NCC Definition Questions

  1. ANSI, Area of Natural and Scientific Interest
    An area of land and water containing natural landscapes or features that have been identified as having life science or earth science values related to protection, scientific study or education under the Provincial Policy Statement (1996). These areas can be identified as having provincial or regional significance and can be situated on crown or private land. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources administers the ANSI program.
  2. Biodiversity
    The word "biodiversity" is a contraction of "biological diversity" and is commonly used to describe the number, variety and variability of living organisms. Biodiversity is commonly defined in terms of the variability of genes, species and ecosystems, corresponding to these three fundamental and hierarchically related levels of biological organization.
  3. Biodiversity Target
    An element of biodiversity selected as a focus for conservation planning or action. The three principle types of targets are species, ecological communities and ecological systems.
  4. Biome
    A regional ecosystem characterized by distinct types of vegetation, animals, and microbes that have developed under specific soil and climatic conditions.
  5. Coarse-filter
    An approach to assess and conserve species diversity by providing adequate representation (distribution and abundance) of ecological systems. The coarse-filter approach scores, compares and selects from among equivalent land units, terrestrial ecological systems in this case, and is often followed by and combined with a fine-filter approach.
  6. Condition
    Measures the degree of which anthropogenic disturbances have occurred at a site. Currently, the condition of a site can only be accurately determined through field inspection.
  7. Conservation Goal
    The number and spatial distribution of occurrences of targeted species, vegetation communities and/or ecological systems considered necessary to adequately conserve the target in an ecodistrict, physiographic region or tertiary watershed.
  8. Conservation Lands
    Natural areas that are managed or regulated (e.g., through land-use policy) for the long-term protection of their significant natural heritage values. The conservation lands identified in the Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint include protected areas (National Parks, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, National Wildlife Areas, Provincial Parks, Conservation Reserves), as well as Provincially Significant Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSIs), Provincially Significant Wetlands, Conservation Authority lands, and Nature Conservancy of Canada properties.
  9. Conservation Reserves
    Complement Provincial Parks in protecting representative natural areas and special landscapes and are regulated under the Public Lands Act. Most non-industrial resources uses (e.g., fur harvesting, commercial fishing and bait harvesting) are permitted if they are compatible with the values of individual reserves. Most recreational and non-commercial activities can continue in the area provided they pose little threat to the natural ecosystems and features protected by the conservation reserve.
    • Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada
    • A national committee of experts that assess and designate which wild species are in danger of disappearing from Canada.
  11. COSEWIC Seven Status Levels
    Extinction, Extirpation, Endangered, Threatened, Special Concern, Not at Risk, Data Deficient
  12. Extinct
    A species that no longer exists.
  13. Extirpated
    A species no longer existing in the wild in Canada, but occurs elsewhere.
  14. Endangered
    A species facing imminent extirpation or extinction.
  15. Threatened
    A species likely to become endangered if limiting factors are not reversed.
  16. Special Concern
    A wildlife species that may become a threatened or an endangered species because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.
  17. Not at Risk
    A species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk of extinction given the current circumstances.
  18. Data Deficient
    Species for which there is inadequate information to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction.
    • Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario
    • A provincial group of experts whose mandate is to evaluate and recommend a provincial status to candidate species and re-evaluate current species at risk for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. COSSARO employs a uniform, scientifically-based, defensible approach to status evaluations. The committee evaluates species by considering factors such as population size, trends and distribution, habitat trends and known threats. Based on its evaluation, COSSARO recommends the appropriate provincial status category for each candidate species. Once designated by the OMNR, assessed species are maintained on the OMNR’s SARO List.
  20. Declining Species
    Exhibit significant, long-term declines in habitat and/or abundance, are subject to a high degree of threat, or may have unique habitat or behavioural requirements that expose them to a great risk.
  21. Disjunct Species
    Have populations that are geographically isolated from each other by at least one ecoregion.
  22. Diversity
    The variety of living organisms considered at all levels of organization including the genetic, species, and higher taxonomic levels. Biological diversity includes the variety of habitats, ecosystems and natural processes occurring within them.
  23. Ecodistrict
    A subdivision of an ecoregion characterized by distinctive assemblages of relief, geology, landforms and soils, vegetation, water, fauna, and land use.
  24. Ecological Functions
    The natural processes, products or services that living and non-living environments provide or perform within or between species, ecosystems and landscapes. These may include biological, physical and socio-economic interactions.
  25. Ecological System
    Dynamic spatial assemblages of ecological communities characterized by both biotic and abiotic components that 1) occur together on the landscape; 2) are tied together by similar ecological processes (e.g., fire, hydrology), underlying environmental features (e.g., soils, geology) or environmental gradients (e.g., elevation, hydrologically-related zones); and 3) form a robust, cohesive, and distinguishable unit on the ground.
  26. Element
    Refers to an element of biodiversity, a term used by CDCs and NatureServe to refer to the forms of biodiversity upon which CDCs and NatureServe compile information: species (including sub-species, varieties and hybrids) and natural communities.
  27. Element Occurrence (EO)
    An area of land and/or water in which a species or natural community is, or was, present. An EO should have practical conservation value for the element (species or vegetation community) as evidenced by potential continued (or historical) presence and/or regular recurrence at a given location. For species, the EO often corresponds with the local population, but when appropriate may be a portion of a population (e.g., long-distance dispersers) or a group of nearby populations (e.g., metapopulation). For vegetation communities, the EO may represent a stand or patch of a natural community, or a cluster of stands or patches of a natural community. The Natural Heritage Information Centre is the central repository for Element Occurrence records.
  28. Endemic
    A species or ecological system that is restricted to a region, such as the Great Lakes ecoregion. Many endemic species and systems are generally considered more vulnerable to extinction due to their dependence on a single area for their survival.
  29. Fine-filter
    An approach to assess and conserve species diversity, in conjunction with a coarse-filter approach, for viable native species and ecological communities that cannot be reliably conserved through a coarse-filter and may require individual attention. Fine-filter targets include globally imperiled species (G1 to G3G4), species at risk, endemic species, declining species, disjunct species, focal species, wide-ranging species and rare vegetation communities.
  30. Focal Species
    Have spatial, compositional, and functional requirements that may encompass those of other species in the region and may help address the functionality of ecological systems. Examples include keystone species, wide-ranging species, and cave-dwelling species.
  31. Globally Imperiled Species
    Have been assigned a global rank of G1 or G2 by NatureServe (
  32. GRank (Global Rank)
    The overall status of a species or ecological community is regarded as its "global" status; this range-wide assessment of condition is referred to as its global conservation status rank (GRank). Global conservation status assessments are generally carried out by NatureServe scientists with input from relevant natural heritage member programs (such as the NHIC in Ontario) and experts on particular taxonomic groups, and are based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative information. The factors considered in assessing conservation status include the total number and condition of occurrences; population size; range extent and area of occupancy; short- and long-term trends in these previous factors; scope, severity, and immediacy of threats, number of protected and managed occurrences, intrinsic vulnerability and environmental specificity.
  33. Global Ranking Definition: G1, Critically Imperiled
    At very high risk of extinction due to extreme rarity (often 5 or fewer populations), very steep declines, or other factors.
  34. Global Ranking Definition: G2, Imperiled
    At high risk of extinction due to a very restricted range, very few populations (often 20 or fewer), steep declines, or other factors.
  35. Global Ranking Definition: G3, Vulnerable
    At moderate risk of extinction due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors.
  36. Global Ranking Definition: G4, Apparently Secure
    Uncommon but not rare; some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.
  37. Global Ranking Definition: G5, Secure
    Common; widespread and abundant.
  38. Global Ranking Definition: GH
    Possibly Extinct (species)- missing; known from only historical occurrences but still some hope of rediscovery or Presumed Eliminated (historic, ecological communities)- Presumed eliminated throughout its range, with no or virtually no likelihood that it will be rediscovered but with the potential for restoration.
  39. Global Ranking Definition: GX
    Presumed extinct (species)- not located despite intensive searches and virtually no likelihood of rediscovery or Eliminated (ecological communities) - Eliminated throughout its range, with no restoration potential due to extinction of dominant or characteristic species
  40. Global Ranking Definition: GU
    Unrankable, currently unrankable due to lack of information or due to substantially conflicting information about status or trends. Whenever possible, the most likely range is assigned and the question mark qualifier is added (e.g., G2?) to express uncertainty, or a range rank (e.g., G2G3) is used to delineate the limits (range) or uncertainty
  41. Global Ranking Definition:?
    Denotes inexact numeric rank (i.e., G4?).
  42. Global Ranking Definition: G?
    Unranked, or, if following a ranking, rank tentatively assigned (e.g., G3?)
  43. Global Ranking Definition: Q
    Questionable taxonomy- taxonomic distinctiveness of this entity at the current level is questionable
  44. Global Ranking Definition: T
    Denotes that the rank applies to a subspecies or variety.
  45. Limited Species
    Are nearly restricted to the Great Lakes ecoregion. These are species that are not "true" endemics because there may be populations outside the ecoregion. However, the core part of the species range is in the Great Lakes ecoregion.
  46. Muskeg
    This is the term used for peatlands (bogs and fens) by the Ontario Forest Resource Inventory, one of the digital mapping sources used in the analysis of the Conservation Blueprint.
  47. NRVIS, Natural Resources and Values Information System
    The Ontario governments’ Geographical Information System (GIS) platform for storing, maintaining and managing tabular and spatial geographic information according to province-wide standards.
  48. Peripheral
    Species or ecological systems that are located closer to the outer boundaries of an ecoregion than to the centre and are not widespread throughout the ecoregion (e.g., where the Great Lakes ecoregion is the extreme edge of the species' range).
  49. Primary Target
    An element of biodiversity selected as a focus for conservation planning or action. The three main types of targets are species, vegetation communities and ecological systems.
  50. PSW, Provincially Significant Wetlands
    Wetlands evaluated using the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ Ontario Wetland Evaluation System (OWES) and determined to be of provincial significance. Provincially significant wetlands are afforded protection from development through the Provincial Policy Statement if they occur south and east of the Canadian Shield. Evaluated wetlands can occur on either Crown or private land.
  51. Protected Areas
    Natural area designation that is regulated under legislation such as the National Parks Act, Provincial Parks Act or the Public Lands Act. Protected areas identified in the Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint include National Parks, National Wildlife Areas, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries, Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves.
  52. Rare Vegetation Communities
    Ecological communities that have been identified by the Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC) and have been ranked as provincially significant (S1, S2 or S3).
  53. SAR, Species at Risk
    Species designated as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern by either the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) or the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
  54. SARO, Species At Risk in Ontario List
    List issued by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. These status designations apply to the provincial level, and are used in the application of Ontario's legislation and policy for the protection of species at risk and their habitat. Ontario status designations are the product of complementary review and assessment processes implemented at national and provincial levels. The provincial review process is implemented by the OMNR's Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario (COSSARO), which includes non-OMNR representation.
  55. SARO Status Designations: EXT, Extinct
    A species that no longer exists anywhere
  56. SARO Status Designations: EXP, Extirpated
    A species that no longer exists in the wild in Ontario but still occurs elsewhere
  57. SARO Status Designations: END-R, Endangered (Regulated)
    A species facing imminent extinction or extirpation in Ontario which has been regulated under Ontario's Endangered Species Act (ESA)
  58. SARO Status Designations: END, Endangered (Not Regulated)
    A species facing imminent extinction or extirpation in Ontario which is a candidate for regulation under Ontario's ESA
  59. SARO Status Designations: THR, Threatened
    A species that is at risk of becoming endangered in Ontario if limiting factors are not reversed
  60. SARO Status Designations: SC, Special Concern
    A species with characteristics that make it sensitive to human activities or natural events (formerly Vulnerable)
  61. SARO Status Designations: NAR, Not at Risk
    A species that has been evaluated and found to be not at risk (formerly Not In Any Category)
  62. SARO Status Designations: DD, Data Deficient
    A species for which there is insufficient information for a provincial status recommendation (formerly Indeterminate)
  63. Secondary Target
    An element of biodiversity (species or vegetation community) that is of some conservation concern in the Ontario portion of the Great Lakes. Occurrences of secondary biodiversity targets were included in the Conservation Blueprint portfolio where their occurrence coincided with either a primary target occurrence, a protected area or conservation land.
  64. SRank (Provincial Rank)
    Provincial (or Subnational) ranks are used by the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre to set conservation priorities for rare species and vegetation communities. These ranks are not legal designations. Provincial ranks are assigned in a manner similar to that described for global ranks, but consider only those factors within the political boundaries of Ontario. Comparison of global and provincial ranks, gives an indication of the status and rarity of an element in Ontario in relation to its overall conservation status, therefore providing insight into the urgency of conservation action for it in the province. The NHIC evaluates provincial ranks on a continuous basis and produces updated lists annually.
  65. SRank: S1
    Extremely rare in Ontario; usually 5 or fewer occurrences in the province or very few remaining individuals; often especially vulnerable to extirpation
  66. SRank: S2
    Very rare in Ontario; usually between 6 and 20 occurrences in the province or withmany individuals in fewer occurrences; often susceptible to extirpation
  67. SRank: S3
    Rare to uncommon in Ontario; usually between 21 and 100 occurrences in the province; may have fewer occurrences, but with a large number of individuals in some populations; may be susceptible to large-scale disturbances.
  68. SRank: S4
    Common and apparently secure in Ontario; usually with more than 100 occurrences in the province
  69. SRank: S5
    Very common and demonstrably secure in Ontario
  70. SRank: SH
    Historically known from Ontario, but not verified recently (typically not recorded in the province in the last 20 years); however suitable habitat is thought to be still present in the province and there is reasonable expectation that the species may be rediscovered
  71. SRank: C
    Captive/Cultivated; existing in the province only in a cultivated state; introduced population not yet fully established and self-sustaining
  72. SRank: S?
    Not ranked yet, or if following a ranking, rank uncertain (e.g., S3?). S? species have not had a numerical rank assigned
  73. SRank: SA
    Accidental; of accidental or casual occurrence in the province; far outside its normal range; some accidental species may occasionally breed in the province
  74. SRank: SAB
    Breeding accidental
  75. SRank: SAN
    Non-breeding accidental
  76. SRank: SE
    Exotic; not believed to be a native component of Ontario's flora or fauna
  77. SRank: SR
    Reported for Ontario, but without persuasive documentation which would provide a basis for either accepting or rejecting the report
  78. SRank: SRF
    Reported falsely from Ontario
  79. SRank: SU
    Unrankable, often because of low search effort or cryptic nature of the species, there is insufficient information available to assign a more accurate rank; more data is needed
  80. SRank: SX
    Apparently extirpated from Ontario, with little likelihood of rediscovery. Typically not seen in the province for many decades, despite searches at known historic sites
  81. SRank: SZ
    Not of practical conservation concern inasmuch as there are no clearly definable occurrences; applies to long distance migrants, winter vagrants, and eruptive species, which are too transitory and/or dispersed in their occurrence(s) to be reliably mapped; most such species are non-breeders, however, some may occasionally breed
  82. SRank: SZB
    Breeding migrants/vagrants
  83. SRank: SZN
    Non-breeding migrants/vagrants
  84. Tertiary Watershed
    Delineation of watersheds that are nesting within primary and secondary watersheds. Tertiary watersheds are convenient sizes for watershed management and planning, and are comparable to the scale of an ecodistrict.
  85. Wide-ranging Species
    Are highly mobile species that require large tracts of habitat for their survival. These include top-level predators, migratory mammals, birds and insects. The design of fully functioning networks of conservation sites needs to take into account the habitat requirements of such species, including factors such as linkages, natural corridors, interior habitats and roadless areas.
  86. Widespread
    Species or ecological systems occurring naturally throughout the Great Lakes ecoregion and considerably beyond the ecoregion.
Card Set
NCC Definition Questions
Questions to prepare for interview