Mapping our Ecosystems

By carefully mapping the ecosystems and plant communities throughout the islands, we can determine which ecosystems are most rare and which are most threatened by development.  The Islands Trust Fund uses ecosystem mapping to focus our time and money on those ecosystems in greatest need of protection.  

Terrestrial Ecosystems

An ecosystem is a system of living species interacting with their non-living environment.  Some ecosystems rely on a delicate mix of species and conditions that are easily affected by human activities.  These ecosystems are termed "sensitive".  Sensitive ecosystems are rich in biodiversity and rare.

The islands in our region hold a disproportionate number of these sensitive ecosystems, due to the high density of especially rare species that seek sanctuary here.

OF(sm) Woodland wt(sm) fw(sm)
Old Forest Woodland  Wetland  Freshwater 
       
Cl(sm) ri(sm) Herbaceous Mature
Cliffs Riparian Herbaceous  Mature Forest 

 

Terrestrial Ecosystem Maps Viewing Options

MapIT Logo

Explore the terrestrial ecosystems of the islands with the Islands Trust Fund's interactive ecosystem mapping application MapIT.
 PDF_Logo

Download PDF versions of the terrestrial ecosystem maps for each island. 
View here

 

How the Maps were Made

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.

 

Nearshore Ecosystems

The nearshore environment is the subtidal zone where our land-based ecosystems transition into marine habitats.  Nearshore habitats are highly vulnerable to human and natural impacts.  Much of the Salish Sea's marine life relies on this zone for spawning, early life, or for food sources.  With more than 450 islands and islets, nearshore habitat is an important part of our region.  The islands hold more than 1,000km of shoreline.

Eelgrass (sm) ForageFishsm
Eelgrass Ecosystem Forage Fish Spawning
   

 

Nearshore Ecosystem Maps Viewing Options

MapIT Logo

Explore the nearshore ecosystems of the islands with the Islands Trust Fund's interactive ecosystem mapping application on MapIT.

 PDF_Logo

Download PDF versions of the nearshore ecosystem maps for each island. 
View here

 

How the Nearshore Ecosystem Maps were Made

Eelgrass Habitat Mapping, created in partnership with the Islands Trust and Seagrass Conservation Working Group, was completed to a Level 1 standard as defined in "Methods for Mapping and Monitoring Eelgrass Habitat in British Columbia (Dec 2002)", available through the Community Mapping Network, and as modified through a methodology approved by a qualified registered professional biologist.  Learn more

 

Page last updated: 13/10/16
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