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Develop and share unified habitat mapping

Context and project description

In the densely populated areas in southern Quebec, human activity puts considerable pressure on habitats that are still natural and on the species living there. It is therefore important to protect those environments through the appropriate conservation actions. To do so, however, we must first know where the habitats are and know which ones are at the greatest risk. That is the goal of this project, through the developing of new detailed mapping of land use and natural habitats, particularly wetlands and wooded areas. The undertaking will first cover the St. Lawrence lowlands, and will then extend gradually to the estuary. There is already mapping of land use in southern Quebec, but it dates back to 2000 and therefore does not reflect the many changes that have taken place since then and does not allow for proper identification of all types of wetlands.

The project has two components: the mapping of wetlands, which is based on an analysis of aerial photographs combined with field validation campaigns, and the mapping of other categories of habitats based, among other things, on an analysis of digital data from satellite images, aerial photographs and ecoforestry maps.


Final mapping, based on sources including data on forests, agricultural land and wetlands, has almost been completed for the entire St. Lawrence Lowlands. The map, which was created based on data from a number of federal and provincial departments and from organizations such as Financière agricole du Québec and Ducks Unlimited Canada, is eagerly awaited by a number of organizations and scientists. It will enable regional decision makers and stakeholders to collaborate on setting habitat conservation and restoration priorities for the sectors where pressure is greatest. That will create the conditions for better planning and better land management and will contribute to sustainable management of habitats in southern Quebec.

Participating departments 

Government of Canada

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada

Government of Quebec

  • Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques