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Ecosite-based Land Cover Mapping in Eastern Ontario

March 8, 2011

Ecosite-based Land Cover • Critical starting point for several projects • How was it developed? – History – Development methods

• How can it be used? – Appropriate questions and scales – Rule-based system

• What are its limitations

Development: History • Initially developed for National Agrienvironmental Standards Initiative (NAESI) • Modifications and enhancements – Broader study area (different data sources) – Additional project requirements – Wider spectrum of ecological conditions

• Data layers delivered July 2008, complete system delivered January, 2010

Study Area

Development Methods: Principles • Existing data sources • Complete landscape depiction – – – –

Forest Wetland Agricultural Developed

• Classification developed to meet wide range of modeling requirements – Wildlife habitat – Landuse patterns

• Maximize spatial and thematic detail to aggregate as required

Land Cover Classification

Methods: Forest Classes • OMNR Ecological Land Classification – Ecosite level – Link to other reporting and wildlife matrices

• Based on: – – – –

Forest Resources Inventory (FRI) SOLRIS Soils (County soils mapping - moisture, texture) Terrain (10m DEM - terrain indices)

• FRI polygons as mapping units – Avoids averaging of species composition

Forest Classes: FRI Data Preparation

Forest Classes: FRI Data Preparation • Created consistent attributes – Varied considerably among datasets

• Parsed species strings – Allowed additive queries (e.g. Pw + Pr > 80%)

• Dissolved OBM Tiles – Allowed consistent overlay of other values

Forest Classes: Soils Data Preparation • County-based Soils for EOMF • Link to CanSIS on soil name to obtain: – Soil Drainage – Soil Texture – Soil Type (Organic/Mineral)

• FRI Soil Moisture – Available in Enhanced FRI – Predicted for other areas

Forest Classes: Soils Data Preparation

Forest Classes: Soils Data Preparation

Forest Classes: Terrain Analysis • Compiled 10m DEM tiles • Standard terrain measures – Slope, aspect

• Terrain and wetness indices – Curvature, slope position, flow accumulation

• 3D Visualization used to assess usefulness • Four selected – – – –

Relative Slope Position Terrain Complexity Index Topographic Convergence Index Topographic Relative Moisture Index

Terrain Analysis: DEM Compilation

Terrain Analysis: Relative Slope Position

Terrain Analysis: Terrain Complexity

Terrain Analysis: Topographic Convergence

Terrain Analysis: Relative Moisture

Ecosites: Combine Soils, Terrain, FRI • Composite scores – Simplifies rules based on soils and terrain attributes – Used to differentiate DRY/Fresh from Fresh/Moist sites Attribute

Dry Site Criteria


Relative Slope Position

Upland > Lowland Upland > Lowland and Upland > Mid-Slope

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Terrain Complexity

High > Low


Topographic Convergence

Drains out > Drains In


Topographic Relative Moisture Low Moisture > High Moisture


Low Moisture > High Moisture and Low > Moderate


Soil Drainage

Drainage = Rapidly or Well or Moderately Well


Soil Texture

Texture = Very Coarse or Coarse or Moder. Course


_________________________________________________________________________________ Total


Ecosites: Combine Soils, Terrain, FRI Attribute

Wet Site Criteria


Relative Slope Position

Lowland > Upland Lowland > Upland and Lowland > Mid-Slope

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Terrain Complexity

Low > High


Topographic Convergence

Drains In > Drains Out


Topographic Relative Moisture High Moisture > Low Moisture


High Moisture > Low Moisture and High > Moderate


Soil Drainage

Drainage = Imperfectly or Poor or Very Poor


Soil Texture

Texture = Medium or Moderately Fine or Fine


_________________________________________________________________________________ Total


Ecosites: Other Composite Attributes • Used to assign broad ecosite groupings • Forest – MNRCODE = 300 and (Stocking >= .5 or Closure >= 50)

• Forest Type – Deciduous: Deciduous species >= 70% – Coniferous: Coniferous species >= 70% – Mixed: Deciduous >= 30% and Coniferous >= 30%

• Plantation – FRI Cvr_typ and Std_Mod attributes – WG determines type

Ecosites: Other Composite Attributes • Swamp – Stocking, height and soil moisture – Comparison with Evaluated wetlands, SOLRIS

• Dry Fresh / Fresh Moist – Dry Fresh • FRI Moisture = D or DM or ( M and Dry Site > Wet Site)

– Fresh Moist • FRI Moisture = W or WM or ( M and Wet Site > Dry Site)

• Organic Dominated – Soils data too coarse – FRI Moisture = W and Organic > Mineral

Forest Classes: Assigning Ecosites • Logical statements built to define Ecosites based on composite attributes and species • Broad forest type and site groupings assigned • Final Ecosite assignment by species composition • Manual assignment of ambiguous stands







FOC1 - Dry-Fresh Pine Conif. Forest


Conif. (2)

No (0)



Species Composition PJ + PW + PR >= 5

Ecosite Rules

Non-Forest Classes: Assigning from FRI • Water layer from NRVIS • Cultural Classes: – Meadow / Thicket: Stocking < 20 – Savannah: Stocking >=20 and <= 30 – Woodland: Stocking >=40 and <= 50

• Sand Barren, Pits and Quarrys – Std_Mod = ‘PQ’

• Rural Developed – Std_Mod = ‘DR’

Wetland Classes: Data Preparation

Wetland Classes: Data Preparation

Wetland Classes: Data Preparation • NRVIS Water Layer • Compared to FRI and Evaluated Wetlands • Assigned to marsh where no overlap with wetlands

Agricultural Classes: Data Preparation • Detailed 2001-2003 data from Agriculture & Agri- Food Canada – Polygon-based field boundaries – Landsat-based land cover and crop classification

• Ontario Land Cover Data – Landsat-based land cover

Agricultural Classes: Data Preparation

Agricultural Classes: Data Preparation â&#x20AC;˘ Agricultural classes from Ontario Land Cover

Hay / Pasture Crop

Agricultural Classes: Data Preparation â&#x20AC;˘ Smoothing applied

Hay / Pasture Crop

Agricultural Classes: Data Preparation â&#x20AC;˘ Incorporated in final layer

Urban Areas: SOLRIS Urban Layer

Hedgerows: SOLRIS Forest Layer

Temporal Updates: SOLRIS • Two cases identified • FRI = Forest and SOLRIS = Non-forest: – – – –

Spatial alignment Young forest, plantations Forest harvest, development, conversion Stand Break-up

• SOLRIS = Forest and FRI = Non-forest: – Spatial alignment – FRI stocking missing – Young or barren & scattered has matured

• Developed rules based on initial ecosite and associated spatial attributes

SOLRIS: FRI Forest, SOLRIS Non-Forest Proximity to road

• Add attributes: – NAESI class – Age – Ownership – Prox. to Road – Prox. to Agri

Age < 30 Age >= 30 Agricultural

Proximity to Agri

SOLRIS: FRI Forest, SOLRIS Non-Forest

Rural Developed Agri - Row Crops

Cover Types: Input Layers Roads Railways Water Transmission Lines (Overlay Forest) Urban Areas Hedgerows Evaluated Wetlands NRVIS Wetlands Agriculture SOLRIS Updates Ecosites from FRI

Cover Types: Input Layers FRI and Agriculture Alignment

Roads not always removed

Cover Types: Overlay

Spatial gaps not separated from rural developed

Cover Types: Identifying Rural Developed

Buildings added

Cover Types: Filtering

Lakes, roads, not filtered or spread

Final Layer: Data Preparation

Final Layer: Linkage to Original Sources

Final Layer: Linkage to Original Sources

Final Products • Wide array of natural and anthropogenic land cover data combined into a single integrated context layer for habitat mapping and modeling – Vector version with original source linkages – Seamless raster layer

• Detailed set of repeatable ecosite rules based on FRI, soils and terrain • Repeatable process to recreate products based on new input layers

Uses to Date • Habitat Models – Least Bittern – Southern Flying Squirrel – Eastern Prairie White-fringed Orchid – Red-headed Woodpecker – Bald Eagle – Black Tern – Blunt-lobed Woodsia – Cerulean Warbler – Five-lined Skink – Golden-winged Warbler – Henslow’s Sparrow

– – – – – – – –

Loggerhead Shrike Red-shouldered Hawk Short-eared Owl Small-footed Myotis Spotted Turtle Stinkpot Wood Turtle Yellow Rail

Uses to Date: Least Bittern Habitat Model

Uses to Date: Red-shouldered Hawk Model

Uses to Date â&#x20AC;˘ Integrated Landscape Management â&#x20AC;˘ Significant Woodlands

Other Potential Uses • Screening tool for SAR habitats • Habitat for EIA / municipal planning • Supporting recovery and restoration planning

Limitations • Best available … – Wide array of spatial and temporal accuracy – Sources tracked and can be replaced as updated

• Filtering used to remove slivers – Not accurate property by property

• Dated FRI Information – Accuracy of resulting ecosites varies – Rules performed well with plot data – Plot data can provide successional trends

Contact Information:

David Baldwin Phone: (705)-253-4487 Fax: (705)-253-1493 Email: Web: