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Improving Vegetation Inventory Mapping in Southern Ontario Vegetation maps serve as critical baseline data for many land use planning activities, as well as supporting the restoration of disturbed areas, species at risk habitat mapping, and biodiversity reporting. At this time, there is a significant gap in information needed to produce current and refined vegetation inventory maps for southern Ontario. To address this information gap, Southern Science and Information’s Information Management and Spatial Analysis (IM&SA) unit has developed a new vegetation sampling protocol which will allow for cost-effective collection of a broader range of vegetation inventory data by the numerous agencies and organizations working on natural heritage protection in this part of the province.

sure, basal area, tree species distributions, ELC vegetation types, and wetland vegetation communities. This suite of information products provides accessible vegetation information that is already being used by St. Lawrence Islands National Park staff to support species at risk habitat protection activities in their Greater Park Ecosystem area.

For more information, please contact Silvia Strobl at (705) 7553208 or silvia.strobl@ontario.ca, or Danijela Puric-Mladenovic at (705) 755-3262 or danijela.puricmladenovic@ontario.ca

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IM&SA unit staff tested and implemented this new protocol in collaboration with staff from three national parks (St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Trent Severn Waterway and Bruce Peninsula National Park), seven provincial parks and nature reserves, and Kemptville MNR District Office. Partners collected data over three summers using the new vegetation sampling protocol, which combines sampling components of Ecological Land Classification (ELC) and growth and yield, along with habitat characteristics of plots or stands and uses that information for statistical modeling, prediction and mapping of vegetation across unsampled areas. The field data collected in the St. Lawrence Islands National Park area was recently analyzed with other spatial data to develop vegetation species’ models and a series of seamless maps which include detailed information layers for predicted soil moisture, canopy clo-

a) Map of one of the predicted data layers, soil moisture, for Ecodistrict 6e10 (St. Lawrence Islands National Park Greater Park Ecosystem area). b) This map shows predicted distribution of closed forest canopy (canopy closure >= 60%).

Conserve Ontario’s Biodiversity SIB Annual Report 2007 - 08

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Science support for mapping habitat of species at risk We all know it’s important to protect species at risk habitat, but what is that habitat and where is it? Some time ago, staff at the Information Management and Spatial Analysis (IM&SA) unit of Southern Science and Information set out to help answer these questions. They built a vegetation-sampling protocol that helps partners collect important field data that supports various applications and uses. That field data, combined with remote sensing images and environmental information has allowed IM&SA staff develop statistical vegetation models, extrapolate them, and create predictive vegetation and habitat maps for the eco-district 6e10 and the greater park ecosystem area of St. Lawrence Islands National Park. IM&SA specialists have modelled over 180 vegetation and habitat maps. These maps include maps for tree species distribution, wetlands, forests, and rock barrens. These maps, individually or combined, support species at risk habitat mapping and species at risk habitat protection projects in these areas. St. Lawrence Islands National Park staff have used a number of them to map habitats for stinkpot and Blanding’s turtles, five-lined skink, least bittern, cerulean warbler, Louisiana waterthrush, bluntlobed woodsia, and deerberry. In addition, the maps also support natural heritage systems planning and biodiversity conservation and other natural resources management and land use planning applications. This successful project has been a collaborative effort between three national parks, several provincial parks and nature reserves, Eastern Ontario Model Forest, MNR’s Kemptville District office which supported data collection, and Science and Information Branch. The vegetation and potential species at risk habitat maps will go a long way to fulfill Ontario’s commitment to protecting and recovering species and habitat for species listed in the Endangered Species Act, 2007. For additional information on this project please contact Dr. Danijela Puric-Mladenovic, Senior Analyst for Settled Landscapes, SSI, 705-755-3262, danijela.puricmladenovic@ontario.ca.

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SIB Annual Report 2008 - 09

Samples of some of the 180 vegetation and habitat maps that can be used alone or in combination to support modelling and mapping of species at risk habitats and habitat protection and management. 1) forest structure 2) wetland vegetation 3) vegetation types 4) soil moisture

Danijela Puric-Mladenovic Senior Analyst, SSI

Danijela’s dedication to the protection, restoration and long-term planning and management of southern Ontario landscapes is evident in her passion for her job. Danijela came to MNR after a career with the Faculty of Forestry, University of Toronto and the Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade, Serbia. She holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Landscape Forestry and a PhD. in Forestry. In 2004 she began working for the Science and Information Branch’s Information Management and Spatial Analysis (IMandSA) team, developing a methodology for defining restoration priority areas on the Oak Ridges Moraine. She further enhanced and tested this approach and methodology for identifying Natural Heritage Systems through the Natural Spaces initiative in 2005-07. Concurrently, Danijela has also been working with IMandSA unit team members on an integrative and broad-scale sampling and vegetation inventory protocol that supports efficient collection of field data for various modelling, mapping, reporting and inventory needs. Danijela works closely with stakeholders and partners and as a result, we will soon have about 30 percent of southern Ontario’s landscape sampled using this protocol. Danijela works on different spatial and temporal aspects of predictive vegetation modelling. She is also an adjunct professor with the University of Toronto, where she works with Dr. Jay Malcolm on vegetation modelling and climate change mapping for Ontario, and works with Dr. A. Kenney on various aspects of urban forestry. She looks forward to continuing to strengthen the role of science and information in southern Ontario. “This job enables me to see my knowledge and science applied; I have a chance to see that my science work can make a real difference on the ground, where it can influence and direct decision-making.”

Danijela’s passion for the environment is evident in her off-work activities which include gardening, hiking, and biking with her husband and two children.

Conserve Ontario’s Biodiversity

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