Why does there need to be a Grasslands Inventory?

Grasslands are vitally important ecosystems. They are also the most fragmented and altered terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. Conversion of grassland reduces its capacity to support biodiversity and further threatens to reduce critical services – carbon storage, nutrient cycling, forage production, water storage, and pollination.

Approximately 80-85% of Canada’s native grasslands have disappeared. Consequently, project partners recognize a need for ongoing, comprehensive grasslands inventory. While other land-use types are regularly assessed using a consistent methodology, there is no national inventory methodology applied to Canadian grasslands (native and tame). Further, grassland classification terminology has not been nationally defined, thus limiting effective collaboration across Canada. Management and accounting of ecological services have been hindered as a result.

What is proposed?

This project will identify and describe all existing grasslands inventories in Canada and determine how various inventories can be harmonized to develop a cohesive national grasslands inventory. The ultimate aim is to construct a national grasslands inventory, including all major grassland types and ecoregions. This would update and inform grassland policy, decision-making, and risk assessment across Canada going forward.

The inventory will also allow the Canadian grassland sector and stakeholders to more accurately assess carbon stores in grassland soils, and to predict real or expected loss of grasslands over time.

Who will contribute to the grassland inventory?

The project development team comprises agriculture representatives, NGOs, and provincial and federal collaborators. As such, the first and last components of this project will be to create a collaborative network that can drive grasslands inventory and remote sensing projects into the future.

Download the PDF here FAQ - Grassland Inventory

Manitoba Grassland Inventory

The Manitoba Grasslands Inventory is a collaborative effort among numerous agencies to create an inventory of grasslands - both native and tame - that exist in Manitoba. Ground truth data is being collected to be used for machine learning and development of a model that can interpret geospatial data in relation to the occurrence of grasslands. Using this model and current geospatial data, a real-time estimate of the extent and approximate location of grasslands in the province can be determined at any given time.

The goal of the ground truth data survey is to provide information about what currently exists at point around the province. This information is used to develop the model that relates geospatial data to what is actually on the ground. The categories of classification are coarse (native, tame, altered, and shrubs) but useful. Further information on the categories is shown below. The current efforts are intended to increase the accuracy of the classification of sites based on a collage of geospatial data from a variety of sources and spectra.

Ground Truth Data Collection

Ground truth data will be collected in the summer of 2022 using ESRI’s Field Maps and Survey123. Both applications can be downloaded for free from your app store to your phone. A smartphone is required to collect field data.  
How to Collect Data 
1) Download the free applications:   



2) Sign in to the app using the Field Manager login provided directly to you by CFGA. 
3) Search for the survey titled: Manitoba Grasslands Inventory