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Guidelines to enhance the ecological value of cemeteries in southern Ontario

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Title: Guidelines to enhance the ecological value of cemeteries in southern Ontario
Author: Relyea, Diane
Department: School of Environmental Design and Rural Development
Program: Landscape Architecture
Advisor: Landman, Karen
Abstract: The cultural role of cemeteries is well defined, but the ecological importance of these sites is less recognized. As passively-used permanent greenspace, cemeteries have the potential to sustain biodiversity as surrounding land uses change. Informant interviews were conducted with professionals familiar with cemeteries and the funeral industry, and responses were compared within and between professions. Results of this study suggest that while cemeteries provide significant cultural and environmental benefits, their ecological potential is limited by factors including funding and legislation. In order to enhance the ecological value of cemetery sites, the incorporation of native trees and variable habitat within traditional cemetery designs should be considered to improve the quality of resources available to wildlife. Additionally,amendments should be made to the Provincial Policy Statement to include an independent land use designation for cemeteries and implement regional scale planning of these sites across Ontario.
Date: 2013-04
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