Build capacity for land-use planning & GIS

Ontario Nature, in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society Canada, launched an innovative program in 2006 to increase the capacity of First Nations to respond to land-use activities within their traditional territories through the application of Geographic Information Systems or GIS (digital databases, analysis and mapping).

In our first training workshop, members from North Caribou Lake, Wunnumin Lake, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Slate Falls and Webequie First Nation gathered at our Boreal Conservation Office in Thunder Bay. The purpose of the workshop was to support training that would “even the playing field” for First Nations involved in land-use planning, and to build community response capacity to land and resource management decision-making processes. We have since delivered several additional workshops. Guest speakers have provided expertise on the basic process of archaeological research, technology for documenting traditional knowledge, concerns around the use or misuse of this information, and using GIS to create a picture of complex, biodiverse systems in a simplified manner. 

In 2010, we held three Land Use Planning and GIS workshops for First Nations communities in northeastern Ontario. The workshops covered technical skills required for conservation-based land use planning, including wildlife habitat and water resources. They also delved into the technical application of GIS which will help inform dialogue and decisions regarding how land should be used, and who benefits from resource development. Specific examples from northern Ontario were highlighted, such as the two-year study completed to support Grassy Narrows First Nation in identifying impacts from logging on their traplines, and in communicating community priorities to the forest industry.

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