Ministry of Environment

Sensitive Ecosystems InventoriesSensitive Ecosystems Inventories

Metro Vancouver & Abbotsford SEI Home Page

A Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory (SEI) was conducted for Greater Vancouver Regional District (Metro Vancouver) and Abbotsford.

The project was initiated in response to the need for up-to-date, standardized ecological information for the entire region to support future decision making.

The project area totaled 367,000 ha, consisting of 330,000 ha of terrestrial lands plus several thousand hectares of rivers, freshwater bodies, intertidal and estuarine zones.

Provincial SEI standards (Standard for Mapping Ecosystems at Risk in British Columbia, 2006) were followed to identify and map ecologically significant and relatively unmodified 'Sensitive Ecosystems', including wetlands, older forests and woodlands. In addition 'Modified Ecosystems'1, such as seasonally flooded agricultural fields and young forests, which are human-modified but still have ecological value and importance to biodiversity, were included in the mapping process.

Three main approaches were used to build the inventory. TEM was used to generate SEI values in the Coquitlam, Capilano and Seymour watersheds, the Regional Parks network, and Mount Seymour and Indian Arm Provincial Parks. Riparian fringe and gully SEI classes could often not be directly translated from TEM so had to be newly generated. SEI mapping from earlier projects was available for Bowen Island and Sumas Mountain, and this was used to complete the inventory for these areas. For remaining areas with no existing TEM, SEI mapping was developed through image interpretation followed by selective field checks to confirm and inform mapping decisions. For new mapping, 20% of polygons were checked in the field.

The mapping was completed from January 2010 to May 2012. Polygons were delineated at 1:5,000 (new mapping) to 1:10,000 - 1:20,000 (originating from TEM)

1Equivalent to 'Other Important Ecosystems'.

Report Authors: Meidinger, D., J. Clark and D. Adamoski

Link to documents and Metro Vancouver web mapping application: Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory for Metro Vancouver and Abbotsford

Metro Vancouver SEI email contact: