Landscape Ecology

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 575–590 | Cite as

Landscape changes and ecological studies in agricultural regions, Québec, Canada

  • Benoît Jobin
  • Jason Beaulieu
  • Marcelle Grenier
  • Luc Bélanger
  • Charles Maisonneuve
  • Daniel Bordage
  • Bernard Filion


Most landscape definitions in the western world are based on soil, climatic, or physiographic features and do not integrate humans as an integral part of the landscape. We present an approach where landscape types have been delineated in southern Québec, Canada based on current land use where anthropogenic and agricultural activities are concentrated as a practical application of the holistic approach in landscape definition. Landsat-TM satellite images were classified and the 27 habitat classes were regrouped into 5 general land cover classes (cash crop, dairy farming, forest, anthropogenic, wetlands) and overlaid onto soil landscape polygons to characterize natural boundary units. Cluster analyses were used to aggregate these polygons into seven agricultural types of land scape forming a gradient from urban and high-intensity cash crop farming activities to landscapes dominated by a mosaic of agriculture and forested areas. Multivariate analyses of raw data and of socio-economic and farming practices variables were used to describe the defined types of landscape and these were projected over three established land classification systems of southern Québec (Canadian ecoregions, North American Bird Conservation Initiative regions and Corn Heat Unit regions) to compare their similarity in terms of land cover and for planning of future ecological studies. Because agricultural landscapes are highly dynamic, they are bound to undergo changes in the near future. Our landscape delineation may serve as an experimental setup where land scape dynamics and wildlife populations and community structures could be monitored. Because the information we used to delineate and characterize agricultural landscape types is readily available in other countries, our approach could easily be adapted to similar data sources under and a wide variety of landscape types.

Agricultural landscapes Conservation Ecoregion Landscape delineation NABCI Québec Wildlife habitat 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anonymous 2000. North American Bird Conservation Initiative. Bird conservation region descriptions. A supplement to the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, Bird Conservation Region Map. US. NABCI Committee, September 2000. NABCI, Arlington, Virginia, USA. pp. 38.Google Scholar
  2. Askins R.A. 1993. Population trends in grassland, shrubland, and forest birds in eastern North America. In: Power D.M. (ed.), Current Ornithology Vol. 11. Plenum Press, New York, USA, pp. 1–34.Google Scholar
  3. Bailey R.G. 1983. Delineation of ecosystem regions. Environmen tal Management 7: 365–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett G.W. 1992. Landscape ecology: Designing sustainable ag ricultural landscapes. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 2: 83–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bastian O. 2001. Landscape Ecology-towards a unified discipline? Landscape Ecology 16: 757–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bélanger L. and Grenier M. 2002. Agriculture intensification and forest fragmentation in the St. Lawrence valley, Québec, Canada. Landscape Ecology 17: 495–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bélanger L., Grenier M. and Deslandes S. 2002. Report on habitat and land use in southern Québec. Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Québec Region, Internet page: February 2002.Google Scholar
  8. Bernert J.A., Eilers J.M., Sullivan T.J., Freemark K.E. and Ribic C. 1997. A quantitative method for delineating regions: an ex ample for the Western Corn Belt Plains Ecoregion of the USA. Environmental Management 21: 405–420.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bootsma A., Tremblay G. and Filion P. 1999. Risk analyses of heat units available for corn and soybean production in Québec. Technical Bulletin Contribution no. 991396, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Research Branch, Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, pp. 25.Google Scholar
  10. Bunce R.G.H., Barr C.J., Clarke R.T., Howard D.C. and Lane A.M.J. 1996a. ITE Merlewood land classification of Great Brit ain. Journal of Biogeography 23: 625–634.Google Scholar
  11. Bunce R.G.H., Barr C.J., Clarke R.T., Howard D.C. and Lane A.M.J. 1996b. Land classification for strategic ecological survey. Journal of Environmental Management 47: 37–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burel F., Baudry J., Butet A., Clergeau P., Delettre Y., Le Coeur D., Dubs F., Morvan N., Paillat G., Petit S., Thenail C., Brunel E. and Lefeuvre J.-C. 1998. Comparative biodiversity along a gradient of agricultural landscapes. Acta Oecologica 19: 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Büttner G., Feranec J. and Jaffrain G. 2002. Corine land cover up date 2000: Technical guidelines. Technical report No 89. Euro pean Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark.Google Scholar
  14. Canters K.J., den Herder C.P., de Veer A.A., Veelenturf P.W.M. and de Waal R.W. 1991. Landscape-ecological mapping of the Neth erlands. Landscape Ecology 5: 145–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research 1996. Soil Landscapes of Canada, v.2.2. Research Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
  16. Donald P.F., Green R.E. and Heath M.F. 2001. Agricultural inten sification and the collapse of Europe's farmland bird populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 268: 25–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dramstad W.E., Fjellstad W.J., Strand G.-H., Mathiesen H.F., En gan G. and Stokland J.N. 2002. Development and implementa tion of the Norwegian monitoring programme for agricultural landscapes. Journal of Environmental Management 64: 49–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Ducruc J.-P., Li T. and Bissonnette J. 1994. Small scale ecological mapping of Québec: Natural provinces and regions. In: Domon G. and Falardeau J. (eds), Landscape ecology in land use plan ning: methods and practice. Proceedings of the Fourth Workshop of the Canadian Society for Landscape Ecology and Management, pp. 45–53, Laval University, Ste. Foy, Québec, Canada, pp. 227.Google Scholar
  19. Dunn E.H., Downes C.M. and Collins B.T. 2000. The Canadian Breeding Bird Survey, 1967–1998. CWS Progress Note No. 216. Canadian Wildlife Service, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, pp. 40.Google Scholar
  20. Ecological Stratification Working Group 1995. A National Ecolog ical Framework for Canada. Report and national map at 1:7 500 000 scale. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch, Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research and Environment Canada, State of the Environment Directorate, Ecozone Analysis Branch, Ottawa/Hull, Ontaria, Canada.Google Scholar
  21. Forman R.T.T. 1995. Land Mosaics: The ecology of landscapes and regions. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. pp. 632.Google Scholar
  22. Franklin S.E., Dickson E.E., Farr D.R., Hansen M.J. and Moskal L.M. 2000. Quantification of landscape change from satellite re mote sensing. The Forestry Chronicle 76: 877–886.Google Scholar
  23. Freemark K.E., Dunning J.B., Hejl S.J. and Probst J.R. 1995. A landscape ecology perspective for research, conservation, and management. In: Martin T. and Finch D. (eds), Ecology and management of neotropical migratory birds. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA, pp. 381–427.Google Scholar
  24. Gilpin M., Gall G.A.E. and Woodruff D.S. 1992. Ecological dy namics and agricultural landscapes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 42: 27–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Iverson L.R. 1988. Land-use changes in Illinois, USA: The influ ence of landscape attributes on current and historic land use. Landscape Ecology 2: 45–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jobin B., DesGranges J.-L. and Boutin C. 1996. Population trends in selected species of farmland birds in relation to recent devel opments in agriculture in the St. Lawrence Valley. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 57: 103–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jongman R.H.G., ter Braak C.J.F. and van Tongeren O.F.R. (eds), 1995. Data analysis in community and landscape ecology. Cam bridge University Press, UK, pp. 299.Google Scholar
  28. Kelly N.M. 2001. Changes to the landscape pattern of coastal North Carolina wetlands under the Clean Water Act, 1984-1992. Landscape Ecology 16: 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lambin E.F., Rounsevell M.D.A. and Geist H.J. 2000. Are agricul tural land-use models able to predict changes in land-use inten sity? Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 82: 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Legendre P. and Legendre L. 1998. Numerical Ecology, Second English Edition. Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pp. 853.Google Scholar
  31. Luque S.S., Lathrop R.G. and Bognar J.A. 1994. Temporal and spatial changes in an area of the New Jersey Pine Barrens land scape. Landscape Ecology 9: 287–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Maisonneuve C., Bélanger L., Beaulieu J., Bordage D., Gabor S., Grenier M., Jobin B. and Filion B. 2001. Eastern Lowlands Initiative. Research Project. Progress Report. Société de la faune et des parcs du Québec. Canadian Wildlife Service, Québec Region, Ducks Unlimited Canada, Institute for Wetlands and Waterfowl Research, Québec, Ontario, Canada, pp. 26.Google Scholar
  33. MapInfo Corporation 2002. MapInfp Professional User's Guide v7.0. Troy, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  34. McDonnell M.J. and Pickett S.T.A. 1993. Human as Components of Ecosystems: The Ecology of Subtle Human Effects and Populated Areas. Springer-Verlag, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  35. Paquette S. and Domon G. 2001. Rural domestic landscape changes: a survey of the residential practices of local and mi grant populations. Landscape Research 26: 367–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Parody J.M., Cuthbert F.J. and Decker E.H. 2001. The effect of 50 years of landscape change on species richness and community composition. Global Ecology and Biogeography 10: 305–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Peterson C.H. 1993. Improvement of environmental impact analy sis by application of principles derived from manipulative ecol ogy: lessons from coastal marine case histories. Australian Journal of Ecology 18:2152.Google Scholar
  38. Rohlf F.J. 1998. NTSYSpc: Numerical Taxonomy and Multivariate Analysis System, version 2.0. User Guide. Exeter Software, Se tauket, New York, New York, USA.Google Scholar
  39. Rubec C.D.A. 1992. Thirty years of ecological land surveys in Canada from 1960 to 1990. In: Ingram G.B. and Ross M.R. (eds), Landscape approaches to wildlife and ecosystem manage ment. Proceedings of the second symposium of the Canadian society for landscape ecology and management, University of British Columbia, May 1990. pp.61–66. Polyscience Publications Inc., Montréal, Québec, Canada, pp. 267.Google Scholar
  40. Ružička M. and Miklós L. 1982. Landscape-ecological planning (LANDEP) in the process of territorial planning. Ekológia (cSSR) 1: 297–312.Google Scholar
  41. SAS Institute Inc. 1988. SAS/STAT User's Guide. Release 6.03. SAS Institute Inc., Cary, North Carolina, USA.Google Scholar
  42. Sabins F.F. 1987. Remote Sensing: principles and interpretation, Second Edition. W.H. Freeman Company, New York, New York, USA, pp. 449.Google Scholar
  43. Statistics Canada 1997a. Historical overview of Canadian agricul ture. Statistics Canada, Catalogue number 93-358-XPB. Ottawa, Canada, pp. 253.Google Scholar
  44. Statistics Canada 1997b. Agricultural Profile of Quebec. Census of Canada 1996, Agriculture, Catalogue No. 95-176-XPB. Ottawa, Canada, pp. 327.Google Scholar
  45. Stoate C., Boatman N.D., Borralho R.J., Rio Carvalho C., de Snoo G.R. and Eden P. 2001. Ecological impacts of arable intensifi cation in Europe. Journal of Environmental Management 63: 337–365.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Story M. and Congalton R.G. 1986. Accuracy assessment: A user's perspective. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 52: 397–399.Google Scholar
  47. Ter Braak C.J.F. and Smilauer P. 1998. CANOCO Reference Manual and User's Guide to Canoco for Windows: Software for Canonical Community Ordination (version 4). Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, NY, USA, pp. 352.Google Scholar
  48. Thibault M. 1985. Les régions écologiques du Québec méridional-Deuxième approximation. Ministère de l'Énergie et des Res sources du Québec, Service de la cartographie, Québec, Canada, 1 map.Google Scholar
  49. Turner M.G. 1990. Landscape changes in nine rural counties in Georgia. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 56: 379–386.Google Scholar
  50. Warner R.E. 1994. Agricultural land use and grassland habitat in Illinois: future shock for midwestern birds? Conservation Biol ogy 8: 147–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wildlife Habitat Canada 2001. The Status of Wildlife Habitats in Canada-2001. Wildlife Habitat Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.Google Scholar
  52. Wu J. and Hobbs R. 2002. Key issues and research priorities in landscape ecology: An idiosyncratic synthesis. Landscape Ecol ogy 17: 355–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Zheng D., Wallin D.O. and Hao Z. 1997. Rates and patterns of landscape change between 1972 and 1988 in the Changbai Mountain area of China and North Korea. Landscape Ecology 12: 241–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benoît Jobin
    • 1
  • Jason Beaulieu
    • 2
  • Marcelle Grenier
    • 1
  • Luc Bélanger
    • 1
  • Charles Maisonneuve
    • 3
  • Daniel Bordage
    • 1
  • Bernard Filion
    • 2
  1. 1.Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment CanadaSainte-FoyCanada
  2. 2.Canards Illimités CanadaQuébecCanada
  3. 3.Société de la faune et des parcs du Québec, Direction de la recherche sur la fauneQuébecCanada

Personalised recommendations