Natural Heritage Information Centre
Database Information: Basic Concepts
"Element of Biodiversity" is the term coined by NatureServe used to refer to a species, subspecies, vegetation community, or special feature of the landscape. An Element Occurrence is defined as an area of land and/or water on/in which an element (e.g. species or ecological community) is or was present. What constitutes an occurrence depends on the element. For example, a bird occurrence is usually defined as a breeding area or migration staging area, but not a single sighting by a bird-watcher. A plant or vegetation community occurrence is usually any place where it occurs naturally. Core Heritage Methodology applies observation, condition and life history information to define element occurrences which can be used for conservation planning purposes.
The NHIC maintains natural heritage information on a variety of natural areas in Ontario, including regulated national and provincial parks, Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest, OMNR evaluated wetlands and non-government organization properties. Information that is stored in our database includes location information, vegetation and landform information, ecological values, biodiversity significance and information on significant species and vegetation communities occurring within the natural areas boundaries.