Effective management of Ontario’s vast and diverse landscapes and waterscapes requires an ecologically meaningful spatial framework. Long term sustainability of biodiversity and ecological functions and services requires a robust and organized ecological framework to help achieve the goals of ecosystem-based planning, management, and monitoring.

Ontario’s ecological land classification (ELC) has been developed at multiple organizational levels within a spatial framework. From broad ecological zones to site scale, the ELC is used to identify and describe ecosystem conditions and offers a comprehensive and flexible foundation for resource planning and management.

In the upper levels of the ELC hierarchy, ecodistricts represent landscape-scale patterns of productivity and trends in landform and soil development. They are defined by physiographic features including bedrock, surficial geology, and topography that, along with climate, help to determine patterns of species association. Ecodistricts are used as the basis for many provincial planning processes as well as for assessing biodiversity, defining seed zones, and mapping ecosystems to identify and set natural heritage objectives. The use of ecodistricts promotes a coordinated, integrated, and comprehensive approach to natural resource management across administrative boundaries.

Outlined in this report are the history, development, and application of this scale of the ELC. Comprehensive summaries of the 71 ecodistricts are provided along with discussions of notable ecological features and values. Included are descriptions of key features such as geology, landscape attributes, parent materials and soils, vegetation patterns, and aspects of current land use.

This report complements a previous report, The Ecosystems of Ontario: Part 1: Ecozones and Ecoregions (Crins et al. 2009), which describes the characteristic features of the ecozones and ecoregions in Ontario.


We are committed to providing accessible customer service.

If you need alternative accessible formats or communications supports, please contact us.

The time required to produce alternative accessible formats or communication may vary depending on the complexity of the document. Please contact us for further details.