Landscape Planning

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand
only what we are taught."
- Baba Dioum, 1968
"Our health depends upon the health of the ecosystem, of which we are a part"
- Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment

In southern Ontario, we have eliminated 80% of all woodlands and 72% of all wetlands from our landscape since settlement began. If we care about our health, we need to care about the health of our landscape and natural areas.

Over the past 50 years, we have altered and fragmented the natural ecosystems of southern Ontario more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period in history. Humans and other species need a certain amount of nature on the landscape to access the services ecosystems provide. These natural areas also need to be connected to each other to function properly and to withstand the stresses of climate change and human land use.                                                                    
                                                                                      Southern Ontario from the Air - Eric Boysen

The "green systems" we depend on for our health and well-being are made up of core conservation lands and waters linked by natural corridors or restored connections. As landscape networks, they are vital for the conservation of biological diversity, natural processes and viable populations of native species and ecosystems.

A number of local organizations, partners and stakeholders from across southern Ontario are working together regionally to design and plan green systems for their local landscapes. Their efforts to conserve and wisely manage the natural areas on their local landscapes help to maintain a good quality of life for people living in their region.
     Green Ash floodplain forest, Peterborough County - Wasyl Bakowsky              

Methods Application

  • Nature for Niagara's Future evaluated the natural features identified and classified through the Natural Heritage Areas Inventory (2006-2009) for their individual and collective contributions to the health and resilience of the local ecosystem. This has led to an improved understanding of the condition of Niagara’s existing natural heritage resources and how they work together.

  • Sustaining What We Value project is a collective of several non-government organizations and government agencies working with the communities of South Frontenac, Lanark and Leeds and Grenville Counties to assist the region in identifying and protecting their cultural, social, environmental and economic values.

  • Kawarthas, Naturally Connected project is made up of a diverse group of stakeholders who are working together to create a green system made up of connected areas that will help to maintain the ecological, social, and economic values of the region. The project area is based on two large watersheds that span The City of Kawartha Lakes, The County of Peterborough and The City of Peterborough.

  • Releaf Hamilton is a unique network of stakeholders from diverse backgrounds, all of whom have an interest in the future of Hamilton's natural heritage and landscape. Their strength lies in the partnerships and in-kind support provided by these groups. Together they are working to strategically plan for the future of Hamilton’s natural landscape. 

Green Frog - C.D. Jones