Canadian Forest Service Publications

An Ecological Approach for Mapping Socio-Economic Data in Support of Ecosystems Analysis: Examples in Mapping Canada’s Forest Ecumene. 2020. Eddy,B.; Muggridge, M.; LeBlanc, R.; Osmond, J.; Kean, C.; Boyd, E. One Ecosystem 5.

Year: 2020

Issued by: Atlantic Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40545

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.3897/oneeco.5.e55881

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Integrating socio-economic dimensions in ecosystems analysis and management is becoming increasingly important, particularly from a mapping standpoint. A key challenge with such integration is reconciling different geospatial representations based on census and administrative frameworks with natural ecosystems boundaries.This article presents one method for addressing this challenge by mapping an information rich 'ecumene'. In this approach, communities are mapped as human habitats using natural boundaries as opposed to administrative-type boundaries, integrated with authoritative socio-economic data. To illustrate the benefits of this approach, two example applications are provided that: 1) map and estimate the population of the 'forest ecumene' of Canada, and 2) map labour force distribution patterns associated with the forest sector and its relation to forest areas in Canada. Benefits and limitations of this approach are discussed, from which a number of priority areas for future research are identified.

Plain Language Summary

When social and economic data are mapped for communities, provinces or regions, they are most commonly portrayed using administrative or census-type geographic boundaries. This makes it difficult to relate socio-economic patterns to natural resource and environmental patterns because the they do not naturally follow administrative boundaries. In fact, without proper care, data mapped using administrative boundaries can be misleading. This publication provides a new way of mapping social and economic data without using administrative boundaries. Instead, it uses ‘natural boundaries’ of communities that were delineated using satellite night light imagery. These boundaries were then integrated with official place names and census data. To demonstrate its application, this paper provides an analysis for estimating the population of forest communities across Canada, and also maps of regional labour force distribution for the forest industry. As a supplement, maps are also provided showing the labour force distribution for other natural resource sectors including mining/minerals, petroleum and coal, fisheries and agriculture. The LFDs for all five natural resource sectors can be directly compared and used in regional analysis and planning applications.