Natural Heritage System

Establishing and implementing a robust Natural Heritage System (NHS) across the region supports Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) objective for a healthy ecosystem and community well-being.

Trilliums bloom in North Walker Woods

What Is a Natural Heritage System?

“Natural heritage system means a system made up of ‘natural heritage features and areas’, linked by natural corridors which are necessary to maintain biological and geological diversity, natural functions, viable populations of indigenous species and ecosystems. These systems can include lands that have been restored and areas with the potential to be restored to a natural state.” — Provincial Policy Statement 2005, Section 6.0 Definitions

Select the image below to learn more about the natural heritage system of the Toronto region.

natural heritage system of the Toronto region

Visit TRCA’s Watershed & Ecosystems Reporting Hub

TRCA’s Natural Heritage System Strategy

TRCA developed a Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy in 2007 with support from its municipal partners.

The strategy aimed to establish, protect, and restore a strategic network of existing natural cover including forest, wetland, meadow, successional, beach and bluff along with additional natural areas targeted for restoration across the TRCA’s jurisdiction.

Scarborough Bluffs

Together these areas support TRCA’s and its municipal partners’ shared goals and objectives for regional biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and related ecosystem services such as aquatic system health, flood protection, pest reduction, increased recreation, and aesthetic opportunities that are vital for community health.

Natural Heritage System Strategy:

TRCA’s Updated Regional Target NHS

In 2022, building on the principles the Terrestrial Natural Heritage System Strategy (2007), TRCA completed an update to the technical component of the Strategy. Using updated data and an integrated approach, TRCA’s updated regional target NHS (2022) identifies key natural heritage features and areas that are important for terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem across the landscape.

Select the image below to learn more about the updated regional target NHS.

TRCA updated regional target natural heritage system story map


TRCA Watershed Planning and Ecosystem Science: