Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Cheryl M. Pearce, Ph. D.


The rapid and reliable identification of woodlands that should be protected from incompatible development is an urgent need in municipal planning to secure a viable natural heritage system. The objective of this research was to test the use of LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) spectral data as a current, unified, and scalable thematic layer to identify ecologically significant woodlands in southwestern Ontario. LANDSAT TM data were classified to obtain a Treed Cover data layer for input into a geographic information system (GIS) model that integrated conventional mapping layers (topography, hydrology, soils, vegetation types); patch metrics (size, shape); and landscape connectivity (proximity, linkages). The Treed Cover layer obtained from the LANDSAT TM data provided a reliable representation of woodland patches when compared to other sources. The integrated data were tested against ecological criteria to identify candidate patches for a preliminary representation of significant woodlands. The GIS model was tested for wildlife habitat conservation planning at the landscape scale using forest area sensitive bird species data and interior habitat data obtained from the Treed Cover layer.



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