The Canada Land Inventory provides one of the most comperhensive digital map sources for resource planning ad management in Canada. The area covered by the CLI is indicated in the index map .For each of the map sheets areas land capability is mapped at 1:250'000 scale and usually at a 1:50'000 scale. This is an example for Mapsheet 30 M, Toronto. The index map on the right shows the areas mapped for agriculture capability under the CLI. The left image shows an example of a number of overlays displayed on Google Earth.
Each of the 1.250'000 scale maps has an extensive description of the lanscape ecosystem and land capability. Below is an example for Toronto map area.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TORONTO MAP SHEET AREA
The first settlers to arrive in the area were the United Empire Loyalists, who same to Caistor Township in Lincoln County in 1778 immediately after the American Revolution. Settlement progressed rapidly throughout the area and was completed in almost 50 years time. During the early years the land was used for agriculture and forestry, and industry was dependent on the products of field and forest. The wood in the forest was used for firewood, fencing, and the manufacture of agricultural implements, furniture, and buildings. Agriculture provided the raw materials for the tanneries, woollen mills, grist mills, cheese factories, and creameries that abounded in the area. Livestock raising, grain growing, and dairying were the main farming endeavours, and cereal grains, hoy, and pasture were the principal crops grown.
Today agriculture is more specialized. Tender fruits and vegetables are grown in the Niagara fruit belt and grapes are common on the clays above as well as below the Escarpment. Nursery plants for landscaping are grown in many places, and vegetable crops supply a larger port of the farm income than they did a few years ago. Although dairying is still on important part of farming in the area, livestock raising and mixed farming are not. Even greater changes in agriculture can be expected in this highly industrialized part of Ontario. Increased population is putting greater pressure on agriculture with the increased demand for land for transportation services, building sites, and recreation rites. It appears that little land will be available for agriculture in the near future and most farmers will leave the area. The farmers that remain will operate a very intensive type of agriculture on a small plot of land in the midst of suburban dwellings and factories until it is no longer economical.
Capability classification by P. W. Hoffmon, based on soil information contained in Ontario Soil Survey Reports.
Deep, rich soils are common throughout the area. Shallow soil over limestone occurs along the edge of the Niagara Escarpment. Deep sands and pothole lakes are found on the Oak Ridge moraine. The soils in the rest of the area are mostly loams, clay loams, or clays. The drainage is variable but generally good.
The quantity and quality of food and cover production have been considered in assessing the capability of the land to produce ungulates. Much of the land is capable of growing a wide variety of trees, shrubs, and herbs. Growth on the richer, deeper soils is faster, easier to establish, and more prolific than on the sandy and shallow soils over limestone. The nutritional quality of food for ungulates is assumed to be highest on the richer, deeper soils and lower on the sandy and shallow soils.
Little forested land remains in the area. In wooded places, sugar and silver maple (Acer saccharum and A. sacchannum), cherries (Prunus spp.), white birch (Betula papyrifera), and trembling and largetooth aspens (Populus tremuloides and P.grandidentata) occur. White elm (Ulmus americana), black ash (Fraxinus nigra), white ash (F. americana), and red maple (A. rubrum) are common in poorly drained places, but the elms are dying in great numbers. Few conifers are found, except for eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis) in very poorly drained sites and along the Niagara Escarpment. Pine (Pinus spp.) plantations occur on the Oak Ridge moraine. Eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is native to the area and is common on some upland sites.
Common aquatic plants in the permanently wet depressions are sedges (Carex spp.) rushes (Juncus spp.), bur-reed (Sparganium spp.), cattails (Typha spp.), and pondweeds (Potamongeton spp.). Large marshes are uncommon in the area and are mainly confined to several locations adjacent to Lake Ontario east of Toronto.
LAND CLASSIFICATION FOR UNGULATES
Class 1 lands occur throughout the area. They comprise about 20 percent of the area and are composed of deep, well-drained clay loams. Local topographic variations provide a variety of habitats for ungulates. These lands have no limitations for ungulate production.
Class 2 lands occupy over 50 percent of the area and lie in a band around the shore of Lake Ontario. Here, deep clays, silts, and loams predominate. The capability for ungulate production is slightly limited by less than optimum fertility, excess soil moisture, and, in some places, poor soil structure.
About 25 percent of the area has been rated as Class 3 for ungulate production. These lands have light loam soils and are limited by low soil fertility, rapid drainage, and shallow soil, which restrict the growth and variety of vegetation. Class 4 land occupies about 5 percent of the area. Most of these lands are deep, infertile sands, where low fertility and lack of soil moisture limit ungulate production. Shallow depth of soil to bedrock is a limiting factor on the Class 4 land near Campbellville. Classes 5, 6, and 7 lands have not been mapped.
The winters are not severe enough to affect ungulate production in the area. As a result, no wintering ranges have been mapped. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is the only wild ungulate that is found in the area. The good network of roads in the area provides easy access for hunting.
Most of the area is not producing ungulates at its assessed capability because it lacks suitable habitat as a result of intensive agricultural land use and urbanization. The capability ratings do not indicate the size of the ungulate population; they are a measure of production only under ideal habitat conditions.
Capability classification by R. D. Thomasson.
LAND CLASSIFICATION FOR WATERFOWL
The offshore waters of Lake Ontario, the adjacent marshes, and the Niagara River provide staging habitat for migrating waterfowl and are rated Class 3M or 3s. Several thousand waterfowl also overwinter in the offshore waters. Waterfowl using these sites include the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), Black Duck (Anas rubripes), Blue-winged Teal (Anss discors), and American Widgeon (Mareca americana). Canada Geese (Branra Canedensis) are also common around Toronto Island. During late October and November, the Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), Scaup (Aythya spp.), Bufflehead (Bucephele albeole). Oldsauaw (Clangule lis), Common Merganser (Mergus merganser), Mallard, and Black Duck are the main species of waterfowl present in the staging areas.
The Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, and to a lesser extent Wood Duck (Air Sponse) and Black Duck are the most common waterfowl that nest in the area. Good habitat is present in the depressional regions near the Oak Ridge moraine in the northwestern part of the area. Depressional regions that support a high density of waterfowl also occur in the clay plains in the southern part of the area, however, the lack of large permanent water bodies may be a major limitation for breeding ducks. Agricultural practices have also adversely modified the quality of these small wetlands. The many small streams throughout the area provide only fair habitat for waterfowl production.
Waterfowl hunting is limited in the interior because of high residential densities and the relatively small amount of good habitat. Early season hunting for dabbling duck is fair in the morainic region in the northwest and in the marshes and fields east of Oshawa. Hunting for ducks is generally good along the Lake Ontario shore east of Oshawa and from Port Dalhousie to the Niagara River.
Capability classification by B. C. Johnson, Canadian Wildlife Service.
The scenic capability of this area is very high, due to the combination of many features; the most prominent of these are the Niagara Escarpment and the Oak Ridges moraine. They provide excellent recreation opportunities, with their frequent, fast flowing streams, tumbling waterfalls, rolling hillls, and wooded valleys. The most striking feature is the Niagara River, with its g rest cataract of Niagara Falls and deep gorge that it has carved through the Niagara Escarpment over the centuries. In contrast, there are areas of relatively flat land under intensive cultivation, that provide a pastoral setting. Throughout the area, the relative abundance and variety of wildlife and plants provide excellent opportunities for the naturalist and hunter.
During the winter months, family winter sports, such as skiing and tobogganing, are popular on the hills of the Oak Ridges moraine end Niagara Escarpment. However, the lack of adequate snowfall in the Niagara Peninsula limits most winter sports there. The major boating water is Lake Ontario, but it has only a fair capability because of a relatively monotonous shoreline and unpredictable weather. The navigable portion of the Niagara River offers a very attractive setting ahd calm waters, but accessibility is extremely limited because of high cliffs that parallel the river channel. Bathing is also restricted for a variety of reasons, the most important being pollution, cold water temperature, and extensive urbanization and industrialization of the shoreline.
Of special note are two attractions that hold unusual recreation capability. The McMichael Collection of Canadian Art(b), located near the town of Kleinburg, contains the largest single collection of works of the Group of Seven and Tom Thompson. At the Black Creek Pioneer Village (3zH) can be found a reconstruction of a settlement that could have existed one hundred years ago.
It may be concluded that the Toronto map sheet area has a moderately high capability for recreation. This is due primarily to the attractiveness of the uplands and the wide variety of complementary features that provide a broad range of recreation opportunities.
FOREST ECOLOGICAL RELATIONSHIPS
The area has a very favorable climate relative to the rest of Canada; it is warmer and drier than the national mean. Because climate is not a limitation and productive soils are abundant, much of the area is rated Class 1 for forestry and other uses. The area has 3000 to 3800 growing degree-days, a growing season of 196 to 210 days, and a frost-free period of 126 to 154 days. The mean temperatures are 220F to 270 F for January and 680 F to 700F for July. The average precipitation is 28 to 34 inches; this includes 14 inches of rain, which falls from May to September, and 40 to 60 inches of snow. The annual water deficiency is 3 to 4 inches. The proximity of the land area to Lake Ontario has a moderating effect on growing-season temperatures.
Because of the combination of climate and landform and their effect on the species composition and productivity of forests, the area is in Forest Site Region 6E and also in Site Region 7E. The stable natural forest consists of white pine, red oak, and white oak on dry sites; sugar maple, beech, and lesser amounts of basswood, white ash, black cherry, and white oak on fresh sites, soft maple on moist sites; white cedar, black ash, and soft maple on wet sites; and tamarack on very wet sites.
Less stable species include largetooth and trembling aspen on dry to fresh sites, and other poplars on moist and wet sites. Red and white pine are frequently used for plantations on dry and fresh sites; white spruce is used on moist and wet sites.
Much of the area has a high capability for forestry. However, much of the area is also highly developed for urban, industrial, agricultural, recreational, and country estate purposes. Therefore, forestry is likely to be confined to relatively small regions that are unsuitable for other uses or to regions where forest or shelterbelt cover enhances farm, estate, water, scenic, or other recreational values.
Capability classification by J. R. M. Williams, based on information in the Ontario soil survey reports, field studies, and other sources.
For a description of Site Regions refer to the Ontario Regional Class Description in Land Capability Classification for Forestry, prepared for the Canada Land Inventory by R. J. McCormack, Department of Regional Economic Expansion. Report No. 4, 2nd Edition, 1970.