Project Summary: Agricultural Resource Inventory (ARI) 1983

Table of Contents

  1. Objective
  2. Application
  3. Download Data


As of March 2010 the Agricultural Resource Inventory (ARI) is available as a single data set covering Southern Ontario (Figure 1).

Traditionally, land use data was collected from information gathered from air photos and plotted onto relatively small-scale maps (1:100,000 to 1:250,000). The result was overgeneralized land use categories such as "urban", "cropland" and "woodland". The ARI evaluates the mix of crops and classifies their proportion more specifically, thereby identifying land use systems which are valid over a long period of time such as "corn system", "reforestation" and "vineyard" (Figure 2). From July 1982 to March 1983 approximately 200 people, in-field and mapping crews, were employed to record and classify crop data.

Climate and soil conditions, crop demand and marketing facilities distinguish the system of land use in an area. The primary distinction of a land use system is made on the basis of whether it is a Mono-culture or Multi-culture system. Mono-culture systems are considered over time, (same crop every year), or can incorporate a rotation scheme of one crop one year and another the next year, using the same cultural practice (eg. row crops – beans followed by corn). Multi-culture systems consist of two or more crops grown each year with no rotation, or a system of two or more crops grown in a field rotation.

The ARI methodologies are included in the product that is downloadable from Land Information Ontario (LIO). Originally, these maps were published as package products available as individual county data sets through LIO.

Through project partnerships with other agencies, all of the county maps have been stitched together to cover Southern Ontario as a single data set. The county data sets have subsequently been replaced by this data set within the Land Information Ontario Warehouse. There are 36 municipalities included in the inventory.


The objective of the ARI is to indicate differences in farm operations in a way which would remain valid for a number of years. Every hectare of each township is given a land use designation, including non-agricultural land uses. The compiled base maps are geographically referenced for to aid the digitization process.


The ARI is used by farmers, land use planners, municipal officials, policy makers and the public to get a general sense of municipal land use practices. Mapping these systems provides an overview and reference of the location, quantity and quality of the use of agricultural land in Ontario. Accurate ARI information allows for more knowledgeable decision making. Improved decision making can enhance agricultural profitability, assist in crop planning and rotation, and aid the planning and monitoring of water and soil resources.

ARI 1983 Full Area Coverage

Figure 1. ARI 1983 Full Area Coverage.

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ARI 1983 Coverage by Landuse.

Figure 2. ARI 1983.

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Download Data

Please visit the Land Information Ontario (LIO) website to download the Agricultural Resource Inventory dataset.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 10 May 2010
Last Reviewed: 10 May 2010