Taiga Shield Ecozone+ Evidence for Key Findings Summary
The Taiga Shield extends from the Northwest Territories to Labrador on both sides of Hudson Bay. It is a lightly-populated expanse of open forest, shrubland, tundra, and wetlands overlying the Precambrian Shield. The major localized stressor is hydroelectric development, principally on the eastern side of Hudson Bay, though there is also mining exploration and development across the ecozone+. Climate change affects the entire ecozone+.
|Area||1,346,430 km2 (14% of Canada)|
|Topography||Open forest dominated by small conifers, thinning to shrubland and tundra as latitude increases (Figure 2) About 13% covered by wetlands Footnote18|
The climate is very different east and west of Hudson Bay, with the west being colder and drier:Footnote19
West of Hudson Bay, drains to:
|Geology||Underlain by Precambrian Shield,with 75% of land surface covered by glacial till Most of the ecozone+is 100-600 m above sea level|
|Permafrost||Regions of continuous and discontinuous permafrost west of Hudson Bay Sporadic permafrost through most of the Taiga Shield east of Hudson Bay|
|Settlement||Sparsely populated (42,000 in 2006), with a number of small communities (Figure 3) The largest community is Yellowknife, NT (20,000 in 2006) About 60% of population is Aboriginal|
|Economy||Wildlife, fishing, and fur trade are important to the wage and non-wage economies of many small communities Mining, mineral exploration, hydroelectric development, and transportation, along with provision of government services, are mainstays of the wage economy|
|Development||Active mining exploration and development for base metals, gold, diamonds Hydroelectric projects, current and projected, especially east of Hudson Bay|
Jurisdictions: The Taiga Shield ecozone+ extends across the northern parts of five provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and the northeast corner of Alberta) and two territories (southern Nunavut and a substantial part of the Northwest Territories). About 60% of the population is Aboriginal: Algonquin-based Aboriginal peoples in the east (James Bay Cree, Cree, Innu, and the Labrador Inuit), and Athapaskan-based groups (Inuit, Sahtu Dene, Akaitcho, and Tlicho) and Métis in the west. Aboriginal government structures and powers vary widely across the region, depending on the status of land claims settlements.
East-west split: The Taiga Shield ecozone+ is divided into eastern and western sections by Hudson Bay. While both parts share many characteristics, the wide geographic separation, combined with differing climatic and jurisdictional influences, means they must often be discussed separately.
Source: Environment Canada, 2009Footnote20
Long Description for Figure 3.
This bar graph depicts the following information:
|Year||Number of people|
- Footnote 16
Ahern, F., Frisk, J., Latifovic, R. and Pouliot, D. 2011. Monitoring ecosystems remotely: a selection of trends measured from satellite observations of Canada. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 17. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON.
- Footnote 18
Wiken, E., Moore, H. and Latsch, C. 2004. Peatland and wetland protected areas in Canada. Wildlife Habitat Canada Science Report. Wildlife Habitat Canada. Ottawa, ON. 18 p.
- Footnote 19
Peckham, S.D., Ahl, D.E., Serbin, S.P. and Gower, S.T. 2008. Fire-induced changes in green-up and leaf maturity of the Canadian boreal forest. Remote Sensing of Environment112:3594-3603.
- Footnote 20
Environment Canada. 2009. Unpublished analysis of population data by Ecozone+ from: Statistics Canada Human Activity and the Environment Series, 1971-2006. Community profile data was used to make adjustments due to differences in the ecozone/Ecozone+ boundary.
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