Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Mary-Louise Byrne

Advisor Role

Professor, Chair


As park visitation increased to Point Pelee National Park up until its peak in 1963, the installation of infrastructure for the purpose of supporting the recreational interest grew with it. At Northwest Beach, large parking lots were built into the coastal landscape and by the 1970s large areas of sand dunes continued to be heavily impacted by the installation of visitor associated infrastructure. The infrastructure resulted in the stabilization of sand on the beach side of the parking lot, resulting in an artificially stabilized and heavily vegetated dune. Over the last few decades, the park slowly reduced the size and number of infrastructure and facilities to accommodate current visitor use trends.

This research focuses on determining the success of past management interventions that were implemented at Northwest Beach and the influence those interventions have had on restoring coastal ecosystem function and the endangered five-lined skink population. Since restoration is a long-term process, monitoring land use and land cover changes as well as outcomes of restoration activities is vital in progressing toward restoring ecosystem function and ecological integrity. The overall goal of this research is to identify the influence that coastal landform changes at Northwest Beach, Point Pelee National Park, have had on the endangered five-lined skink species abundance and distribution and to determine the success of past management interventions at Northwest Beach. Specific research objectives were to analyze change in land-use and land-cover at Northwest Beach and the influence past management interventions have had on landform change, to examine the abundance and distribution of the endangered five-lined skink population at Northwest Beach and determine the desired and most suitable habitat for the species, and to determine the coastal landform changes influence on the five-lined skink population abundance and distribution at Northwest Beach.

This research involves the land use land cover classification of aerial imagery from five sperate time periods across the Northwest Beach study area. The skink sighting abundance at Northwest Beach was comparatively analyzed with the abundance recorded throughout the entire Point Pelee National Park. The variation in abundance at Northwest Beach was evaluated along with the species distribution between the four research zones. The correlations between Northwest Beach management interventions and corresponding changes in land use and land cover as well as five-lined skink distribution and abundance were identified. Based on results of this research, additional management strategies for coastal restoration at Northwest Beach, Point Pelee were recommended. This study offers insight on the importance of specific rehabilitation practices for coastal habitat restoration to maintain ecological integrity and endangered species populations within Point Pelee National Park and broader practices that can be implemented in all coastal restoration projects.

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