Ministry of Environment

Wildlife Habitat Ratings Home

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What is a Wildlife Habitat Rating?

Wildlife habitat ratings define the relative importance of various ecological units to wildlife. The ratings reflect a habitat's potential to support a particular species by comparing it to the best available for that particular species in the province.

  • A capability rating is defined as the ability of the habitat, under the optimal natural conditions for a species to provide its life requisites, irrespective of the current condition of the habitat.
  • A suitability rating is defined as the ability of the habitat in its current condition to provide the life requisites of a species.

Ecosystem mapping is the framework for applying habitat ratings. Standardized terrestrial ecosystem classification and inventory methods are employed, to prepare map information from which wildlife interpretations can be derived.

Large-scale mapping:

Small-scale mapping methods:

  • Broad Ecosystem Inventory (BEI) (RIC, 1997) (Formerly TESS);
  • A combination of both Ecoregion maps (Demarchi, 1995) and Biogeoclimatic map units (Meidinger and Pojar, 1991); and
  • Stand-alone Ecoregion maps

These methodologies provide the basic descriptions of the province's wildlife habitat. Wildlife habitat ratings are then applied to each ecosystem unit to evaluate its value for particular wildlife species.