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Arctic Ecozone+ highlights and key findings summary

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Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010
Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 14
Published by the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers

Cover page of the publication: Arctic Ecozone+ Highlights and Key Findings Summary

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Arctic Ecozone+ highlights and key findings summary.

Issued also in French under title:
Points saillants et sommaire des constatations clés pour l’écozone+ de l'Arctique.
Electronic monograph in PDF format.
ISBN: 978-1-100-25654-2
Cat. no.: En14-43/0-14-2015E-PDF

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Cover photos: Paul Loewen, iStock (Peary caribou); Urbanraven, iStock (lichen and bearberry)

This report should be cited as:
ESTR Secretariat. 2014. Arctic Ecozone+ highlights and key findings summary. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 14. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. ix + 106 p.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2014
Aussi disponible en français


The Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers developed a Biodiversity Outcomes FrameworkFootnote1 in 2006 to focus conservation and restoration actions under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.Footnote2 Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010Footnote3 was the first report under this framework. It presents 22 key findings that emerged from synthesis and analysis of background technical reports prepared on the status and trends for many cross-cutting national themes (the Technical Thematic Report Series) and for individual terrestrial and marine ecozones+ of Canada (the ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessments). More than 500 experts participated in data analysis, writing, and review of these foundation documents. Summary reports were also prepared for each terrestrial ecozone+ to present the ecozone+-specific evidence related to each of the 22 national key findings (the Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report Series). Together, the full complement of these products constitutes the 2010 Ecosystem Status and Trends Report (ESTR).

Figure Ecosystem Status and Trends
Long description for Figure Ecosystem Status and Trends (ESTR)


This report, Arctic Ecozone+ Highlights and Key Findings Summary, differs from the other summaries. It consists of two parts. The first part presents highlights from the full Arctic Ecozone+ status and trends assessment, providing an overview of the ESTR findings for the Arctic and providing a foundation for further work on ecological indicators and ecological assessment. The second part presents a table that summarizes the evidence from the Arctic Ecozone+ related to the 22 national key findings. The full technical assessment for the Arctic should be consulted for further information and discussion of ecological context, and for source references. Note that the technical report was updated from a 2010 draft, and it is based partly on the national thematic trend analyses. The time span of all trends presented is specified; in some cases more recent data may be available.
The Arctic component of ESTR covers Canada’s terrestrial and freshwater Arctic ecosystems, essentially the landmass north of treeline (referred to as the Arctic Ecozone+). Jurisdictions within the Arctic Ecozone+ are all of Nunavut and northern Northwest Territories, Yukon, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the homeland of Canadian Inuit.  

Ecological classification system – ecozones+

A slightly modified version of the Terrestrial Ecozones of Canada, described in the National Ecological Framework for CanadaFootnote4, provided the ecosystem-based units for all reports related to this project. Modifications from the original framework include: adjustments to terrestrial boundaries to reflect improvements from ground-truthing exercises; the combination of three Arctic ecozones into one; the use of two ecoprovinces – Western Interior Basin and Newfoundland Boreal; the addition of nine marine ecosystem-based units; and the addition of the Great Lakes as a unit. This modified classification system is referred to as “ecozones+” throughout these reports to avoid confusion with the more familiar “ecozones” of the original framework.Footnote5

Ecological classification framework for the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report for Canada.
Long Description for Ecozones+ map of Canada

This map of Canada shows the ecological classification framework for the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report, named “ecozones+”. This map shows the distribution of 15 terrestrial ecozones+ (Atlantic Maritime; Newfoundland Boreal; Taiga Shield; Mixedwood Plains; Boreal Shield; Hudson Plains; Prairies; Boreal Plains; Montane Cordillera; Western Interior Basin; Pacific Maritime; Boreal Cordillera; Taiga Cordillera; Taiga Plains; Arctic), two large lake ecozones+ (Great Lakes; Lake Winnipeg), and nine marine ecozones+ (North Coast and Hecate Strait; West Coast Vancouver Island; Strait of Georgia; Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf; Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence; Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves; Hudson Bay, James Bay and Fox Basin; Canadian Arctic Archipelago; Beaufort Sea).


This report was written and designed by Joan Eamer, with editing and review by Patrick Lilley of the ESTR Secretariat. This report is based on the Arctic Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment. Acknowledgements for that assessment are listed below.

Arctic Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment acknowledgements
Lead authors: J. Eamer, G. Henry, A. Gunn and L. Harding
Contributing authors: R. Brown, S. Carrière,B. Collins, S. Elmendorf, G. Gauthier, J. Goulet, C. Haas, E. Jacobsen, J. Paquet, T. Prowse, A. Shabbar, R. Smith and L. Toretti
Authors of ESTR Thematic Technical Reports from which material is drawn
Ecological classification system for the ecosystem status and trends report: R. Rankin, M. Austin, and J. Rice
Guidance for the preparation of ESTR products – classifying threats to biodiversity: C. Wong
Guidance for the preparation of ESTR products – land classification scheme: J. Frisk
Large-scale climate oscillations influencing Canada, 1900–2008: B. Bonsal and A. Shabbar
Canadian climate trends, 1950–2007: X. Zhang, R. Brown, L. Vincent, W. Skinner, Y. Feng, and E. Mekis
Wildlife pathogens and diseases in Canada: F.A. Leighton
Trends in permafrost conditions and ecology in northern Canada: S. Smith
Northern caribou population trends in Canada: A. Gunn, D. Russell, and J. Eamer
Landbird trends in Canada, 1968–2006: C. Downes, P. Blancher, and B. Collins
Trends in Canadian shorebirds: C. Gratto-Trevor, R.I.G. Morrison, B. Collin, J. Rausch, M. Drever, and V. Johnston
Monitoring biodiversity remotely: a selection of trends measured from satellite observations of Canada: F. Ahern, J. Frisk, R. Latifovic, and D. Pouliot
Biodiversity in Canadian lakes and rivers: W.A. Monk and D.J. Baird
Review conducted by scientists and renewable resource and wildlife managers from relevant territorial and federal government agencies through a review process recommended by the ESTR Steering Committee. Additional reviews of specific sections conducted by university researchers in their field of expertise at the request of the authors. Peer review of the final draft coordinated by the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution. The report was greatly improved by the reviews of D. Berteaux, P. Hale, and one anonymous reviewer.
Direction provided by the ESTR Steering Committee composed of representatives of federal, provincial and territorial agencies.
Editing, synthesis, technical contributions, maps and graphics, and report production by the ESTR Secretariat, J. Eamer, M. Osmond-Jones, P. Lilley, K. Badger, E. Jacobsen, and M. Connolly.

Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge compiled from publicly available sources by D. Hurlburt.


Footnote 1

Return to reference1

Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments of Canada. 2010. Canadian biodiversity: ecosystem status and trends 2010. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. vi + 142 p.

Footnote 2

Return to reference2

Eamer, J., Gunn, A. and Harding, L. In Prep. 2013. Arctic Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment. Technical Background Reports: Ecosystem Status and Trends Report for Canada. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers.

Footnote 3

Return to reference3

CAFF. 2010. Arctic biodiversity trends 2010 - selected indicators of change. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna International Secretariat. Akureyri, Iceland. 121 p.

Footnote 4

Return to reference4

CAFF. 2013. Arctic biodiversity assessment: status and trends in Arctic biodiversity. Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna. Akureyri, Iceland.

Footnote 5

Return to reference5

AMAP. 2006. AMAP assessment 2006: acidifying pollutants, arctic haze, and acidification in the Arctic. Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. Oslo, Norway. xii + 112 p.