The Islands Trust created Ecosystem Mapping of the Islands Trust Area in an effort to encourage land-use decisions that will ensure the continued integrity of these ecosystems. The mapping will also be used to create a coordinated plan for conservation – the Islands Trust Fund’s Regional Conservation Plan – which will focus limited resources on protecting those ecosystems under greatest threat.
An ecosystem is a system of living organisms interacting with their non-living environment. Ecosystems are distinguished from each other by their vegetation make-up, climate, drainage, and elevation along with many other modifiers.
Some ecosystems rely on a delicate mix of species and conditions that are easily impacted by human activities. These ecosystems are termed “sensitive.” Sensitive ecosystems are defined as those which are fragile and/or rare because of the diversity of species they support. The islands in the Strait of Georgia (the Gulf Islands) hold a disproportional number of these sensitive ecosystems due to the high density of rare species residing in the region.
Although not part of the Sensitive Ecosystem classification system, Mature Forests (80-250 yrs) in the Islands Trust Area are considered rare by the Conservation Data Centre.
The Islands Trust completed ecosystem mapping for the Local Trust Areas in the Coastal Douglas-fir zone (Gulf Islands) in 2009 and the Coastal Western Hemlock zone (Howe Sound Islands) in 2010. As ecosystems constantly evolve, so too will the maps. Local knowledge and community feedback will be considered on an ongoing basis and maps may be updated as needed.
How the Maps were Created
Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping, created in partnership with Parks Canada and the Ministry of Environment, formed the basis for the Sensitive Ecosystem Maps. The Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping was completed in accordance with the Resource Information Standards Committee (RISC) Standard for Terrestrial Ecosystem Mapping in British Columbia. Ecosystem mapping involves air photo interpretation coupled with field studies. Using the data collected, cartographers label and identify like ecosystems through a series of polygons on the new maps.
Have a Comment About One of the Maps?
The Islands Trust welcomes and appreciates public feedback on the sensitive ecosystem maps. Comments are received on an ongoing basis and will be considered when maps are periodically updated.
To comment on specific information in one of the maps, please fill out the form below and click the 'submit' button to complete. Click the clear button to clear the form and start again.
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