioritize conservation activities. The next phase (Tier 3) of this project is under way to identify local landscape features within the 53 physiographic regions that are potentially influencing the distribution and density of migratory birds, species at risk, and other elements of the biodiversity portfolio. It is intended that the maps will be at a resolution and in a format that allow their use by local decision makers for local planning. This finer-resolution assessment addressing habitat patches and local landscape attributes will be the third tier of analysis, building upon the coarser-scale ecozone and the physiographic region assessments (respectively Tier 1 and Tier 2 assessments) that have been outlined and presented in this report.
This is a collaborative project. It was the result of an initial project completed by NCC-Ontario Region under contract to Environment Canada-Ontario. Environment Canada and Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) subsequently collaborated to expand upon the original product.
This report is based upon the following report:
Federal Priorities for Biodiversity Conservation in the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone of Ontario.
G. Bryan, A. Hebb, K. Holmes and D. Kraus. Unpublished. October 2011.
This report and ecozone-scale maps are copyright of Environment Canada; the physiographic regions map series is used in agreement with NCC. Data for this project were provided by the Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Canadian Wildlife Service, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Tallgrass Ontario and the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Network. Thanks to Marie Archambault (Environment Canada-CWS) for refinement of the original ecozone-scale maps and production of French-language versions.
Dave Ewert of The Nature Conservancy provided advice on how to model migratory bird stopover sites for this project.
Thanks to Nancy Patterson of Environment Canada-CWS for review and guidance, to John Brett and Jocelyn Sherwood (Environment Canada-CWS) for review, and to Dan Kraus and Andrea Hebb (NCC-Ontario) for helping place the Environment Canada wildlife and habitat mandate into spatially based conservation planning.
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Chapman, L.J. and D.F. Putnam. 1984. The physiography of southern Ontario, 3rd ed. Toronto: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 270 pp.
COSEWIC. December 2008. Canadian Wildlife Species at Risk. (Accessed January 7, 2009).
COSEWIC. May 2012. Canadian Wildlife Species at Risk [PDF; 703 Kb].
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Myers, N., R.A. Mittermeier, C.G. Mittermeier, G.A.B. da Fonseca and J. Kent. 2000. Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403:853–858.
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Mixedwood Plains. November 28, 2008.
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Appendix A: Land cover and conservation
|Area protectedg||Conservation risk indexh|
|01||Niagara Escarpment||58 237.2||43.3%||4.1%||51.4%||3.4%||13.9|
|02||Beaver Valley||15 861.7||60.7%||0.5%||38.4%||0.0%||0.0|
|03||Bighead Valley||26 357.3||56.5%||0.9%||42.4%||0.0%||0.0|
|04||Cape Rich Steps||21 498.6||40.2%||3.5%||55.5%||0.4%||104.7|
|05||Horseshoe Moraines||622 676.7||64.8%||0.4%||34.1%||0.2%||381.4|
|06||Flamborough Plain||42 452.4||43.2%||0.0%||55.1%||0.0%||0.0|
|07||Dundalk Till Plain||248 785.9||71.3%||0.2%||27.6%||0.0%||0.0|
|08||Stratford Till Plain||333 409.1||88.5%||1.2%||9.9%||0.0%||0.0|
|09||Hillsburgh Sandhills||15 072.2||55.9%||2.1%||41.0%||0.0%||0.0|
|10||Waterloo Hills||44 248.8||69.8%||13.8%||15.7%||0.0%||0.0|
|11||Guelph Drumlin Field||115 074.3||62.6%||5.0%||30.2%||0.1%||569.5|
|12||Teeswater Drumlin Field||130 309.3||77.3%||0.3%||22.0%||0.0%||0.0|
|13||Arran Drumlin Field||55 406.2||57.0%||0.0%||41.2%||0.0%||0.0|
|14||Oxford Till Plain||117 024.5||83.6%||2.8%||12.8%||0.0%||11 164.9|
|15||Mount Elgin Ridges||129 335.0||85.4%||3.2%||11.1%||0.0%||0.0|
|16||Caradoc Sand Plains and London Annex||38 308.9||69.9%||11.3%||17.8%||0.5%||162.1|
|17||Ekfrid Clay Plain||125 201.3||82.2%||0.4%||17.2%||0.0%||1 947.5|
|18||Bothwell Sand Plains||124 449.0||85.5%||0.4%||13.8%||0.0%||17 224.9|
|19||St. Clair Clay Plains||498 159.3||88.6%||2.2%||8.3%||0.2%||456.6|
|20||Pelee Island||3 624.0||72.1%||5.2%||22.4%||3.3%||23.8|
|21||Erie Spits||6 137.3||13.9%||0.0%||68.6%||64.8%||0.2|
|22||Norfolk Sand Plain||258 081.5||73.0%||1.6%||24.8%||0.2%||443.7|
|23||Haldimand Clay Plain||319 331.8||66.6%||3.1%||29.2%||0.2%||283.6|
|24||Saugeen Clay Plain||35 660.5||69.7%||0.5%||29.5%||0.0%||0.0|
|25||Huron Slope||134 357.6||84.0%||0.5%||15.3%||0.1%||637.2|
|26||Huron Fringe||55 061.0||41.1%||5.5%||49.0%||5.5%||8.5|
|27||Bruce Peninsula||151 938.9||12.5%||0.3%||83.0%||11.5%||1.1|
|28||Manitoulin Island||280 363.9||0.0%||0.1%||86.4%||0.4%||0.2|
|29||St. Joseph and Cockburn Islands||48 382.1||0.0%||0.1%||95.5%||0.6%||0.2|
|30||Oak Ridges Moraine||115 156.9||42.9%||0.5%||54.6%||0.0%||8 595.8|
|31||Peterborough Drumlin Field||409 900.1||47.7%||1.0%||46.1%||0.2%||296.3|
|32||South Slope||199 261.1||55.9%||17.0%||27.0%||0.2%||311.2|
|33||Peel Plain||86 363.4||49.4%||36.9%||13.6%||0.0%||0.0|
|34||Schomberg Clay Plains||71 280.8||58.5%||3.6%||29.4%||0.0%||0.0|
|35||Simcoe Lowlands||277 680.9||36.8%||1.6%||36.8%||0.6%||60.0|
|36||Simcoe Uplands||119 557.0||35.5%||1.6%||61.6%||1.6%||22.9|
|37||Carden Plain||90 475.0||14.3%||0.0%||76.2%||1.4%||10.4|
|38||Dummer Moraines||188 842.8||15.7%||0.1%||77.2%||0.6%||27.9|
|39||Napanee Plain||213 713.6||36.4%||3.2%||56.8%||0.0%||1 508.5|
|40||Prince Edward Peninsula||97 427.9||38.7%||0.0%||56.5%||2.1%||18.7|
|41||Iroquois Plain||247 905.3||42.2%||20.4%||35.2%||0.1%||490.3|
|42||Leeds Knobs and Flats||60 327.1||30.7%||0.4%||65.9%||1.4%||22.5|
|43||Smiths Falls Limestone Plain||260 728.6||16.4%||0.6%||80.0%||0.6%||28.9|
|44||Edwardsburg Sand Plain||75 256.1||26.2%||0.4%||72.2%||0.1%||234.1|
|45||North Gower Drumlin Field||45 658.8||54.3%||0.7%||43.9%||0.0%||0.0|
|46||Glengarry Till Plain||202 180.9||27.4%||0.4%||71.5%||0.8%||36.7|
|47||Winchester Clay Plain||85 619.2||71.5%||0.2%||28.1%||0.0%||0.0|
|48||Lancaster Flats||36 804.8||46.9%||4.0%||48.2%||0.0%||0.0|
|49||Ottawa Valley Clay Plains||286 975.7||38.6%||5.9%||53.1%||0.4%||119.0|
|50||Russell and Prescott Sand Plains||109 089.5||30.5%||1.9%||66.8%||0.6%||50.2|
|51||Muskrat Lake Ridges||27 396.5||17.3%||0.0%||78.2%||1.0%||16.6|
|52||Petawawa Sand Plain||7 433.8||44.9%||7.3%||47.0%||1.6%||32.5|
|53||Algonquin Highlands||130 322.2||11.1%||0.0%||70.8%||5.3%||2.1|
|-||Total||7 500 164||52%||3%||41%||0.7%||75.8|
g Regulated Protected Areas includes provincial parks, conservation reserves, national parks, national wildlife areas, migratory bird sanctuaries
h Conservation Risk Index is a ratio of converted land to protected habitat; the average for the temperate forest region in North America is 2.2 (Hoekstra et al. 2005).
Appendix B: Priority bird species
Priority bird species for BCR 12 and 13.
Note: Provisional list as of 2009, not final list.
|Species||BCR 12||BCR 13||Forest||Open countryi||Notes – forest/open country guild|
|Black-throated Blue Warbler||>X||-||X||-||-|
|Black-throated Green Warbler||X||-||X||-||-|
|Great Gray Owl||X||-||X||-||-|
|Kirtland's Warbler||X||X||X||-||No records in BCR 13|
|Least Flycatcher||X||-||X||-||Forest edges|
|Northern Rough-winged Swallow||X||X||-||-||-|
|Olive-sided Flycatcher||X||X||X||-||Open boreal wetlands|
|Rusty Blackbird||X||X||-||-||Open boreal wetlands|
|Sandhill Crane||X||-||-||-||Open boreal wetlands|
|Total||64||48||27 in BCR 12/11 in BCR 13||12 in BCR 12/19 in BCR 13||-|
i Based on Beacon 2009. Only includes species for which open country is likely essential to maintain habitat.
j Based on Beacon 2009. Only includes species for which open country is likely essential to maintain habitat.
|Species||BCR 12||BCR 13||Notes|
|American White Pelican||X||X||-|
|Great Black-backed Gull||X||X||-|
|Great Blue Heron||-||X||-|
|Species||BCR 12||BCR 13||Notes|
|Black-bellied Plover||-||X||No records|
|Buff-breasted Sandpiper||-||X||No records|
|Eskimo Curlew||X||X||No records|
|Red Knot||X||X||No records|
|Upland Sandpiper||-||X||Also included in open country analysis|
|Species||BCR 12||BCR 13||Notes|
|American Black Duck||X||X||-|
|Blue-winged Teal||-||X||Also included in open country analysis|
|Canada Goose (Ontario Resident)||X||-||-|
- Footnote 1
Endangered, Threatened and Special Concern. Canadian total does not include marine species. Some species recently designated by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (e.g., Snapping Turtle, Canada Warbler) were not included in the analysis because no element occurrence information has been assembled. Based on 2009 status information.
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