Settled Landscapes


Settled and urban landscapes are areas where the land and natural environment are permanently shaped by human settlement and related activities. This is where human and environmental needs overlap, intervene and co-exist, and where conservation of biodiversity, ecosystems and species is as important as ensuring the sustainable flow of ecological goods and services to our communities. Within these settled landscapes, the urban core, suburban, peri-urban, exurban areas and rural areas can be distinguished.

Forests in these landscapes are composed of native remnants, secondary growth forests, successional patches, hedgerows, plantations and urban forests. All of these are embedded and interconnected with different land use types. They are also often fragmented and intersected by numerous roads and other forms of infrastructure.

Urban Core
developed region of a town or city, containing high density of human structures (e.g. downtown Toronto).
Suburbia
residential area on the outskirts of a town or city, comprising the largest component of urban land use (e.g. commuter area like Whitby).
Peri-urban
transition zone between urban and rural areas, that frequently extends 100km beyond city limits (e.g. most of Southern Ontario). These areas have a range of uses including agriculture, water catchments, forestry, mineral extraction, and tourism and recreation.
Rural/Working
region located outside of towns and cities, with low population density and settlements.
Ex-urban
communities outside a city and its suburbs, inhabited chiefly by prosperous families (e.g. cottage country, estates).