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Article

A multi-Criteria Wetland Suitability Index for Restoration across Ontario’s Mixedwood Plains

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Department of Geography & Environmental Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
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Graduate Programs in Environmental Applied Science & Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
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Graduate Program in Spatial Analysis, Ryerson University, Toronto, ON M5B 2K3, Canada
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Department of Geography, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14261, USA
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University of Michigan-Flint, Flint, MI 48502, USA
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The Michigan Institute for Data Science (MIDAS), Ann Arbor, MI 48108, USA
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The Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health, London SW9 7QF, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9953; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239953
Received: 7 November 2020 / Revised: 23 November 2020 / Accepted: 24 November 2020 / Published: 28 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Planning for Sustainability)
Significant wetland loss (~72%; 1.4 million hectares) in the Province of Ontario, Canada, has resulted in damage to important ecosystem services that mitigate the effects of global change. In response, major agencies have set goals to halt this loss and work to restore wetlands to varying degrees of function and area. To aid those agencies, this study was guided by four research questions: (i) Which physical and ecological landscape criteria represent high suitability for wetland reconstruction? (ii) Of common wetland suitability metrics, which are most important? (iii) Can a multi-criteria wetland suitability index (WSI) effectively locate high and low wetland suitability across the Ontario Mixedwood Plains Ecozone? (iv) How do best sites from the WSI compare and contrast to both inventories of presettlement wetlands and current existing wetlands? The WSI was created based on seven criteria, normalized from 0 (low suitability) to 10 (high suitability), and illustrated through a weighted composite raster. Using an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) and importance determined from a scoping review of relevant literature, soil drainage had the greatest meaning and weight within the WSI (48.2%). The Getis-Ord Gi* index charted statistically significant “hot spots” and “cold spots” of wetland suitability. Last, the overlay analysis revealed greater similarity between high suitability sites and presettlement wetlands supporting the severity of historic wetland cannibalization. In sum, this transferable modeling approach to regional wetland restoration provides a prioritization tool for improving ecological connectivity, services, and resilience. View Full-Text
Keywords: wetlands; multi-criteria evaluation; ecological restoration; analytical hierarchy process; landscape planning; land-use change; soil drainage; spatial analysis; scoping review; weighted index wetlands; multi-criteria evaluation; ecological restoration; analytical hierarchy process; landscape planning; land-use change; soil drainage; spatial analysis; scoping review; weighted index
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MDPI and ACS Style

Medland, S.J.; Shaker, R.R.; Forsythe, K.W.; Mackay, B.R.; Rybarczyk, G. A multi-Criteria Wetland Suitability Index for Restoration across Ontario’s Mixedwood Plains. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9953. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239953

AMA Style

Medland SJ, Shaker RR, Forsythe KW, Mackay BR, Rybarczyk G. A multi-Criteria Wetland Suitability Index for Restoration across Ontario’s Mixedwood Plains. Sustainability. 2020; 12(23):9953. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239953

Chicago/Turabian Style

Medland, Sally J., Richard R. Shaker, K. W. Forsythe, Brian R. Mackay, and Greg Rybarczyk. 2020. "A multi-Criteria Wetland Suitability Index for Restoration across Ontario’s Mixedwood Plains" Sustainability 12, no. 23: 9953. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239953

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