Natural Heritage System Planning in Halton Region Research Study

Posted on Updated on

Do you care about nature conservation in Halton Region? ~ Ever stop to think about the tools we have to conserve ecosystems and the services they provide, like the provision of fresh water, climate regulation, and recreational opportunities?  

Carolyn DeLoyde, a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University, is conducting a study of the Natural Heritage System (NHS) approach to planning in the Region of Halton, and the relation between NHS and ecosystem services.

Carolyn is looking for volunteers to help with this research. Please take a moment to complete the survey here:

Here’s more information on the study from Carolyn:

My name is Carolyn DeLoyde and I am a Ph.D candidate in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University and my supervisor is Canada Research Chair, Dr. Warren Mabee of the Renewable Energy and Development Implementation Lab.  We are conducting a study of The Natural Heritage System (NHS) in the Region of Halton and we are looking for volunteers to complete a survey about the Natural Heritage System (NHS) and the ecosystem services it provides within the Region of Halton.

The proposed research investigates Natural Heritage Systems (NHS), the ecosystem services they provide, and how management of these services may be used to respond to climate change.  Natural Heritage Systems in Ontario can include parks, conservation areas, and other landscape features that are identified as essential to support natural ecosystem function. It is recognized that a wide variety of ecosystem services are provided by Natural Heritage Systems on the Earth’s landscape.  These services are critical to the well-being and functioning of the Earth’s life support system and can assist with the development of municipal responses to climate change.

A Natural Heritage System approach to planning considers the importance of maintaining and protecting ecological features in the environment such as woodlands, wetlands and watercourses.  In addition, NHS planning has clear objectives to maintain and protect ecological functions such as water storage and water quality enhancements by features such as wetlands, together with ecological interactions that occur over various scales of time and space.  Further, the role of ecological disturbance mechanisms rounds out the major components considered as part of NHS planning.  

Ecosystem services describes a framework for understanding and evaluating ecosystem processes in relation to human well-being.  In current high-growth areas such as the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), it is imperative that Natural Heritage Systems be maintained on the landscape in perpetuity in order to ensure the continued provision of ecosystem services to the residents of Ontario and in particular to respond to climate change. My research uses a case study approach to examine the ecosystem services provided by Natural Heritage Systems in and around the (GTHA) and aims to develop new policy approaches for NHS planning that can be used within the Ontario land use planning system.  The aim of the research is to advance the ecosystem services framework to apply to Natural Heritage Systems planning as a viable tool for mitigating climate change.

Please consider participating in my research by completing the survey about NHS planning and ecosystem services from natural areas in Halton. The study will take approximately 20 minutes for you to complete and you can complete it online by clicking here or by emailing the study team at: or by phoning 613-533-6000 x 75785. Thank you for considering participating in our research!