The Ecozones of the World


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The climate of this ecoregion is cool and relatively dry. Annual precipitation ranges between to mm and the mean summer rainfall ranges from to mm. The eastern portion of the ecoregion is affected by Lake Superior climatic conditions. The mean annual temperature of Ecoregion 4 W is 0. This ecoregion is located on the Precambrian Shield. Bedrock types are dominated by very low-base granites, with bands of base-rich, ultramafic and greenstone minerals.

The terrain is irregular and, in places, quite rugged in the central and northern portions of the ecoregion Mackey et al. There are numerous rock-rimmed lakes. At the eastern end of the ecoregion, bedrock conglomerates and slates have been covered with glaciolacustrine clays and sands Williams, ; Williams et al. The Precambrian bedrock in the remainder of the ecoregion generally is overlain with thin, coarse ground moraine till. In the central and western portions, glaciolacustrine deposits are discontinuous and mixed with glaciofluvial deposits Zoltai, , Of note are the distinctive red, iron-bearing clays in the eastern portion of the ecoregion which have moderate lime content Hills and Morwick, Elsewhere in the ecoregion, the substrates and bedrock generally have low capacity to buffer acidity from atmospheric deposition Environment Canada, Mixed forest is the most extensive landcover class Sparse forest occurs on Deciduous forest fire cycles range between 70 and years, and fire intensity in such ecosystems is variable.

Mixed forest fire cycles tend to be shorter, because of the coniferous component, ranging between 63 and years van Sleeuwen, Numerous rock-rimmed lakes are characteristic of the landscape, especially in central and western locations. Most of the ecoregion drains through the Nelson Watershed along a complex system of minor waterways that eventually connect to the Seine River in the west.

The Pigeon River is one of the few major rivers in the ecoregion and flows eastward along the Ontario-Minnesota border through the Great Lakes Watershed to Lake Superior. The ecoregion is well drained. Vegetation communities are comprised of a mixture of boreal and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence species. Eastern white pine, white spruce, jack pine, and red pine grow on well-drained sites. Sugar maple, yellow birch, American basswood, ironwood, box elder, and bur oak inhabit some warmer-than-normal sites, particularly in the southeastern and southwestern part of the ecoregion.

Lowland habitats contain black spruce, white spruce, balsam fir, tamarack, and eastern white cedar, with lesser amounts of black ash, American elm, and red maple Maycock, ; Noble, Characteristic mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles in the ecoregion include moose, American black bear, snowshoe hare, hooded merganser, ruffed grouse, pileated woodpecker, hermit thrush, magnolia warbler, white-throated sparrow, central newt, spotted salamander, gray treefrog, western painted turtle, and northern red-bellied snake. Lake trout, lake chub, northern pike, burbot, golden shiner, bluntnose minnow, and rock bass, and many other species inhabit rivers and lakes.

Predominant land uses in the ecoregion include forestry, resource-based tourism, and agriculture. Thunder Bay is a large urban area with manufacturing e. The boundary between Ecoregions 4 W and 3 W is strongly correlated with temperature variables and geological differences.


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The western boundary with Ecoregion 4 S is based on precipitation and temperature variables Baldwin et al. Generally, Ecoregion 4 W has a distinctly more humid climate compared to the adjacent Ecoregion 4 S to the west, and a warmer climate than Ecoregion 3 W to the north. The Georgian Bay Ecoregion is situated on the southern portion of the Precambrian Shield, in south-central Ontario, extending from southeastern Lake Superior in the west to the central portion of the Ottawa River valley and the Quebec border in the east.

It encompasses 7,, ha 7. The climate of the Georgian Bay Ecoregion is cool-temperate and humid. The mean annual temperature range is 2.

Mean annual precipitation ranges between and 1, mm , and the mean summer rainfall is between and mm Mackey et al. This ecoregion is situated on the southern edge of the Precambrian Shield, with the underlying bedrock being comprised predominantly of migmatitic gneisses and felsic igneous rocks, but with some substantial areas of felsic plutonic, carbonate metasedimentary, and mafic rocks, and lesser amounts of various other types of bedrock Bennett et al.

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The Sudbury Basin is composed of volcanic ultramafic rocks. Marble outcrops are scattered throughout the southeastern portion of the ecoregion. The surficial geology of the ecoregion reflects its bedrock control. Other surficial materials and landforms are highly variable. Much of the bedrock is covered with ground moraine till of variable depth, however glaciofluvial materials associated with spillways and outwash deposits can also be found.

Aeolian deposits are rare. The terrain in the ecoregion varies considerably from weakly broken to strongly broken. Three quarters of the substrates in the ecoregion demonstrate low capacity to buffer the impacts of acidic precipitation Environment Canada, The land cover in this ecoregion is dominated by mixed forest A small percentage is classified as cutover or burn, because of the partial cutting systems that are used here, although the sparse forest class may account for some of the cutover area.

Water and land classified as pasture comprise The fire cycle in the mixed forests in the ecoregion ranges between 70 and years, the cycle being shorter with higher coniferous content. In jack pine systems, the fire cycle ranges from 50 to years, and fires tend to be stand replacing. In eastern white pine-red pine-jack pine ecosystems, the fire cycle ranges between 36 and years. Several of these rivers have their source in this ecoregion. Lakes are prominent and characteristic features in most parts of the ecoregion, including large lakes like Nipissing, Muskoka, Joseph, Rosseau, Opeongo, Lake of Bays, Round, Golden, and Centennial.

This ecoregion is situated in the heart of the Great Lakes-St.

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It is characterized by a mixture of elements from both the south and the north, but Great Lakes—St. Lawrence forest species such as eastern white pine, red pine, eastern hemlock, and yellow birch are frequent throughout. In the past, red spruce was a much more prominent component of forests in this ecoregion, occupying similar sites to those occupied by eastern hemlock, but it has been eliminated as a major element of forest ecosystems here, due to poor silviculture Gordon, On mesic to dry mesic sites, sugar maple is a dominant species, and other hardwoods such as American beech, wild black cherry, American basswood, and white ash may be common as well, especially in the southern part of the ecoregion.

Boreal species such as black spruce, white spruce, balsam fir, jack pine, and tamarack are more localized and grow either on cooler-than-normal sites or where substrate conditions favour their growth over that of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence species Hills, ; Rowe, Balsam fir often is found in the understories, or as a lesser component in the canopies, of many forest stands Hills, Representative fauna include little brown bat, American black bear, moose, fisher, North American river otter, beaver, common loon, osprey, broad-winged hawk, ruby-throated hummingbird, pileated woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, winter wren, veery, Blackburnian warbler, black-throated blue warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, red-spotted newt, northern two-lined salamander, four-toed salamander, gray treefrog, pickerel frog, American bullfrog, snapping turtle, smooth greensnake, and northern ring-necked snake.

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In the numerous lakes and rivers, fish such as lake trout, brook trout, lake whitefish, yellow perch, walleye, bluegill, rock bass, brown bullhead, bluntnose minnow, northern redbelly dace, and golden shiner are found. The larger communities in the ecoregion include Sault Ste. Cottages have been constructed on the shoreline of many rivers and lakes in Ecoregion 5 E.

Commercial forestry and associated processing are important economic activities along with mining and tourism OMNR , Sudbury is the major mining centre within the ecoregion. Crossley Ontario Nature Nature Reserve. In the area of the Frontenac Axis, where the Precambrian shield extends southward into a more moderate macroclimatic zone, the boundary of Ecoregion 5 E has been delimited to account for the change in frequency of exposed bare rock ridges in relation to the surrounding clay plains i.

In addition to the climatic and geological correlations with this boundary, there are concomitant floristic and faunistic correlations. Its northern boundary with Ecoregion 4 E is strongly correlated with climatic variables, elevation, and geological differences Baldwin et al. It covers , ha or 0.

The climate in this ecoregion is cool-temperate and dry. It is characterized by warm, moist summers and cold winters, where the mean annual temperature is 1. The area is underlain by Precambrian gneissic and metavolcanic bedrock.

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In addition, there are morainal deposits and relatively deep glaciolacustrine deposits of calcareous clay and silt over the bedrock resulting from deeper inundations of post-glacial Lake Agassiz in most parts of the ecoregion. Lacustrine and aeolian sands occur along the shores of Lake of the Woods. Overall, the topography of the Ontario portion of the ecoregion is very weakly broken and undulating. Substrates generally are Gleysols, common in moist calcareous materials, Gray Luvisols with some evidence of Chernozemic development indicative of prairie vegetation and climatic influences , and deep peats that have developed on less basic sites.

Because of the calcareous clay deposits, most of the substrates in the ecoregion have high buffering capacity against acidity from atmospheric deposition Environment Canada, Pasture Deciduous forest fire return intervals range between 70 and years, and fires in such ecosystems are variable in intensity. Mixed forest fire cycles tend to be somewhat shorter, ranging between 63 and years van Sleeuwen, The Agassiz Clay Plain Ecoregion is a relatively wet ecosystem because its substrates are predominately clays and silts, with high water-holding capacity, and the landscape is relatively flat and poorly drained.

The western portion of the ecoregion is dominated by Lake of the Woods. Rainy River flows along the southern and southwestern edges of the Ontario portion of the ecoregion. Aside from these open water bodies, most of the water is located in peatlands and swamps. The entire ecoregion is located within the Nelson Watershed.

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The juxtaposition of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence, boreal, and prairie ecosystems results in distinctive and diverse vegetation communities. Lawrence Forest tree species are uncommon but present, and some of these species, such as sugar maple, red maple, wild black cherry, American basswood, and green ash, approach or reach their northern range limit here.

Boreal species such as white spruce, balsam fir, trembling aspen, and white birch are frequent Ecological Stratification Working Group, ; Rowe, On dry clays and rock outcrops, species such as bur oak, northern pin oak, and American elm, often with graminoid understories, form glades. Extensive wetlands with black spruce, tamarack, eastern white cedar, willow, and speckled alder have evolved in low lying, poorly drained sites. Lake trout, lake whitefish, northern pike, muskellunge, rock bass, pumpkinseed, black crappie, bluntnose minnow, and blacknose dace are characteristic species inhabiting rivers and lakes.


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Fort Frances and Rainy River are the largest towns in the ecoregion, with smaller agricultural and resource-based towns such as Emo and Stratton situated between them. Forestry, agriculture, and resource-based tourism are the predominant land uses in the ecoregion. The boundary of Ecoregion 5 S with that of Ecoregion 4 S to the north correlates with temperature variables, elevation, and surficial geology Baldwin et al.

This southern ecozone is situated on limestone and dolostone formations south of the Precambrian Shield. It encompasses 8,, ha or 8. Lawrence River. This ecozone extends into southern portions of Quebec along the St. Lawrence lowlands. The climate of this ecozone is cool to mild in a continental context, with cool winters and relatively warm summers. It has one of the mildest climates in Canada. The Great Lakes provide a moderating influence. It is also a relatively moist ecozone, receiving between and 1, mm of precipitation per year. The bedrocks in this ecozone are primarily limestone, sandstone, and shale of Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian ages, with outcrops of sandstone and shale.

Surficial materials and landforms are varied, with moraines, lacustrine deposits, and glaciofluvial deposits predominating. Marine silt and clay deposits associated with the post-glacial Champlain Sea occur in the Ottawa and St. Lawrence River valleys. Topographic variation is significant ranging from extremely flat terrain in the southwest and southeast to the rugged terrain of the Niagara Escarpment and numerous terminal and interlobate moraines. Substrates generally are well developed and fertile, and include Luvisols and Gleysols. Hydrology varies in relation to the surficial and bedrock features of the area, with rapid, high-gradient rivers flowing off the Escarpment, meandering slow rivers and streams in areas of low relief, and wetlands in depressions and in areas underlain by clay.

The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World
The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World
The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World
The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World
The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World
The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World
The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World
The Ecozones of the World The Ecozones of the World

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