Decoding Our Natural Heritage

Pathway in a forest filled with green trees

Tens of millions of people have taken DNA tests to discover their ancestral heritage. DNA tests help people discover the source of unique familial characteristics, find new family members and identify genetic health risks and measures they can take to avoid them. The natural areas that weave through our communities and upon which we build our homes also have a heritage that defines their ecological traits, their relationships with the plant and animal species that live there, and the conditions needed to keep them healthy. Understanding the “DNA” of these natural systems can help preserve and protect them. As a landowner, you can help decode the Credit River Watershed’s natural heritage and discover what makes it special.

Natural heritage systems and why they’re important
Natural heritage systems are networks of interconnected natural areas, like valleylands, woodlands, wetlands and shorelines, linked by corridors. They define the biological diversity of a given region and provide essential services to people and communities, like clean air and water and flood and drought mitigation

Decoding our natural heritage
Natural Areas Inventories collect information on the ecological features, biological resources and species that define a natural heritage system. These inventories are critical for understanding how these systems function and what we need to do to keep them healthy. The Credit River watershed is one of the fastest growing regions in Canada. By collecting information on its natural systems, we can better understand the services they provide for us and what we need to do to protect those services.

Most of the natural areas within Credit Valley Conservation’s natural heritage system are on private land. Landowners play an important role in helping us define our natural heritage by learning about the natural features of their properties and the plants and animals that live there.  

Discover the natural heritage of your land
You can explore the natural heritage of your land using the Region of Peel’s interactive Natural Areas Inventory Mapping tool for the entire watershed. Turn on satellite view to help you identify your region. The reddish-pink shapes on the map identify inventoried natural areas. Clicking on a shape will open a window where you can access a summary report of the features identified in this area.

You can build and enhance natural heritage on your property by planting along streams and expanding forest habitat. CVC offers full-service tree planting and provides up to 100 per cent funding for eligible projects. 

If you own a property with an abundance of natural areas, you can request a Natural Areas Inventory be completed on your property. Connect with us to learn how at [email protected].

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