The Leap-frog Effect in the Context of Ontario's Greenbelt: An Analysis of Farmland Loss in the Unprotected Countryside

Drake, Emma
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University of Guelph

In December of 2004, the Ontario government introduced the Greenbelt Plan, protecting approximately 1 million acres of prime agricultural land in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. However, not all prime agricultural land in this region received Greenbelt protection. Concerns have been raised over potential increases in farmland loss in the unprotected countryside north of the Greenbelt, due to the leap-frog effect. This thesis examines official plan amendment data in the unprotected countryside to evaluate the presence of a leap-frog effect and determine how the conversion of prime agricultural land in the unprotected countryside has changed since the implementation of the Greenbelt Plan. Results show that the Greenbelt Plan has not spurred a typical leap-frog effect in the northern unprotected countryside but may have caused increased losses of prime agricultural land in the Whitebelt region of the Greater Toronto Area.

rural planning, Greenbelt, agriculture, farmland, leap-frog