Natural Heritage is a term used to describe natural features and functions that have important environmental, social and economic values. The Natural Heritage Information Centre defines natural heritage as “all living organisms, natural areas and ecological communities which we inherit and leave to future generations” (MNR 2005). Woodlands, wetlands, valleylands, wildlife habitat, fish habitat, habitat of rare and endangered species, areas of natural and scientific interest (ANSIs) and linkages between these natural features and areas form important components of natural heritage systems.
A natural heritage system, as defined by the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) 2005, is a system consisting of natural heritage features and areas, linked together by natural corridors that are necessary to maintain biological and geological diversity, natural functions, viable populations of indigenous species and ecosystems. Natural heritage systems can include areas that have been restored and areas that have the potential to be restored to their natural state.
The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) has undertaken the development of a Natural Heritage Strategy (NHS). The RRCA has a mandate of guiding our community in the protection, enhancement through programs that balance human and environmental needs for a sustainable future. The NHS will assist the RRCA in fulfilling this mandate as it supports the broad goal of working towards a healthy, fully functioning, diverse natural heritage system within the RRCA’s jurisdiction.