Identifying Suitable Sites for Multiple Focal Species using Multi-criteria Evaluation and Ecological Niche-factor Analysis in Toronto and Region
In response to the continued loss of biodiversity and natural cover in the landscape, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has developed the Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy (TNHSS), which has been implemented since 2007. The Strategy, based on contemporary ecological principles, developed a set of models and tools that allowed for the development of a targeted Terrestrial Natural Heritage System (TNHS). This system comprises both existing and potential habitat, which together meets TRCA's targets for native biodiversity and sets the foundation for a restored and functioning natural system within the Toronto region. The next steps towards its implementation of the strategy are to both secure the land base that the targeted TNHS defines, and to simultaneously restore this land base. Limited institutional and funding sources will dictate the amount of habitat that can be restored over a period of time. It is therefore critical that restoration activities be prioritized to target the areas that will provide for the greatest improvement in biodiversity. The Recovery Planning Program (RPP), of which this study is a part of, aims to achieve this goal through a systematic process to identify and facilitate strategic actions to ensure survival and recovery of species and communities at risk within TRCA's jurisdiction through stabilizing habitat loss and encouraging restoration initiatives. In this study a selected number of focal species, in conjunction with GIS and habitat modeling techniques such as Multi Criteria Evaluation (MCE) method and Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA), will be used to locate areas within the target TNHS where restoration activities will afford the greatest protection to the selected species thereby protecting the larger suite of species that they represent.