Natural sites of interest in southern Quebec - Methodology

The research for projects designed to identify natural sites of interest for conservation was done in various ways. An initial list of projects was prepared by the project partners. Internet searches were then conducted using the following key words (in french): “plan + conservation”, “conservation + milieu naturel”. Organizations engaged in habitat conservation projects, either governmental organizations (federal, provincial, municipal) or non-governmental conservation agencies, were also contacted to enquire about their respective projects aiming at identifying sites of interest for conservation in their own region. Finally, these organizations were also asked to document any other conservation planning activities that may have been completed in their area. The following organizations were contacted:

  • Federal and provincial governments;
  • Conservation agencies (ENGOs) working at national or regional levels;
  • Regional conferences of elected representatives (Conférences régionales des élus);
  • Regional county municipalities and large cities;
  • Regional environment councils (Conseils régionaux de l’environnement);
  • Regional private forest development agencies;
  • ZIP committees.

The studies selected had to meet the following selection criteria:

  • The project must have been carried out during the 2000 to 2014 period;
  • The spatial analysis scale must have been large enough. Projects dealing specifically with a single conservation site were excluded;
  • Projects that used a multi-criteria analysis to identify natural sites of interest for conservation were given priority. However, certain projects that used different analysis methods were also included in the inventory.

Study area

The work was produced in two phases. The first phase concentrated on projects developed, in whole or in part, in the Quebec portion of the St. Lawrence Lowlands ecoregion of the Ecological Framework of Canada (Lebel 2013 ) (figure 1). The second phase focussed on projects developed in the Appalachian ecoregion and on coastal and nearshore environment of the St. Lawrence estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, including islands and archipelagos such as île aux Grues, îles de l’estuaire, Anticosti Island, Mingan islands, and Magdalen islands (Lebel 2014 ). Overall, the study region covers all or part of 14 administrative regions (table 1) and 85 regional county municipalities (RCMs) or cities in southern Quebec.

FIGURE 1. Extent of southern Quebec where projects designed to identify natural sites of interest for conservation were inventoried. The St. Lawrence Lowlands ecoregion (in orange) was the focus of Phase 1 of the project whereas Phase 2 covered part of the Appalachians ecoregion (in green), and coastal and nearshore environment of the St. Lawrence estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence. The red line outlines the St. Lawrence Action Plan study area.

TABLE 1. Administrative regions for which projects designed to identify natural sites of interest for conservation were inventoried
Bas-Saint-Laurent Estrie Mauricie
Capitale-Nationale Gaspésie - Îles-de-la-Madeleine Montérégie
Centre-du-Québec Lanaudière Montréal
Chaudière-Appalaches Laurentides Outaouais
Côte-Nord Laval