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Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+ evidence for key findings summary

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Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010

Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 10
Published by the Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers


Document Information

Cover page

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+ evidence for key findings summary.

Issued also in French under title:
Sommaire des éléments probants relativement aux constatations clés pour les écozones+ du Bouclier boréal et Boréale de Terre-Neuve.
Electronic monograph in PDF format.
ISBN 978-1-100-24959-9
Cat. no.: En14-43/0-10-2010E-PDF

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Cover photos: Boreal chickadee, © istockphoto.com/C. Griggs and Pukaskwa National Park, © istockphoto.com/vividus

This report should be cited as:
ESTR Secretariat. 2014. Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+ evidence for key findings summary. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Evidence for Key Findings Summary Report No. 10. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. xv--198 p.

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2014

Aussi disponible en français

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Preface

The Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers developed a Biodiversity Outcomes FrameworkFootnote2 in 2006 to focus conservation and restoration actions under the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy.Footnote5 Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010Footnote6 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 Assessment Report Series). 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).

2010 Ecosystem Status and Trends Report (ESTR)
report

This report, Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+ Evidence for Key Findings Summary, presents evidence from the Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+ related to the 22 national key findings and highlights important trends specific to these ecozones+. This summary report draws from the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Status and Trends AssessmentFootnote7 and the draft Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment, as well as the national Technical Thematic Report series that were part of the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report program. It is not a comprehensive assessment of all ecosystem-related information. The level of detail presented on each key finding varies and important issues or datasets may have been missed. Some emphasis has been placed on information from the national Technical Thematic Report Series. As in all ESTR products, the time frames over which trends are assessed vary – both because time frames that are meaningful for these diverse aspects of ecosystems vary and because the assessment is based on the best available information, which is over a range of time periods.

Although the Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+ were treated in separate reports in the Status and Trends Assessments, they were combined for this Evidence for Key Findings Summary because some of the Technical Thematic reports combined these ecozones+ and because the original frameworkFootnote8 combined these areas into one Boreal ecozone. Whenever possible, information for the two ecozones+ was distinguished for this report.

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Ecological classification system – ecozones+

A slightly modified version of the Terrestrial Ecozones of Canada, described in the National Ecological Framework for Canada,Footnote9 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.Footnote8 For the Boreal Shield, the boundary between the Hudson Plains and Boreal Shield ecozones was updated within Ontario, and Newfoundland is treated as a separate ecozone+, the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

Ecological classification framework for the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report for Canada.

map

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).

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Acknowledgements

The ESTR Secretariat acknowledges Gregg Sheehy, Shelley Pardy Moores, and Isabelle Turcotte for the preparation of various drafts of the report. This report was overseen and edited by Emily Gonzales. Kelly Badger was the lead graphics designer. Additional support was provided by Ellorie McKnight, Michelle Connolly, Eric Jacobsen, Clementine Hiltner, and others. It is based on the draft Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Status and Trends AssessmentFootnote7 and the draft Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment. Other experts made significant contributions to that draft report and are listed below. Reviews were provided by scientists and resource managers from relevant provincial/territorial and federal government agencies. The Canadian Society of Ecology and Evolution also coordinated reviews with external experts.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment acknowledgements

Lead authors: I. Turcotte, L. Venier, and D. Kirk

Contributing authors: J. Boyd, M. McLaughlan, B. Dalton, R. Miller, B. Rodrigues, E. Muto, K. Pawley, É. Cadieux and A.-M. Turgeon

Authors of ESTR Thematic Technical Reports from which material is drawn
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
Trends in large fires in Canada, 1959–2007: C.C. Krezek-Hanes, F. Ahern, A. Cantin, and M.D. Flannigan
Wildlife pathogens and diseases in Canada: F.A. Leighton. Contributors: I.K. Barker, D. Campbell, P.-Y. Daoust, Z. Lucus, J. Lumsden, D. Schock, H. Schwantje, K. Taylor, and G. Wobeser
Trends in breeding waterfowl in Canada: M. Fast, B. Collins, and M. Gendron
Trends in permafrost conditions and ecology in northern Canada: S. Smith
Northern caribou population trends in Canada: A. Gunn, D. Russell, and J. Eamer
Woodland caribou, boreal population, trends in Canada: C. Callaghan, S. Virc, and J. Duffe
Landbird trends in Canada, 1968–2006: C. Downes, P. Blancher, and B. Collins. Contributors: G. Falardeau, K. Mawhinney, J. Paquet, M. Cadman, L. Friesen, K. Hannah, B. Dale, W. Easton, and P. Sinclair
Trends in Canadian shorebirds: C. Gratto-Trevor, R.I.G. Morrison, B. Collins, J. Rausch, and V. Johnston
Trends in wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land in Canada, 1986–2006: S.K. Javorek and M.C. Grant
Trends in residual soil nitrogen for agricultural land in Canada, 1981–2006: C.F. Drury, J.Y. Yang, and R. De Jong
Soil erosion on cropland: introduction and trends for Canada: B.G. McConkey, D.A. Lobb, S. Li, J.M.W. Black, and P.M. Krug
Monitoring ecosystems remotely: a selection of trends measured from satellite observations of Canada: F. Ahern, J. Frisk, R. Latifovic, and D. Pouliot
Inland colonial waterbird and marsh bird trends for Canada: D.V.C. Weseloh. Contributors: G. Beyersbergen, S. Boyd, A. Breault, P. Brousseau, S.G. Gilliland, B. Jobin, B. Johns, V. Johnston, S. Meyer, C. Pekarik, J. Rausch, and S.I. Wilhelm
Climate-driven trends in Canadian streamflow, 1961–2003: A. Cannon, T. Lai, and P. Whitfield. Contributors: R.A. Curry, N. Glozier, and D.L. Peters
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 provincial and federal government agencies through a review process administered by the ESTR Steering Committee. Additional reviews of specific sections were conducted by university researchers in their field of expertise at the request of the authors.

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 of Environment Canada.

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

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Draft Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment acknowledgements

Lead authors: S.P. Moores, J. Humber, and T. Leonard

Contributing authors: G. Luther, J. Blake, M. McGrath, C. Sheffield, J. Gosse, D. Pelley, S. Squires, C. Hanel

Authors of ESTR Thematic Technical Reports from which material is drawn
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
Trends in large fires in Canada, 1959–2007: C.C. Krezek-Hanes, F. Ahern, A. Cantin, and M.D. Flannigan
Wildlife pathogens and diseases in Canada: F.A. Leighton. Contributors: I.K. Barker, D. Campbell, P.-Y. Daoust, Z. Lucus, J. Lumsden, D. Schock, H. Schwantje, K. Taylor, and G. Wobeser
Trends in breeding waterfowl in Canada: M. Fast, B. Collins, and M. Gendron
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. Contributors: G. Falardeau, K. Mawhinney, J. Paquet, M. Cadman, L. Friesen, K. Hannah, B. Dale, W. Easton, and P. Sinclair
Monitoring ecosystems 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

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 of Environment Canada.

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

Figure 1. Overview map of the Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+.

map

Long Description for Figure 1

This map shows the extent of the Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+. The Boreal Shield extends from Saskatchewan to Labrador and Newfoundland.

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Footnotes

Footnote 2

Environment Canada. 2006. Biodiversity outcomes framework for Canada. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. 8 p.

Return to footnote 2

Footnote 5

Federal-Provincial-Territorial Biodiversity Working Group. 1995. Canadian biodiversity strategy: Canadaʹs response to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Environment Canada, Biodiversity Convention Office. Hull, QC. 86 p.

Return to footnote 5

Footnote 6

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.

Return to footnote 6

Footnote 7

Environment Canada. 2014. Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Status and Trends Assessment Draft Report. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Ecozone+ Report. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Unpublished.

Return to footnote 7

Footnote 8

Rankin, R., Austin, M. and Rice, J. 2011. Ecological classification system for the ecosystem status and trends report. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 1. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. ii + 14 p.

Return to footnote 8

Footnote 9

Ecological Stratification Working Group. 1995. A national ecological framework for Canada. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch, Centre for Land and Biological Resources Research and Environment Canada, State of the Environment Directorate, Ecozone Analysis Branch. Ottawa, ON/Hull, QC. vii + 125 p.

Return to footnote 9

Return to Table of Contents

Ecozone+ Basics


Boreal Shield Ecozone+

The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ (Figure 1, Table 1) is Canada's largest Ecozone+, representing 18.2% of the country's land surface.Footnote10 It contains one of the world's largest remaining intact forest ecosystems and is rich in forests, freshwater, and wildlife. Development is concentrated in the southern portion; the northern portion remains relatively undeveloped.Footnote11 Humans have modified this Ecozone+ directly through natural resource development, including mining, forestry, and hydroelectric power generation, and indirectly through acid deposition, mercury contamination, and climate change.

The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ spans five provinces: Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec as well as parts of Labrador. Given the large expanse of this Ecozone+, ecosystem function, composition, structure, disturbances, and processes vary regionally. When possible, this report used the most detailed data available that were specific to and covered the whole Ecozone+ with results broken down by province. For example, Bird Conservation Region (BCR) 8 and the northern half of BCR 12 fall within the Ecozone+'s boundaries. For other key findings, data were available only for a portion of the Ecozone+ or data from different provinces were not comparable or compatible across the Ecozone+. Also, for some topics, data were only available for whole provinces and, thus, reported data exceed the boundaries of the Ecozone+. With the exception of specific discussions of Lake Athabasca in Alberta, the Alberta and Labrador portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ were generally excluded due to their small contributions.

Table 1. Boreal Shield Ecozone+ overview.
Area1,781,391 km2 (18.2% of Canada)
TopographyLow and rolling, interspersed with lakes and wetlands.
ClimateAnnual precipitation ranges from 400 mm in the west to 1600 mm on the eastern coast.Footnote12
Average summer (June to August) temperatures were highest in the south (17.6°C) and average winter (December to February) temperatures were lowest in the northwest (-24.2°C).Footnote13
River basinsSoutheastern streams are tributaries of the St. Lawrence; streams draining north feed into Hudson Bay.
Watersheds in the west are part of the Nelson River and Great Slave Lake drainage basins.Footnote14
Watersheds account for nearly 25% of Canada's freshwater.Footnote15
GeologyShaped by the glacier retreat, over 60% of surficial materials are glacial till.Footnote15
In the northcentral region, fine materials form what is known as the 'clay belt'.Footnote15
PermafrostPermafrost has a sporadic distribution over the northeastern and western ecozone and is largely confined to organic terrain.Footnote16
SettlementThunder Bay, Sudbury, and Saguenay are the largest settlements.Footnote17
EconomyResource industries (forestry, mining, and hydroelectricity) are major employers.
Cultivated areas are small and contribute little to the economy of the Ecozone+.Footnote18
DevelopmentIn addition to small cities, logging roads and hydroelectric projects account for most of the development.Footnote11
Urban settlements are encroaching northwards from the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+.Footnote17
National/global SignificanceImportant Bird Areas (IBAs) of global, continental, and national importance are located along the north shore of the St. Lawrence Gulf and Estuary.Footnote19
The Georgian Bay Littoral and Manicouagan–Uapishka sites are UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.Footnote20
The forests in this Ecozone+ are some of the largest intact forest ecosystems in the world; they sequester a substantial amount of carbon dioxide.
The Ecozone+ contains a large portion of critical habitat for the Threatened boreal population of forest-dwelling woodland caribou.
Along with the Taiga Shield Ecozone+, the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ provides breeding habitat for more than half of the world's populations of 40 common bird species.

Jurisdictions: The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ includes portions of Labrador, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. The First Nations of the Ecozone+ include the Dene (Athapascan), Anishnaabe (Ojibwa, Ojibwe), Cree, Algonquin, Attikamek, Huron–Wendat, and Innu (Montagnais).Footnote21

The Boreal Shield, consisting of 97% forest and shrubland (Figure 2), is largely undeveloped with a small but steadily growing human population (Figure 3). Population growth is concentrated in the suburban areas on the southern border adjacent to the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+.Footnote17 However, some of the fastest population declines in Canada are also occurring in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ with populations in many mid-sized urban areas declining between 2001 and 2006.Footnote17 Footnote22

Figure 2. Land cover of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 2005.

map
Source: Ahern, 2011Footnote23 using data from Latifovic and Pouliot, 2005Footnote24

Long Description for Figure 2

This map shows the land cover of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 2005. 88% of the ecozone+ is Forested, 9% is Shrubland, 2% is Tundra and Barren and 1% is Cultivated.

 

Figure 3. Human population of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1971 to 2006.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2008Footnote25

Long Description for Figure 3

This bar graph shows the following information:

Human population of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1971 to 2006.
YearNumber of people
19712,048,961
19762,152,369
19812,194,981
19862,185,634
19912,285,393
19962,373,159
20012,336,742
20062,407,307

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Images of typical ecosystems found in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+Footnote26
Typical ecosystems found in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+  Typical ecosystems found in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Typical ecosystems found in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+
Photos: Francine Bérubé, Canadian Forest Service's Forests of Canada Collection

Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

The Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ (Figure 1 ; Table 2) consists of the greater island of Newfoundland and smaller islands off its coast. At 112,134 km2, Newfoundland is the 16th largest island in the world. The island has endemic species, subspecies, as well as species with unusual life history traits. The ecozone+ is dominated by shrubland (51.4%) and forest (44%) (Figure 4). Newfoundland was first inhabited by many groups of native peoples, including the Maritime Archaic Indians (9000–2400 years before present (BP)), Paleo-Eskimo and Dorset peoples (3850–1300 BP), and the Beothuk, Micmac, Naskapi-Montagnais, and Inuit (1200–200 BP).Footnote27 The island was first visited by Norsemen from Greenland as early as AD 1001 at L'Anse aux Meadows.Footnote28 European settlers and their descendants introduced a number of species not native to Newfoundland. Human settlements are located predominantly along the coast and the people and culture of Newfoundland are intimately connected with the sea.Footnote29 Populations rose from the 1970s to the 1980s but declined in the 2000s (Figure 5).

Table 2. Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ overview.
Area112,134 km2 (1.1% of Canada)
TopographyTilted plateau located at the northeastern-most limit of the Appalachian mountain chain.Footnote30 Footnote31
Characterized by deep valleys alternating with long, high ridges, and a coastline that has numerous bays, fjords, peninsulas, islands, and harbours.Footnote32
Lakes, ponds, rivers, and peatlands are ubiquitous and extensive, with approximately 10% of the Ecozone+ covered by water.Footnote32
ClimateClimate is driven by the cold Labrador Current, the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the island's cold ocean location.Footnote33
High average cloudiness, abundant fog and precipitation, and frequent high winds
Summers are short and cool; winters are relatively mild.
Average annual temperatures are cool for this latitude and precipitation levels vary across the Ecozone+ with changes in latitude and topography.
River basinsMajor rivers include the Exploits, Gander, Humber, and Main.Footnote34
GeologyMost of the Ecozone+ was glaciated 7000–1000 BPFootnote35 Footnote36; therefore, most of the island is covered by glacial deposits.Footnote32
Major rock types include sedimentary, intrusive and volcanic igneous, and metamorphic.Footnote30
SettlementMajor urban centres include St. John's and Mount Pearl on the east coast, Gander and Grand Falls–Windsor in central Newfoundland, Corner Brook on the west coast, and St. Anthony on the Great Northern Peninsula.
EconomyService and resource industries (forestry, mining, oil and gas, and fishing) are major employers.
DevelopmentDevelopment is primarily in coastal areas with a few settlements in the interior.
National/global significanceThe Main and Bay du Nord are Canadian Heritage Rivers.
There are 25 Important Bird Areas.
There are approximately 20,000 km2 of heath, comprising the largest tract of this type of vegetation in North America.
Figure 4. Land cover in 2005 for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

map
Source: Ahern, 2011Footnote23 using data from Latifovic and Pouliot, 2005Footnote24

Long Description for Figure 4

This map shows the land cover in 2005 for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. 51% is Shrubland, 43% is Forest and the rest are small amounts of Vegetation and Barren, Agricultural, Urban and Fire Scars.

Figure 5. Human population of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ from 1971 to 2006.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2008Footnote25

Long Description for Figure 5

This bar graph shows the following information:

Human population of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ from 1971 to 2006.
YearNumber of people
1971493,938
1976524,673
1981536,363
1986539,608
1991538,099
1996522,602
2001485,066
2006479,105

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Wetland in Carmanville, NL
Wetland in Carmanville, NL
Photo: Shelley Pardy Moores

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Sandy coastline
Sandy coastline
Photo: Shelley Pardy Moores

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Footnotes

Footnote 10

CCEA. 2009. Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS), v.2009.05 [online]. Canadian Council on Ecological Areas. (accessed 5 November, 2009).

Return to footnote 10

Footnote 11

Lee, P., Gysbers, J.D. and Stanojevic, Z. 2006. Canadaʹs forest landscape fragments: a first approximation (a Global Forest Watch Canada report). Global Forest Watch Canada. Edmonton, AB. 97 p.156

Return to footnote 11

Footnote 12

Urquizo, N., Bastedo, J., Brydges, T. and Shear, H. 2000. Ecological assessment of the Boreal Shield Ecozone. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Ottawa, ON.

Return to footnote 12

Footnote 13

Environment Canada. 1994. Canadian Monthly Climate Data and 1961-1990 Normals on CD-ROM. Environment Canada, Atmospheric Environment Service.

Return to footnote 13

Footnote 14

Monk, W.A. and Baird, D.J. 2014. Biodiversity in Canadian lakes and rivers. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 19. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. Draft report.

Return to footnote 14

Footnote 15

Geological Survey of Canada. 1994. Surficial materials of Canada, map 1880A [online]. Natural Resources Canada. (accessed 23 October, 2009).

Return to footnote 15

Footnote 16

Smith, S. 2011. Trends in permafrost conditions and ecology in Northern Canada. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 9. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. iii + 22 p.

Return to footnote 16

Footnote 17

Martel, L. and Caron-Malenfant, E. 2009. 2006 Census: Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006: Findings [online]. Statistics Canada. (accessed 25 February, 2009).

Return to footnote 17

Footnote 18

Javorek, S.K. and Grant, M.C. 2011. Trends in wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land in Canada, 1986-2006. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 14. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. vi + 46 p.

Return to footnote 18

Footnote 19

Important Bird Areas of Canada. 2004. Canadian Important Bird Area Sites [online]. Bird Studies Canada, Nature Canada, Bird Life International. (accessed 17 November, 2009).

Return to footnote 19

Footnote 20

Man and Biosphere Program. 2005. Focal Point for Biosphere Reserves [online]. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (accessed 17 November, 2009).

Return to footnote 20

Footnote 21

Berkes, F. and Davidson-Hunt, I.J. 2006. Biodiversity, traditional management systems, and cultural landscapes: Examples from the boreal forest of Canada. International Social Science Journal 58:35-47.

Return to footnote 21

Footnote 22

Karst, A. 2010. Conservation Value of the North American Boreal Forest from an Ethnobotanical persective. Canadian Boreal Initiative; David Suzuki Foundation; Boreal Songbird Initiative. Ottawa, ON;Vancouver, BC; Seattle, WA.

Return to footnote 22

Footnote 23

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.

Return to footnote 23

Footnote 24

Latifovic, R. and Pouliot, D. 2005. Multitemporal land cover mapping for Canada: methodology and products. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 31:347-363.

Return to footnote 24

Footnote 25

Statistics Canada. 2008. Human activity and the environment: annual statistics 2007 and 2008. Human Activity and the Environment, Catalogue No. 16-201-X. Statistics Canada. Ottawa, ON. 159 p.

Return to footnote 25

Footnote 26

Bérubé, F. 2003. Canadian Forest Serviceʹs Forests of Canada Collection. Natural Resources of Canada, Canadian Forest Services.

Return to footnote 26

Footnote 27

Tuck, J.A. 1976. Newfoundland and Labrador prehistory. Canadian Prehistory Series, Archaeological Survey of Canada. Museum of Man. Ottawa, ON.

Return to footnote 27

Footnote 28

Government of Canada. 1950. Newfoundland: An introduction to Canadaʹs New Province. Ministry of Trade of Commerce, Department of External Affairs. Ottawa, ON. 142 p.

Return to footnote 28

Footnote 29

Paone, L.C. 2003. Hazard sensitivitiy in Newfoundland coastal commnunitiesimpacts and adaptations to climate change: a case study of Conception Bay South and Holyrood, Newfoundland. Thesis (M.Sc.). Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Geography. St. Johnʹs, NL. 206 p.

Return to footnote 29

Footnote 30

Rogerson, R.J. 1983. Geological Evolution. In Biogeography and ecology of the island of Newfoundland. Edited by South, G.R. Junk Publishers. The Hague. pp. 5-35.

Return to footnote 30

Footnote 31

Ullah, W., Beersing, A., Blouin, A., Wood, C.H. and Rodgers, A. 1992. Water resources atlas of Newfoundland. Water Resources Division, Department of Environment and Lands, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. Johnʹs, NL.

Return to footnote 31

Footnote 32

Hudak, J. and Raske, A.G. 1982. Review of the spruce budworm outbreaks in Newfoundland: its control and forest management implications. Environment Canada. 320 p.

Return to footnote 32

Footnote 33

Banfield, C.E. 1983. Climate. In Biogeography and ecology of the island of Newfoundland. Edited by South, G.R. Junk Publishers. The Hague. pp. 37-106.

Return to footnote 33

Footnote 34

Burridge, M. and Mandrak, N. 2009. Ecoregion description: 115: Canadian Atlantic Islands [online]. In Freshwater ecoregions of the world. The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund. (accessed 21 February, 2009).

Return to footnote 34

Footnote 35

Ives, J.D. 1978. The maximum extent of the Laurentide Ice Sheet along the east coast of North America during the last glaciation. Arctic 31:1-15.

Return to footnote 35

Footnote 36

Dehler, S. and McCutcheon, S. 2007. Atlantic Canada ice dynamics. Geoscience Canada 34:1-48.

Return to footnote 36

Return to Table of Contents

Key Findings at a Glance: National and Ecozone+ Level

Table 3 and Table 4 present the national key findings from Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010Reference6 together with a summary of the corresponding trends in the Boreal Shield and Newfoundland Boreal ecozones+, respectively. Topic numbers refer to the national key findings in Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010. Topics that are greyed out were key findings at the national level, but were either not relevant or not assessed for this ecozone+ and do not appear in the body of this document. Evidence for the statements that appear in this table is found in the subsequent text organized by key finding. See the Preface on page ii.

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Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Table 3. Key findings overview for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

3.1 Theme: Biomes
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Boreal Shield ecozone+
ForestsAt a national level, the extent of forests has changed little since 1990; at a regional level, loss of forest extent is significant in some places. The structure of some Canadian forests, including species composition, age classes, and size of intact patches of forest, has changed over longer time frames.In 2005, forests covered 88% of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Although coverage was stable from 1985 to 2005 in managed forests, mixed and deciduous-dominated stands have replaced conifer-dominated stands as a result of natural regeneration after harvesting. Logging has replaced fire as the dominant forest disturbance; however, the forest industry has slowed since 2004.
GrasslandsNative grasslands have been reduced to a fraction of their original extent. Although at a slower pace, declines continue in some areas. The health of many existing grasslands has also been compromised by a variety of stressors.Not relevant
WetlandsHigh loss of wetlands has occurred in southern Canada; loss and degradation continue due to a wide range of stressors. Some wetlands have been or are being restored.Over 320,000 km2 of wetlands are located in this ecozone+. Between 1960 and 2000, 9,000 km2 of wetlands were flooded for hydroelectric developments. Between 1980 and 2000,  250 km2 of peatlands were drained for forestry.
Lakes and riversTrends over the past 40 years influencing biodiversity in lakes and rivers include seasonal changes in magnitude of stream flows, increases in river and lake temperatures, decreases in lake levels, and habitat loss and fragmentation.Conditions in lakes and rivers vary across the ecozone+. Dominant patterns include declining annual flows, earlier maximum flows, decreasing rates of water level rise, and increasing water level fall rates.
CoastalCoastal ecosystems, such as estuaries, salt marshes, and mud flats, are believed to be healthy in less-developed coastal areas, although there are exceptions. In developed areas, extent and quality of coastal ecosystems are declining as a result of habitat modification, erosion, and sea-level rise.Rates of erosion increased between 1990 and 2004, especially for sandy coastlines and low clayey cliffs.
MarineObserved changes in marine biodiversity over the past 50 years have been driven by a combination of physical factors and human activities, such as oceanographic and climate variability and overexploitation. While certain marine mammals have recovered from past overharvesting, many commercial fisheries have not.Not relevant
Ice across biomesDeclining extent and thickness of sea ice, warming and thawing of permafrost, accelerating loss of glacier mass, and shortening of lake-ice seasons are detected across Canada's biomes. Impacts, apparent now in some areas and likely to spread, include effects on species and food webs.Break-up of lake ice has shifted earlier and become faster, and lake ice freeze-up has shifted later in the southern part of the ecozone+. Thawing and peatland collapse has occurred over the last 50 to 100 years in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

 

3.2 Theme: Human/Ecosystem Interactions
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Boreal Shield ecozone+
Protected areasBoth the extent and representativeness of the protected areas network have increased in recent years. In many places, the area protected is well above the United Nations 10% target. It is below the target in highly developed areas and the oceans.In 2009, 8.1% (143,491 km2) of the ecozone+ was protected and 7.9% in protected areas classified as IUCN categories I–IV, areas protected for natural and cultural conservation rather than sustainable use by established cultural tradition. In 1992, only 3% of the ecozone+ was protected. The rate of protection has increased since the 1970s.
StewardshipStewardship activity in Canada is increasing, both in number and types of initiatives and in participation rates. The overall effectiveness of these activities in conserving and improving biodiversity and ecosystem health has not been fully assessed.Stewardship activities in the ecozone+ are coordinated among larger conservation, First Nations, and industry networks. Examples include the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the Boreal Leadership Council, the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative in Alberta, the Boreal Peatlands Stewardship Strategy in Manitoba, Ontario's Safe Harbour Agreement, and Ducks Unlimited projects.
Invasive non-native speciesInvasive non-native species are a significant stressor on ecosystem functions, processes, and structure in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. This impact is increasing as numbers of invasive non-native species continue to rise and their distributions continue to expand.Invasive species have spread from southern Quebec eastward and from Ontario westward. Species of particular concern include rusty crayfish, spiny water flea, and purple loosestrife.
ContaminantsConcentrations of legacy contaminants in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems have generally declined over the past 10 to 40 years. Concentrations of many emerging contaminants are increasing in wildlife; mercury is increasing in some wildlife in some areas.Acid deposition, forestry, and hydroelectric projects increase mercury concentrations. Mercury concentrations in aquatic environments rise, and then decline in the years to decades after reservoir creation. Air mercury measurements within or near the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ indicate that concentrations are low and near global background levels. Species that eat fish have elevated mercury levels.
Nutrient loading and algal bloomsInputs of nutrients to both freshwater and marine systems, particularly in urban and agriculture-dominated landscapes, have led to algal blooms that may be a nuisance and/or may be harmful. Nutrient inputs have been increasing in some places and decreasing in others.The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ contains a relatively small amount of agricultural land given its size. From 1981 to 2006, nitrogen inputs increased from 82.4 to 107 kg N/ha. From 1981 to 2006, nitrogen outputs increased from 62.6 to 74.0 kg N/ha. Residual soil nitrogen increased from 19.8 kg N/ha in 1981 to 33.0 kg N/ha in 2006. The number of lakes and rivers affected by blue-green algae in the eastern ecozone+ increased from fewer than 10 in 2004 to over 80 in 2008.
Acid depositionThresholds related to ecological impact of acid deposition, including acid rain, are exceeded in some areas, acidifying emissions are increasing in some areas, and biological recovery has not kept pace with emission reductions in other areas.Acid-sensitive terrain occurs throughout the ecozone+. Areas of maximum acid deposition are concentrated in the southeastern part of the ecozone+ in Quebec and near metal smelters in the western portion in Ontario. Lakes in Quebec and Ontario are sensitive to acid deposition. Following peaks in lake acidity in the 1970s, conditions have improved where point sources of acid deposition were strictly controlled.
Climate changeRising temperatures across Canada, along with changes in other climatic variables over the past 50 years, have had both direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems.From 1950 to 2007, temperature increased in the spring (by 1.7°C), summer (by 1.3°C), and winter (by 1.8°C) and precipitation increased by 17% in the fall. The ratio of snow to total precipitation decreased by 3.3%. Maximum annual snow depth declined by 13.7 cm. The duration of snow cover declined for the second half of the snow season, February–July, but did not change for the first half of the snow season, August to January.
Ecosystem servicesCanada is well endowed with a natural environment that provides ecosystem services upon which our quality of life depends. In some areas where stressors have impaired ecosystem function, the cost of maintaining ecosystem services is high and deterioration in quantity, quality, and access to ecosystem services is evident.In 2009, the net market value of products extracted from the boreal forest annually was $50.9 billion. Non-marketable ecosystem goods and services were valued at $703.2 billion. Aboriginal people have reported some deterioration in provisioning of blueberries, wild rice, and fish within the ecozone+.

 

3.3 Theme: Habitat, Wildlife, and Ecosystem Processes
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Boreal Shield ecozone+
Intact landscapes and waterscapesFootnote*Intact landscapes and waterscapes was initially identified as a nationally recurring key finding and information was subsequently compiled and assessed for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. In the final version of the national report,Reference6 information related to intact landscapes and waterscapes was incorporated into other key findings. This information was maintained as a separate key finding for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.As of 2006, 64% of the ecozone was composed of intact natural areas including forests and wetlands >100 km2 in size. The southern portion of the ecozone+ is significantly more modified and fragmented than the northern portion.
Agricultural landscapes as habitatThe potential capacity of agricultural landscapes to support wildlife in Canada has declined over the past 20 years, largely due to the intensification of agriculture and the loss of natural and semi-natural land cover.Within the small agricultural portion of the ecozone+, wildlife habitat capacity declined by 71% from 1986 to 2006.
Species of special economic, cultural, or ecological interestMany species of amphibians, fish, birds, and large mammals are of special economic, cultural, or ecological interest to Canadians. Some of these are declining in number and distribution, some are stable, and others are healthy or recovering.The boreal population of woodland caribou was designated as Threatened by the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2003. The distribution of caribou has shrunk substantially from its historic range. The number of imperilled freshwater and diadromous fish species increased from 7 to 14 from 1979 to 2008; but the status of two of these species also improved. The main threats included habitat degradation and loss,   over-exploitation, invasive species, and competition. The range of wolves, cougars, and wolverine declined in the  1800s to 1900s, although observations of wolves, cougars, and fisher have increased since the 1990s. Populations of three out of four focal shorebird species declined. All landbird groups declined except for forest birds.
Primary productivityPrimary productivity has increased on more than 20% of the vegetated land area of Canada over the past 20 years, as well as in some freshwater systems. The magnitude and timing of primary productivity are changing throughout the marine system.Net primary productivity, inferred from the Normalized-Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), increased for 21% of the ecozone+ from 1985 to 2006. This increase was concentrated in the northeastern part of the ecozone+. Decreases occurred in 0.9% of the area, mainly in the western portion; these were attributed to fire.
Natural disturbanceThe dynamics of natural disturbance regimes, such as fire and native insect outbreaks, are changing and this is reshaping the landscape. The direction and degree of change vary.Higher wildfire risk, earlier fire occurrence, and increased insect defoliation in the northeastern portion of the ecozone+  replaced closed-crown boreal forest stands with lichen-spruce woodlands. In the western part of the ecozone+, increased wildfire risk and mountain pine beetle invasion could lead to decreased ecosystem productivity and significant releases of stored carbon. Lower intensity fires were more abundant and occurred earlier in the season in dense, mature conifer forests. The annual area burned by large fires from 1959 to 2007 ranged from 109 km2 to 27,863 km2. Hemlock looper outbreaks moved north to Labrador and jack pine budworm moved east. The severity of spruce budworm outbreaks increased over the past 100 years.
Food websFundamental changes in relationships among species have been observed in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments. The loss or reduction of important components of food webs has greatly altered some ecosystems.Food webs in the ecozone+ are largely intact and include the Canada lynx and snowshoe hare cycle and caribou/moose and wolf population dynamics. Wildlife diseases also affect bird and ungulate populations. Aquatic food webs were simplified by acidification and mercury contamination and, despite improvements in water quality, species composition has not always recovered.

 

3.4 Theme: Science/Policy Interface
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Boreal Shield ecozone+
Biodiversity monitoring, research, information management, and reportingLong-term, standardized, spatially complete, and readily accessible monitoring information, complemented by ecosystem research, provides the most useful findings for policy-relevant assessments of status and trends. The lack of this type of information in many areas has hindered development of this assessment.Long-term data at the ecozone+ level were rarely available for the Boreal Shield. Wetlands, in particular, were poorly monitored. Data for fish, reptiles, and amphibians were lacking relative to data for birds and mammals. Forest birds offer the best available biodiversity information because of existing long-term standardized surveys and monitoring including the Breeding Bird Survey.
Rapid change and thresholdsGrowing understanding of rapid and unexpected changes, interactions, and thresholds, especially in relation to climate change, points to a need for policy that responds and adapts quickly to signals of environmental change in order to avert major and irreversible biodiversity losses.There was no clear evidence of rapid changes or thresholds being crossed. However, in the western part of the ecozone+, increased wildfire risk and potential mountain pine beetle invasion could decrease ecosystem productivity and release stored carbon. These changes are gradual but may be irreversible. Anthropogenic activities tripled the amount of mercury in the environment compared to global background levels, although concentrations decline in the decades following disturbance.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Table 4. Key findings overview for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

4.1 Theme: Biomes
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Newfoundland Boreal ecozone+
ForestsAt a national level, the extent of forests has changed little since 1990; at a regional level, loss of forest extent is significant in some places. The structure of some Canadian forests, including species composition, age classes, and size of intact patches of forest, has changed over longer time frames.Forests cover 44% of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. Abundant populations of introduced moose are a major driver of forest change. Insect defoliators, fire suppression, and logging also affect forest structure and composition.
GrasslandsNative grasslands have been reduced to a fraction of their original extent. Although at a slower pace, declines continue in some areas. The health of many existing grasslands has also been compromised by a variety of stressors.Not applicable
WetlandsHigh loss of wetlands has occurred in southern Canada; loss and degradation continue due to a wide range of stressors. Some wetlands have been or are being restored.Many productive coastal wetlands occur in areas of intensive settlement. Development of wetlands through drainage, infilling, and channelization has detrimental effects on the quality and quantity of water. Little information is available on the trends in wetlands for the ecozone+.
Lakes and riversTrends over the past 40 years influencing biodiversity in lakes and rivers include seasonal changes in magnitude of stream flows, increases in river and lake temperatures, decreases in lake levels, and habitat loss and fragmentation.Streamflow increased in the spring by 10–40% and decreased in the summer by 20–70%, both influenced by a rise in spring and summer temperatures. Contrary to national trends, however, temperature decreased in January. Hydrologic changes may also be the result of interior forest losses dues to harvest, fire, and insect outbreaks.
CoastalCoastal ecosystems, such as estuaries, salt marshes, and mud flats, are believed to be healthy in less-developed coastal areas, although there are exceptions. In developed areas, extent and quality of coastal ecosystems are declining as a result of habitat modification, erosion, and sea-level rise.Human settlement is concentrated along the 11,550 km long coastline of Newfoundland. Coastal erosion is occurring along the southwest, west, and eastern coasts, accelerated by rising sea levels, increased residential and tourism use, and changing offshore winter ice conditions. The vulnerability of most coastal communities to erosion was "moderately-high" or greater.
MarineObserved changes in marine biodiversity over the past 50 years have been driven by a combination of physical factors and human activities, such as oceanographic and climate variability and overexploitation. While certain marine mammals have recovered from past overharvesting, many commercial fisheries have not.Not applicable
Ice across biomesDeclining extent and thickness of sea ice, warming and thawing of permafrost, accelerating loss of glacier mass, and shortening of lake-ice seasons are detected across Canada's biomes. Impacts, apparent now in some areas and likely to spread, include effects on species and food webs.Freeze-up shifted 0.5 days/yr earlier for Deadman's pond (in the north-central part of the ecozone+) from 1961–1990.

 

4.2 Theme: Human/Ecosystem Interactions
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Newfoundland Boreal ecozone+
Protected areasBoth the extent and representativeness of the protected areas network have increased in recent years. In many places, the area protected is well above the United Nations 10% target. It is below the target in highly developed areas and the oceans.In 2009, 6.3% (7,098 km2) of the ecozone+ was protected, an increase from 4.5% in 1992. This was comprised of 45 protected areas in IUCN categories I–III. Additionally, five category VI protected areas covered 1.2% of the ecozone+, a category that focuses on sustainable use by established cultural tradition.
StewardshipStewardship activity in Canada is increasing, both in number and types of initiatives and in participation rates. The overall effectiveness of these activities in conserving and improving biodiversity and ecosystem health has not been fully assessed.Partners with the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture Program collaborate to secure and improve wetland habitat for waterfowl. The provincial government and 33 municipalities have conserved and restored 142 km2 of wetland habitat.
Invasive non-native speciesInvasive non-native species are a significant stressor on ecosystem functions, processes, and structure in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. This impact is increasing as numbers of invasive non-native species continue to rise and their distributions continue to expand.Twelve mammals including moose, mink, snowshoe hare, coyote, and squirrels have been introduced to Newfoundland. Moose hinder forest regeneration after disturbance and preferential browsing is changing plant species composition. Red squirrels predate nests of native birds and reduce regeneration due to cone predation. Over 35% of the plants in the ecozone+ are non-native.
ContaminantsConcentrations of legacy contaminants in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems have generally declined over the past 10 to 40 years. Concentrations of many emerging contaminants are increasing in wildlife; mercury is increasing in some wildlife in some areas.Sewage is a serious form of pollution in many coastal environments.
Nutrient loading and algal bloomsInputs of nutrients to both freshwater and marine systems, particularly in urban and agriculture-dominated landscapes, have led to algal blooms that may be a nuisance and/or may be harmful. Nutrient inputs have been increasing in some places and decreasing in others.Residual soil nitrogen on agricultural land increased from 20.1 kg N/ha in 1981 to 53.6 kg N/ha in 2006. Nitrogen inputs doubled from 50.7 kg N/ha in 1981 to 102 kg N/ha in 2006. Manure was the greatest source of nitrogen in 1981 at 23.8 kg N/ha compared to 11.3 kg N/ha for fertilizer and 13.6 kg N/ha for legume nitrogen fixation. By 2006, legume fixation was 37.7 kg N/ha, manure addition was 34.5 kg N/ha, and fertilizer was 28.1 kg N/ha. Nitrogen output increased from 30.6 kg N/ha in 1981 to 48.4 kg N/ha in 2006.
Acid depositionThresholds related to ecological impact of acid deposition, including acid rain, are exceeded in some areas, acidifying emissions are increasing in some areas, and biological recovery has not kept pace with emission reductions in other areas.Spatial variation characterizes the deposition of sulphates and nitrates across the ecozone+. From 1983 to 2000, depositions were greatest on the southwest corner of the island and diminished to the north and east. Deposition of sulphate declined since 1990, but nitrate increased. Declining trends of sulphate may be related to emission abatement measures, but could also result from changes in weather patterns.
Climate changeRising temperatures across Canada, along with changes in other climatic variables over the past 50 years, have had both direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems.From 1950 to 2007, temperatures increased in the summer (by 1.7 °C) and fall (by 1.0 °C); there were no changes to the growing season. Spring, fall, and winter precipitation increased by 0.2%. Maximum annual snow depth increased (32.5 cm), however, the ratio of total precipitation to snow and the duration of snow cover did not change.
Ecosystem servicesCanada is well endowed with a natural environment that provides ecosystem services upon which our quality of life depends. In some areas where stressors have impaired ecosystem function, the cost of maintaining ecosystem services is high and deterioration in quantity, quality, and access to ecosystem services is evident.Ecosystem services have not been systematically estimated in the ecozone+. Hunting revenues and other tourist activities related to moose contribute more than              $100 million annually to the Newfoundland economy.

 

4.3 Theme: Habitat, Wildlife, and Ecosystem Processes
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Newfoundland Boreal ecozone+
Intact landscapes and waterscapesFootnote*Intact landscapes and waterscapes was initially identified as a nationally recurring key finding and information was subsequently compiled and assessed for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. In the final version of the national report,Footnote6 information related to intact landscapes and waterscapes was incorporated into other key findings. This information was maintained as a separate key finding for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.In 2006, 57% of the ecozone+ was composed of intact natural areas, contiguous blocks of forest, bog, water, tundra, and rock outcrops of more than 10 km2.
Agricultural landscapes as habitatThe potential capacity of agricultural landscapes to support wildlife in Canada has declined over the past 20 years, largely due to the intensification of agriculture and the loss of natural and semi-natural land cover.Not applicable
Species of special economic, cultural or ecological interestMany species of amphibians, fish, birds, and large mammals are of special economic, cultural, or ecological interest to Canadians. Some of these are declining in number and distribution, some are stable, and others are healthy or recovering.Caribou populations declined from a peak of 95,000 in 1997 to 32,000 in 2008. Newfoundland marten were downlisted from Endangered to Threatened in 2007. Newfoundland has the largest tract of heath in North America including rare and endemic species such as Long's braya and Fernald's braya.
Primary productivityPrimary productivity has increased on more than 20% of the vegetated land area of Canada over the past 20 years, as well as in some freshwater systems. The magnitude and timing of primary productivity are changing throughout the marine system.Net primary productivity, as measured by the NDVI, increased on nearly 41% of the land in the ecozone+ from 1985 to 2006. This is the largest proportion of land with a positive trend among Canadian ecozones+. A warming climate, forest harvest, or moose, which impede forest regeneration, could be responsible for observed trends.
Natural disturbanceThe dynamics of natural disturbance regimes, such as fire and native insect outbreaks, are changing and this is reshaping the landscape. The direction and degree of change vary.Fire is not a significant natural disturbance in this ecozone+. Balsam fir sawfly, eastern spruce budworm, and hemlock looper were the three main insect defoliators. Major outbreaks were primarily restricted to west and central regions. Balsam fir sawfly outbreaks have increased in duration, severity, and extent.
Food websFundamental changes in relationships among species have been observed in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments. The loss or reduction of important components of food webs has greatly altered some ecosystems.Introductions of several non-native species into the ecozone+ have affected native species' population cycles. The introduction of coyotes may have affected caribou, Arctic hare, and marten populations. Seals have increased residence times in several rivers and estuaries and are now present during the salmon smolt run.

 

4.4 Theme: Science/Policy Interface
Themes and topicsKey findings: nationalKey findings: Newfoundland Boreal ecozone+
Biodiversity monitoring, research, information management and reportingLong-term, standardized, spatially complete, and readily accessible monitoring information, complemented by ecosystem research, provides the most useful findings for policy-relevant assessments of status and trends. The lack of this type of information in many areas has hindered development of this assessment.Very little quantitative information was available for this ecozone+
Rapid change and thresholdsGrowing understanding of rapid and unexpected changes, interactions, and thresholds, especially in relation to climate change, points to a need for policy that responds and adapts quickly to signals of environmental change in order to avert major and irreversible biodiversity losses.  The shift in tree species composition and lack of forest regeneration for decades following disturbance suggests that moose and insect defoliators have shifted ecosystems in Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ to a new state. Given the limited data available, it is unknown if other thresholds have been reached.

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Footnotes

MB *

This key finding is not numbered because it does not correspond to a key finding in the national reportFootnote6

Return to Footnote *

Footnote 6

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.

Return to footnote 6

Return to Table of Contents

Theme: Biomes

Forests

Key finding 1
Theme Biomes

National key finding

At a national level, the extent of forests has changed little since 1990; at a regional level, loss of forest extent is significant in some places. The structure of some Canadian forests, including species composition, age classes, and size of intact patches of forest, has changed over longer time frames.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Most of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is boreal forest, but the ecozone+ also includes temperate forests in the south. As of 2005, 88% of the ecozone was covered by forest. Forest composition, age structure, and both biotic and abiotic drivers vary widely across the vast expanse of the ecozone+. For example, fire is a major disturbance and driver of both forest composition and age class in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ as a whole, but fire return intervals vary from 125 to 600 years between the west and the east.Footnote37 Forestry is also a major industry in Ontario and Quebec, and less so in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Forests were converted to cropland in the southwestern portion of the ecozone+ between 1985 and 2006.Footnote23 These changes were insignificant at the ecozone+ scale and the general extent of forested ecosystems was unchanged, however, the composition and structure of managed forests has changed.Footnote38 Footnote39 Footnote40

The shift from conifer to broad-leaved deciduous forest and shrub may have been facilitated by natural regeneration.Footnote40 Footnote41 Footnote42 Natural regeneration of cutovers was standard practice in central Canada from the 1920s to the mid-1970s and continues to be a common approach.Footnote43 The failure of natural regeneration resulted in re-planting programs from the 1970s until 2009.Footnote44,Footnote45 

Forest composition and structure is tracked by provincial natural resource and environment departments; therefore, the following data and discussion are based on provincial divisions with additional ecozone+- and ecoregion-level summaries where possible. Figure 6 and Figure 7 illustrate the areas of forests that are managed in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, as well as the ecoregion boundaries that were defined from the National Ecological Framework for Canada.Footnote9

Figure 6. Map of managed forests Saskatchewan and Manitoba portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

Manitoba areas shown are forest management units. Managed forests in Saskatchewan include forests south of the northern reconnaissance area for which inventory data exist. Ecoregion boundaries are shown for context.

map
Source: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment – Forestry Service Branch, unpublished data and Manitoba Conservation, Forestry Branch, Forest Management Licenses, unpublished dataFootnote38

Long Description for Figure 6

This map shows managed forests in the Saskatchewan and Manitoba portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. From North to South, beginning in Saskatchewan, the Athabasca Plain ecoregion shows no managed forests, and the Churchill River Upland shows <50% managed forests. Manitoba areas shown are forest management units, and from North to South represent Churchill River (100% managed), Highrock (100% managed), Nelson River (100% managed), Hayes River Upland (unmanaged), Hayes River (100% managed), Lake Winnepeg East (100% managed), Lac Seul Upland (unmanaged), Pineland (100% managed), and Lake of the Woods (unmanaged).

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Figure 7. Map of managed forests in Ontario and Quebec portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

The term"managed forests" refers to areas where inventory data exist. Ontario forest regions and Quebec forest domains are shown for context.

map
Source: Ministère des Ressources naturelles, 2005Footnote46

Long Description for Figure 7

This map shows managed forests in the Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Ontario forest regions and Quebec forest domains are shown. The Ontario regions are Great Lakes-St. Lawrence (>50% managed), Boreal (approximately 50% managed), and Hudson Bay (&lt;50% managed). The Quebec domains include Sugar maple-bitternut hickory (>50% managed), Sugar maple-basswood West (>50% managed), Sugar maple-yellow birch (West: >50% managed and East: >50% managed), Balsam fir-yellow birch (West: >50% managed and East: >50% managed), Balsam fir-white birch (West: >50% managed and East: >50% managed) and Spruce-moss (West:>50% managed and East: approximately 50% managed). The Labrador ecoregions include Lake Melville (unmanaged), Mecatina Plateau (unmanaged), and Paradise River (>50% managed).

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The most common natural disturbance in the western Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is fire. The lack of fire suppression has resulted in a relatively natural fire regime, especially in the Saskatchewan portion of the ecozone+ where there are few anthropogenic stressors on the system.Footnote47 Forestry operations are limited to 340,000 km2 along the southern boundary of the Churchill River Upland EcoregionFootnote48 and less than 10 km2 per year is harvested.Footnote49 Approximately 76% of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in Saskatchewan is forested.Footnote50 In Manitoba, forest management has resulted in a decrease in jack pine (Pinus banksiana), black spruce (Picea mariana), and white spruce (Picea glauca) and an increase in other pines, balsam fir (Abies balsamea), other conifers and other hardwoods from the 1970s to the 1990s (e.g., Figure 8).

Figure 8. Area of tree species cover type within the Pineland forest section in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

graph
Source: Manitoba Conservation - Forestry Branch, Manitoba Forest Inventory, unpublished dataFootnote38

Long Description for Figure 8

This bar graph shows the following information:

Data for figure 8
Type1970s1980s1990s
Jack Pine989.0907.5823.0
Other Pine16.935.162.8
Spruce1,766.71,849.71,505.4
Balsam Fir13.757.3115.7
Other Conifer531.2909.5852.1
Poplar2,150.82,133.42,030.4
White Birch32.825.433.3
Other Hardwoods6.039.993.9

Area of cover type (km2

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Natural disturbances of the eastern boreal forest of Canada include fire,47, Footnote51 insect outbreaks,Footnote52 and windthrow,Footnote53 with fire having the most widespread influence at regional scales.Footnote54 Fire regimes (frequency, size, intensity, seasonality, fire type, and severity) have a significant influence on the age structure of boreal landscapes and the structure and composition of stands.Footnote55 Footnote56 Footnote57 Footnote58 In the eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 30% of the forested area is dominated by dense coniferous forests, 13% is mixed conifer and deciduous forests, and 35% is considered sparse forest.Footnote59 There is relatively little human disturbance, but these forests are likely to be affected by climate change with potential increases in fire frequency and extent and changes in species distributions.Footnote59

The Ontario boreal forest region covers approximately 500,000 km2, 82% of which is forested.Footnote60 Conifer-dominated stands, especially stands dominated by spruce, have been converted to mixed and deciduous-dominated stands post-harvest in Ontario (Figure 9) and Quebec (Figure 10).Footnote39 , Footnote40 , Footnote61 Spruce regeneration is fire-dependent, hence, the absence of fire leads to reduced regeneration of spruce and increases in hardwood species or other conifers.Footnote62 Although conifers are planted post-harvest, softwood regeneration is not always successful.Footnote39 , Footnote42 , Footnote44 , Footnote63

Figure 9. Change in proportions of tree species composition groups after harvest in 1522 plots throughout the Boreal Forest Region of Ontario between 1970-1985 and 1990 (5 to 20 years after cutting).

graph
Source: adapted from Hearden et al., 1992Footnote40

Long Description for Figure 9

This bar graph shows the following information:

Change in proportions of tree species composition groups after harvest in 1522 plots throughout the Boreal Forest Region of Ontario between 1970-1985 and 1990 (5 to 20 years after cutting).
TypeOriginal
(1970-1985)
After regeneration (1990)
Mixed softwoods2921
Spruce184
Jack pine1015
Hardwood619
Mixedwood3641

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Figure 10. Proportional area by cover types of the spruce-moss east subdomain in Quebec.

graph
Source: Ministère des Ressources naturelles, 2002Footnote61

Long Description for Figure 10

This bar graph shows the following information:

Proportional area by cover types of the spruce-moss east subdomain in Quebec.
typeProportional area (%)
1970-79
Proportional area (%)
1980-89
Proportional area (%)
1990-99
Conifer848075
Mixed9109
Deciduous211
Regeneration4915

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The majority of harvesting activities on Ontario’s Crown forest takes place in the Boreal and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest regions.Footnote45 In 2009–2010, there were 852 active clearcut harvest areas in the Boreal Forest Region (Figure 7). Of these clearcuts, 826 (97%) were less than 2.6 km2. The average clearcut size was 0.6 km2 and the maximum clearcut was 14.2 km2.Footnote45 The age class distribution of the forest is an important indicator of changing ecosystem processes. Forest stands are recorded in the 0–20 age class until a renewal treatment has been prescribed. This includes the activities of site preparation and regeneration to promote the establishment of desired forest stands, and the stand has been declared free-to-grow, meaning that the stands meet growth criteria and are essentially free from competing vegetation. High levels of fire disturbance, delayed or failed regeneration, delayed reporting of successful regeneration and gaps in time between the disturbance and when the stand is declared free-to-grow may have contributed to the high frequency of the 0–20 age class reported for Ontario (Figure 11). Similarly, the age class distribution of forests in Manitoba are weighted toward younger trees.Footnote64

Figure 11. Area (thousands of km2) of the age class distribution for the managed forests of Ontario for all forest types for 1996, 2001, and 2006.

graph
Source: data from Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, 2007Footnote39

Long Description for Figure 11

This bar graph shows the following information:

Area (thousands of km2) of the age class distribution for the managed forests of Ontario for all forest types for 1996, 2001, and 2006.
Age ClassArea (thousands of km2)
1996
Area (thousands of km2)
2001
Area (thousands of km2)
2006
0-2049.344.155.8
21-4016.319.524.3
41-6054.348.234.3
61-8074.279.869.3
81-10055.760.763.3
101-12032.234.833.4
121-14034.525.823.6
141-16016.018.517.5
161-1802.24.44.7
180+1.21.00.8

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The Quebec portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ includes approximately 433,000 km2 of forest, 424,000 km2 of which are productive (forests capable of producing 30 m3 or more of wood per hectare (0.01 km2) within 120 years, and having <41% slope).Footnote63 Fire history reconstruction records from the past 300 years from northeastern Ontario to eastern Quebec’s north shore show that, historically, more than 50% of the forest was over 100 years old.Footnote58 , Footnote65 In Quebec, current forest management practices have resulted in an increase in the proportion of early-seral habitats and decreases in late-seral habitats as forestry moves towards the east and north (e.g., Figure 12).Footnote55 , Footnote66 Harvesting targets older age classes, hence, the shift to younger seral stages after harvest occurs more frequently than what would be expected by natural disturbance alone.

Figure 12. Proportional area of the most common subdomains by developmental stage in the Quebec portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 2005.

Data includes private and public forests.

graph
Source: Ministère des Ressources naturelles et Faune, 2009Footnote67, Statistiques forestières, unpublished data, updated from Ministère des Ressources naturelles 2002)Footnote61

Long Description for Figure 12

This series of bar graphs shows the following information:

Data for figure 12a - Sugar maple-yellow birch West
Development stageProportional Area (%)
1970-79
Proportional Area (%)
1980-89
Proportional Area (%)
1990-99
Mature626365
Young313028
Regenerated535
Regenerating242
Data for figure 12b -Sugar maple-yellow birch East
Development stage1970-79
Proportional Area (%)
1980-89
Proportional Area (%)
1990-99
Proportional Area (%)
Mature534554
Young354231
Regenerated7812
Regenerating553
Data for figure 12c -Balsam fir-yellow birch West
Development stageProportional Area (%)
1970-79
Proportional Area (%)
1980-89
Proportional Area (%)
1990-99
Mature566769
Young302016
Regenerated12812
Regenerating353
Data for figure 12d -Balsam fir-yellow birch East
Development stageProportional Area (%)
1970-79
Proportional Area (%)
1980-89
Proportional Area (%)
1990-99
Mature314349
Young483426
Regenerated131420
Regenerating795
Data for figure 12e -Balsam fir-white birch West
Development stage1970-791980-891990-99
Mature424447
Young282522
Regenerated181622
Regenerating12159
Data for figure 12f - Balsam fir-white birch West
Development stageProportional Area (%)
1970-79
Proportional Area (%)
1980-89
Proportional Area (%)
1990-99
Mature495552
Young221922
Regenerated211517
Regenerating71110
Data for figure 12g -Spruce-moss West
Development stageProportional Area (%)
1970-79
Proportional Area (%)
1980-89
Proportional Area (%)
1990-99
Mature575147
Young222924
Regenerated14813
Regenerating71216
Data for figure 12h - Spruce-moss East
Development stageProportional Area (%)
1970-79
Proportional Area (%)
1980-89
Proportional Area (%)
1990-99
Mature706665
Young172118
Regenerated867
Regenerating4610

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The Quebec government is exploring the viability of fibre production in the north (between the 49th and the 52nd latitudes). The three potential zones would include “northern development” with some fragile areas but overall good growth and potential for forestry, “fire-driven development” with short fire intervals that would have to be considered during harvest planning, and “limited development” furthest north for limited forestry.Footnote68

Areas north of the managed forests are rarely monitored and changes across these regions are generally unknown. However, dense, mature conifer (spruce-dominated) stands were replaced with lichen woodlands over nine percent of the landscape between 1950 and 2002, causing a shift in ecosystem types in the northeast Boreal Shield Ecozone+. These shifts were attributed to increased fire frequency, earlier and lighter fires, and fire events that shortly followed insect outbreaks.Footnote69,Footnote70

A small amount of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ extends into Labrador. Based on Landsat imagery from 1987–1990, 87% of the region is forested and includes all of the Paradise River and Lake Melville ecoregions (Figure 7). Commercially viable forests of black spruce and balsam fir comprise 52.6% of the total forested area and non-commercial forest includes other black spruce forest (24.3%), lichen woodland (6.7%), and smaller amounts of hardwood scrub and mixed forest.Footnote71 Burned areas comprise 15% of the forested area, typically dominated by birch, aspen, and black spruce. No trends can be reported for Labrador because these forests are not monitored regularly. Permanent sample plots were established in the 1990s but few have been re-measured.Footnote72

Forest harvest increased in the Boreal Shield from the early 1900s until it peaked in the mid-1990s.Footnote73 As of 2004, forest harvesting activities had declined sharply to their early 1980s levels. Many factors led to these declines, including high costs of fuels and electricity, trade restrictions, the relatively high value of the Canadian dollar, global competition, and, most importantly, the collapse of the US housing market, which depressed demand for lumber.Footnote74

Forest birds

Given that forest habitat dominates the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, this ecozone+ supports a substantial proportion of Canada’s forest birds.Footnote75, Footnote76 Eighteen species have 30% or more of their Canadian range in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ and 17 of these are neotropical migrants (Table 5). The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ has year-round resident landbirds such as boreal chickadees (Poecile hudsonicus) and gray jays (Perisoreus canadensis) as well as many migratory species that breed in boreal forests each summer then migrate southward each year. Sparrows, warblers, and thrushes account for more than half of all boreal landbirds. Boreal landbirds are highly migratory: an estimated 93% of these birds leave the boreal each fall to overwinter in the United States, Mexico, the West Indies, and Central and South America and return the following year to breed.Footnote77 For the few bird species that are year-round residents in this ecozone+, populations are difficult to monitor because of the timing of their breeding season (April to May when there is still snow cover) and their low densities.Footnote76

Overall, trends in forest birds are stable or increasing in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ (Table 6). Boreal chickadees, endemic to the spruce-fir forests of the North American boreal region, are declining Canada-wide according to the Christmas Bird Count (CBC)Footnote78 but not the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) (Table 6).Footnote79 The decline of olive-sided flycatchers (Contopus cooperi) (Table 6), listed as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) in 2007,Footnote80 was consistent with reduced numbers of all the aerial insectivores over the same period.Footnote81 In 2008, Canada warblers (Cardellina canadensis) were also listed as Threatened by COSEWIC. These and other neotropical migrants are affected by changes to their tropical wintering grounds.Footnote82 Similarly, populations of short-distance migrant forest birds (e.g., winter wrens (Troglodytes hiemalis), blue-headed vireos (Vireo solitarius), ruby-crowned kinglets (Regulus calendula) are affected by the degradation of their winter habitat, even though their breeding grounds remain unchanged in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote83

Estimates for species-specific trends were drawn from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). The BBS is a long-term, large-scale, international avian monitoring program initiated in 1966 to track the status and trends of North American bird populations. Each year, thousands of birders volunteer to collect bird population data along roadside survey routes during the height of the avian breeding season. The reliance on roadside habitats, which facilitate accessibility for observers, reduces reliability of trends for bird species that use other habitats. Many landbird species (irruptive species, nomadic species, primary cavity nesters/woodpeckers, grouse, diurnal raptors, nocturnal raptors, species at risk), almost all waterbird and shorebird species, and cavity-nesting waterfowl species are not adequately monitored.Footnote84 Variation in observer abilities and incomplete geographic coverage are other sources of bias.Footnote85 In particular, trends with low reliability should be interpreted with caution.

The trends reported here are not representative at the ecozone+-scale. The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ coincides with Bird Conservation Region 8 (BCR 8 - Boreal Softwood Shield) and the northern half of Bird Conservation Region 12 (BCR 12 - Boreal Hardwood Transition). Trends for all of BCR 12, which includes the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+, are reported here. The more active survey routes are concentrated in the southern part of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, which increases the reliability of the trends in BCR 12 compared to BCR 8 (e.g., Table 6). Ontario and Quebec also have better coverage than other provinces in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

Table 5. Neotropical migrant bird species with more than 30% of their Canadian range within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. This table includes forest and shrubland birds.
Common nameNorth American (NA) breeding population within the Ecozone+  (%)Range within the Ecozone+  (%) relative to NA rangeRange within the Ecozone+  (%) relative to Canadian rangeSignificant (p) decline from 1970 to 2012 (BBS)Note a of Table 5
Bay-breasted warbler (Setophaga castanea)846163 -
Black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia)61347 -
Blackburnian warbler (Setophaga fusca)775165 -
Black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)594060 -
Black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens)625466 -
Canada warbler (Cardellina canadensis)675561nBCR 8
Cape May warbler (Setophaga tigrina)795153 
Chestnut-sided warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica)794762Note b of Table 5*BCR 8
Connecticut warbler (Oporornis agilis)616155nBCR 8 and Note b of Table 5*BCR 12
Golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera)762556 -
Magnolia warbler (Setophaga magnolia)604547 -
Mourning warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia)834751Note b of Table 5*BCR 8 and Note b of Table 5*BCR 12
Nashville warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla)824659 -
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)612646 -
Philadelphia vireo (Vireo philadelphicus)793845 -
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)642536Note * of Table 5BCR 12
Yellow-bellied flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris)863952 -

Source: data from Rich et al., 2004Footnote83, (Environment Canada, 2014)Footnote79

Notes of Table 5

Note [a] of Table 5

These estimates are based on North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data housed at the National Wildlife Research Centre (Canadian Wildlife Service) or Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (US Geological Survey).

Return to note a referrer of table 1

Note [b] of Table 5

p is the statistical significance: * indicates p <0.05; n indicates 0.05<p<0.1; no value indicates not significant. Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs) that overlap the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are BCR 8, which includes the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, and the northern half of BCR 12.Footnote86 The declines reported here include all of BCR 12 and exceed the Boreal Shield Ecozone+'s boundaries.

Return to note b referrer of table 5

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Populations of forest birds respond to the availability of food resources. Populations of several species, including purple finch (Haemorphous purpureus), exhibit substantial natural fluctuations due to changes in seed supply, fire, and insect infestations, particularly those in more northern coniferous forests.Footnote76 Global climate change may also affect birds by advancing arrival times on breeding grounds and/or nestling hatch times, causing a mismatch with peaks in prey abundance.Footnote87 This leads to decreased productivity, changes to predator communities, and reduced or shifted ranges.Footnote88 For example, declines in gray jay in Algonquin Park have been attributed, at least in part, to higher winter temperatures that spoil this resident species’ winter food stores.Footnote89

Table 6. Trends in abundance (% change/year) and reliability of the trend for selected species of forest birds characteristic of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1970–2012.
Forest BirdsBCR 8 TrendBCR 8 ReliabilityBCR 12 TrendBCR 12 Reliability
American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)-0.01Low-0.49High
Bay-breasted warbler (Setophaga castanea)1.47Low-3.64Medium
Black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia)0.68Low-0.53High
Blackburnian warbler (Setophaga fusca)1.55Low0.88High
Black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens)5.29Low2.10High
Black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens)0.60Low1.07High
Blue-headed vireo (Vireo solitarius)5.99Low3.83High
Boreal chickadee(Poecile hudsonicus)3.25Low0.78Medium
Broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus)3.07Low0.40High
Canada warbler (Cardellina canadensis)-1.54Low-3.62High
Cape May warbler (Setophaga tigrina)0.91Low-1.08Medium
Evening grosbeakNote a of Table 6 (Coccothraustes vespertinus)-5.84Medium-3.5Medium
Gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis)0.63Low-0.16High
Least flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)-1.07Low-2.47High
Magnolia warbler (Setophaga magnolia)1.85Low1.89High
Olive-sided flycatcher (Contopus cooperi)-1.44Low-5.37High
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)0.21Medium-0.22High
Philadelphia vireo (Vireo philadelphicus)0.47Low2.14High
Purple finch (Haemorphous purpureus)-0.70Low-2.89High
Red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus)0.90Medium0.99Medium
Rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)-1.87Low-2.61High
Ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula)1.45Low-3.20High
Ruffed grouse(Bonasa umbellus)2.68Low-1.78High
Swainson's thrush (Catharus ustulatus)-0.31Low-0.29High
Tennessee warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)0.98Low-3.57Medium
Veery (Catharus fuscescens)2.00Medium-1.05High
Winter wren (Troglodytes hiemalis)1.22Low0.94High
Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata)2.64Low0.64High

Source: Environment Canada, 201Footnote79

Notes of Table 6

Note [a] of Table 6

Shrubland bird species

Return to note a referrer of table 6

These data include the Ontario and Quebec portions of Bird Conservation Region 8 and 12. Only the northern half of BCR 12 falls within the ecozone+, so these data exceed the boundaries of the ecozone+  to the south and underrepresent the ecozone+  in the prairie provinces and Labrador.Footnote86

Eastern wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) were extirpated in early 1900s and reintroduced to their native range in southern Ontario and the southern edge of Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote90 Turkeys are naturally expanding their range northward into the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in Algonquin Provincial Park, along Georgian Bay, and near the Ottawa River.Footnote90

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Cavity nesters

Cavity nesters are birds that nest in cavities they make themselves (primary cavity nesters) or in cavities made by other species (secondary cavity nesters). As primary cavity nesters, woodpeckers are good indicators of overall forest health because they occupy various habitat types and seral stagesFootnote91 and are “habitat engineers” that provide nests for other species. Reductions in old-growth forest habitat and fire suppression in some areas reduce the number of cavity nesters,Footnote76 however, woodpeckers were generally stable or increasing in the Ontario and Quebec parts of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ (Table 7).

Table 7. Trends in abundance (% change/year) and reliability of the trend for woodpeckers in the Ontario and Quebec portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+  from 1970 to 2012.
Cavity nestersBCR 8 TrendBCR 8 ReliabilityBCR 12 TrendBCR 12 Reliability
Black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus) - --1.79Medium
Downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)1.31Low0.33High
Hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus)1.80Low2.16High
Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus)0.04Low-0.66High

Source: Environment Canada, 2014Footnote79

These data include the Ontario and Quebec portions of Bird Conservation Region 8 and 12. Only the northern half of BCR 12 falls within the ecozone+, so these data exceed the boundaries of the ecozone+  to the south and underrepresent the ecozone+  in the prairie provinces and Labrador.Footnote86

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Approximately 5,000 km2 (44%) of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ is forested (including productive forest, forested fens, forested bogs, thickets and swamps).Footnote92, Footnote93 Productive forests are producing or capable of producing commercial forest products. As of 2009, productive forests were dominated by trees 81 years and older, with lower but fairly even densities of trees in the 0–20, 21–40, 41–60, and 61–80 age classes (Figure 13).Footnote23

In Newfoundland, black-backed woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) were almost exclusively found in >80-year-old forests.Footnote94 Downy woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens) were common and similarly distributed among all forest age classes, and hairy woodpeckers (Picoides villosus) were uncommon and only observed in the 40- and 60-year age classes.Footnote94 A reduction in the amount of forest in the oldest age class could be responsible for the decline in black-backed woodpeckers in western Newfoundland (Table 8).Footnote79

Table 8. Trends in abundance (% change/year) and reliability of the trend in cavity nesters in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+  from 1980 to 2012
SpeciesAnnual TrendReliability
Black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)-1.76Low
Downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)2.07Low
Hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus)1.43Low
Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus)-1.80Medium

Source: Environment Canada, 2014Footnote79

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Black spruce is the dominant tree species in about one-third of the forests on the island. It is common on both very dry and very wet sites due to its high tolerance for unfavourable conditions. Repeated fires over the centuries have established black spruce as a dominant species in much of the central Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.Footnote93 Balsam fir is the most abundant tree species in the ecozone+.Footnote93 Forest stands in the west of the ecozone+ are commonly pure balsam fir. These areas are usually moist, with well-drained soils where trees can attain heights of 24 m at 100 years. White birch (Betula papyrifera) and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) make up significant components of mixed wood and minor hardwood stands on better forest sites. Hardwoods can reach a height of 22 m at 80 years in fertile areas. There are no major hardwood stands in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.Footnote93

Figure 13 Area of each forest age class in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 2009.

This represents all productive forested stands. It does not reflect scrub types and does not include forests in national parks.

graph
Source: Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources, 2009Footnote95

Long Description for Figure 13

This bar graph shows the following information:

Area of each forest age class in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 2009.
Age ClassArea (thousand ha)
0-20370,000
21-40350,000
41-60310,000
61-80500,000
81+980,000

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Moose (Alces alces), initially introduced in 1878, are a major driver of forest change in the ecozone+.Footnote96 Footnote97 Footnote98 Browsing pressure has reduced the abundance of native trees and shrubs and caused the community composition to shift.Footnote96-Footnote98 Balsam fir has failed to regenerate in many areas and, where browsed, has become a low, bush-shaped tree. Unpalatable white spruce and black spruce are avoided by moose and are likely to replace fir as the dominant trees.Footnote99 Many hardwoods, including white birch, have disappeared from the canopy.Footnote99 Declines have been observed in other native species such as Canada yew (Taxus canadensis), mountain maple (Acer spicatum), serviceberry (Amelanchier spp.), Northern wild raisin (Viburnum cassinoides),   pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica), red maple (Acer rubrum) and American mountain-ash (Sorbus americana), also preferentially browsed by moose.Footnote97, Footnote99 Footnote100 Footnote101

Sustained browsing pressure by overabundant moose populations has converted forests within Terra Nova National Park, NL (Figure 14) and Gros Morne National Park, NL. In these protected areas, forest gaps formed in the late 1970s as a result of natural (i.e., insect outbreaks) or anthropogenic disturbances have not returned to a closed canopy forest.Footnote96, Footnote97, Footnote99, Footnote100 After disturbance occurs, moose concentrate their browsing activities in these early successional communities because the seed bank contains highly palatable species.Footnote99, Footnote102, Footnote103 Consequently, many sites have transitioned from closed boreal forest to an open landscape (Figure 14) dominated by unpalatable speciesFootnote97, Footnote99, Footnote100, Footnote104 and invasive non-native herbs.Footnote104 Where balsam fir does occur, it is highly stunted from sustained browsing and unable to reach adult reproductive stages or form a canopy.Footnote99, Footnote104 Declines in balsam fir as well as hardwoods and overall forest structure could have cascading effects on numerous dependent native species, including forest birds,Footnote105 specialist epiphytic tree lichens,Footnote106 and insects.Footnote99

Figure 14. Impact of moose on forest regeneration in Terra Nova National Park, NL.

Areas in grey are non-forest.

map
Source: Parks Canada, 2007Footnote107

Long Description for Figure 14

This map of Terra Nova National Park of Canada shows the impact of moose on forest regeneration, indicating that many sites in the park have transitioned from closed boreal forest to an open landscape due to moose impacts. Impacts are classified as severely impacted (open forest canopy, no balsam fir regeneration, no seed source), heavily impacted (intact forest canopy, limited balsam fir regeneration, limited seed source) and low impact (predominantly black spruce forest) areas. The severely impacted areas are primarily concentrated in the northern portion of the park, and the heavily impacted and low impact areas are well distributed throughout the park, with heavily impacted areas dominating the coasts of Clode Sound and Chandler Reach.

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Insect defoliators are another major stressor on forests in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ and are discussed in the Large scale native insect outbreaks section on page 145.

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Forest birds

The Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ is part of BCR 8 and is easily distinguished in the BBS dataset by province. Most forest (Table 9) and shrubland (Table 10) birds in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ are increasing or stable, however some species such as red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) and gray-cheeked thrush (Catharus minimus) declined substantially from   1980 to 2012 (Table 9).

Table 9. Trends in forest birds from 1980 to 2012 in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+
SpeciesTrendReliability
Black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia)-0.72High
Black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)4.62Medium
Blackpoll warbler (Setophaga striata)-5.90Medium
Black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens)0.48Medium
Blue-headed vireo (Vireo solitarius)5.19Low
Cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)3.74Low
Common redpoll (Acanthis flammea)-9.01Low
Dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis)4.93Medium
Golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa)5.71Low
Gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis)1.98Medium
Gray-cheeked thrush (Catharus minimus)-12.80Medium
Hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus)2.38Medium
Least Flycatcher (Empidonax minimus)10.70Low
Magnolia warbler (Setophaga magnolia)0.42Medium
Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla)-6.95Medium
Pine grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator)-0.33Medium
Pine siskin (Spinus pinus)-1.15Low
Purple finch (Haemorhous purpureus)-0.17Medium
Red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)-16.30Low
Red-breasted nuthatch (Sitta canadensis)19.90Low
Red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus)15.60Low
Ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula)-0.20High
Swainson's thrush (Catharus ustulatus)1.37Medium
Tennessee warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina)-1.57Low
White-winged crossbill (Loxia leucoptera)7.78Low
Wilson's warbler (Cardellina pusilla)-3.69Medium
Winter wren (Troglodytes hiemalis)-0.72Low
Yellow-bellied flycatcher (Empidonax flaviventris)-1.63Medium
Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata)-0.37High

Source: Environment Canada, 2014Footnote79

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Table10. Trends in shrubland birds between 1980 and 2012 in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+
SpeciesTrendReliability
Evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus)3.38Low
Fox sparrow (Passerella iliaca)-1.42High
Lincoln's sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)-1.34Medium
Mourning warbler (Geothlypis philadelphia)-5.76Medium
Palm warbler (Setophaga palmarum)3.38Low
Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia)3.60Low
White-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)1.58Low
White-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)-1.67Medium
Yellow warbler (Setophaga petechia)0.16Medium

Source: Environment Canada, 2014Footnote79

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Wetlands

Key finding 3
Theme Biomes

National key finding

High loss of wetlands has occurred in southern Canada; loss and degradation continue due to a wide range of stressors. Some wetlands have been or are being restored.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Wetlands are defined as those land areas that have the water table at, near, or above the soil surface for a major portion, or all, of the growing season.Footnote92 Up to 26% (320,000 km2) of the 1,240,368 km2 of wetlands in Canada may be found in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Hydroelectric dams and reservoirs have been the primary causes of wetland losses. Between 1960 and 2000, 9,000 km2 of wetlands were flooded for hydroelectric developments in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote12, Footnote108 Peatlands (also called muskeg) are wetlands with a thick water-logged organic soil layer (peat) made up of dead and decaying plant material. Ditching and draining of peatlands for forestry or agriculture modifies the water balanceFootnote109 and can increase erosion and siltation of surface waters.Footnote110 Between 1980 and 2000, 250 km2 of peatlands were drained for forestry in the ecozone+.Footnote12 In Quebec, 110 km2 of peatlands were converted to agriculture by 2001.Footnote110 Between the 46th and 49th parallels, peatlands in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are also used for cranberry cultivation.Footnote110 Climate change could make more northern areas available for cultivation, further promoting drainage of peatlands.Footnote111

As well as direct loss of wetlands, road construction threatens wetlands through wildlife mortality from construction and vehicle collisions, modification of animal behaviour, alteration of the physical and chemical environment, facilitation of the spread of non-native species, and changes to predator-prey relationships.Footnote112 Predation on artificial bird nests, for example, was highest in boreal forest-highway ecotones (an ecotone is a transition area between two biomes), intermediate in riparian boreal forest strips along lakes and forest-logging road ecotones, and lowest in riparian boreal forest buffers along rivers.Footnote113 Road construction and use increases sedimentation and alters the water balance of wetlands.Footnote112, Footnote114 Laws governing road construction differ among provinces in the ecozone+. Several provinces now regulate the construction of logging roads to maintain water quality for fish habitat.Footnote114 Footnote115 Footnote116

Disturbances such as forestry and road construction create opportunities for the invasion of non-native species in the Boreal Shield. For example, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) exploits disturbancesFootnote117 and has spread into wetlands across Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.Footnote118 Although the Boreal Shield is less invaded than more southern ecozones+, climate change could facilitate the spread of non-native species to regions where they are presently absent due to climate barriers.

Intensive cottage construction and recreation since the 1930s, particularly along the southern and northwestern lakes in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, has altered riparian vegetation and led to eutrophication in aquatic environments as a result of sewage discharge. Grass mowing, shoreline clearing, and road construction alter riparian habitats, decreasing their function for fish and wildlife. For example, removing 50% of the macrophytes from lake shorelines reduced northern pike (Esox lucius) by 50%.Footnote119 Clark et al. (1984)Footnote120 found that ovenbirds (Seiurus aurocapilla) were found primarily along undeveloped lake shores whereas eastern phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) were found in highly developed habitats.

Undeveloped wetlands intercept and sequester nitrate entering catchments from precipitation, whether the origins were natural or anthropogenic.Footnote121 With the increase in deposition of nitrate observed throughout developed areas of the world,Footnote122 wetlands may help protect downstream waters from the full effects of nitric acid.Footnote121 Effects of acid deposition on aquatic ecosystems of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are discussed in the Acid deposition key finding on page Footnote103.

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Waterfowl

Overall, waterfowl densities are relatively low in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. However, waterfowl from the Atlantic, Mississippi, and central migratory flyways breed and stage in this ecozone+.Footnote123 Areas of very high waterfowl densities can be found in the boreal forest in parts of Ontario and in Quebec’s Abitibi region.Footnote124

To optimize the use of existing data, this ecozone+ was divided into eastern and western sections, along the 86°W meridian (dividing Ontario approximately in half). The western area is covered by the CWS/USFWS Waterfowl Breeding Survey (WBS)Footnote125 and the eastern area is covered by the USFWS Airplane/Transect survey (USFWS A/TS) and the CWS Boreal Helicopter Plot Survey (CWSBHPS) (CWS, unpublished data)Footnote126 (Table 11). For more on the surveys and related analyses, see Fast et al. (2011)Footnote126

Table 11. Abundance trends for selected waterfowl species in the westerna  and easternb  Boreal Shield Ecozone+  by decade, 1970s-2000s and the Breeding Bird Surveyc between 1970 and 2012.

11.1 Western Annual Index (in 1000s)a
SpeciesTrend (p)Note a of Table 111970s1980s1990s2000s% Change
American black duck (Anas rubripes) - - - - - -
American wigeon (Anas americana)-2.04*Note b of Table 11152.1127.8115.679.6-47.6
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)0.596455.773.67923.5
Canada goose (Branta canadensis)3.66*Note b of Table 1168.6100130.7165.1140.6
Goldeneye (Bucephala sp.)1.54*Note b of Table 11170174.6268.7272.360.2
Green-winged teal (Anas crecca)1.79*Note b of Table 11101101.8152.2140.639.2
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)-0.45635.8599.8649.4555.3-12.7
Ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris)3.46*Note b of Table 11153.5199.9337.7433.9182.7
Scaup (Aythya sp.)-1.92*Note b of Table 11236.7202.8200.8133.7-43.5
Scoter (Melanitta sp.)-150.756.647.144.1-13.1
11.2 Eastern Annual Index (in 1000s)b
SpeciesTrend (p)Note a of Table 111990s2000s% Change
American black duck (Anas rubripes)1.32*Note b of Table 11141.6162.414.7
American wigeon (Anas americana) - - - -
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)-2.179.69-6.2
Canada goose (Branta canadensis)6.75*Note b of Table 1127.147.475.4
Goldeneye (Bucephala sp.)2.1686.7107.123.5
Green-winged teal (Anas crecca)-1.653432.2-5.1
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)3.9*Note b of Table 1164.488.236.8
Ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris)2.39*Note b of Table 1195.7119.725
Scaup (Aythya sp.) - - - -
Scoter (Melanitta sp.) - - - -
11.3 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS)c
SpeciesBCR 8 TrendBCR 12 Trend
American black duck (Anas rubripes)2.1-3.55
American wigeon (Anas americana) -0.62
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) - -
Canada goose (Branta canadensis)18.321.5
Goldeneye (Bucephala sp.)-1.050.48
Green-winged teal (Anas crecca) --4.35
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) -1.98
Ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris)-2.641.67
Scaup (Aythya sp.) - -
Scoter (Melanitta sp.) - -

Sources: a CWS and USFWS WBS; b USFWS A/TS, the CWS BHPS and the Southern Ontario Waterfowl Survey (SOWS) in Fast et al. 2010Footnote126 and c Environment CanadaFootnote79

Notes of Table 11

Note [a] of Table 11

p is the statistical significance

Return to note a referrer of table 11

Note [b] of Table 11

* indicates p &lt;0.05; no value indicates not significant. The BBS data include portions of Bird Conservation Region 8 and 12. Only the northern half of BCR 12 falls within the Ecozone+, so these data exceed the boundaries of the ecozone+  to the south and may underrepresent the ecozone+  in the prairie provinces and Labrador.Footnote86

Return to note b referrer of table 11

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Waterfowl trends differed for each species in the western and eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ and among the different datasets. For example, green-winged teal (Anas crecca) increased in the west (Figure 15a), were stable in the east (Figure 16a), and declined in Bird Conservation Region 12 (Table 11). Scaup [combined lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) and greater scaup (A. marila)] have declined (Figure 15b). These species have also declined in neighbouring ecozones+ (i.e., Boreal Plain, Taiga Plain, Taiga Shield, and Prairie ecozones+), which suggests common factors operate within or beyond these breeding areas. The northern boreal region was less productive for scaup recruitment than more southern biomes, even though there were more breeding adults in the north.Footnote127 Scaup at the northern limits of their range must migrate farther and have shorter overall breeding seasons than those nesting further south. These constraints may make these birds more susceptible to mechanisms of population regulation associated with female body condition, timing of breeding, quality of fledging juveniles,Footnote127 changes in food resources,Footnote128 and climate change.Footnote129

The population trends of scoters [combined white-winged (Melanitta fusca) and surf (M. perspicillata) scoters] and buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) (Table 11 and Figure 15b) were stable.

Figure 15. Number of breeding pairs for a) selected dabbling ducks: American wigeon, scaup, scoter, mallard, and green-winged teal and b) selected diving ducks: bufflehead, goldeneye, ring-necked duck in the western Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1970 to 2006.

graph
Source: based on data from CWS/USFWS WBS (WBS)Footnote126

Long Description for Figure 15

 

These line graphs show the following information:

Number of breeding pairs for a) selected dabbling ducks: American wigeon, scaup, scoter, mallard, and green-winged teal in the western Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1970 to 2006.
YearNumber of breeding pairs
Mallard
Number of breeding pairs
American wigeon
Number of breeding pairs
Green-winged teal
19701,011,787322,97086,187
1971573,056178,91190,459
1972436,213106,44960,160
1973589,679121,27345,678
1974399,570129,15179,919
1975464,76878,57672,003
1976700,830116,07282,787
1977597,014140,727103,394
1978753,745183,912216,365
1979831,410142,661172,572
1980670,830159,780152,030
1981800,217149,54294,584
1982605,989126,41891,413
1983587,057177,737120,830
1984441,368116,30086,629
1985485,437109,99687,336
1986337,08437,27066,523
1987439,02273,86384,109
1988784,216138,231121,836
1989847,143188,726112,537
1990785,348136,511154,374
1991601,667151,80287,897
1992882,452121,029180,749
1993694,687107,205189,865
1994773,188205,009158,464
1995760,52399,896157,138
1996687,93992,730191,499
1997427,40283,758213,673
1998477,03455,342101,985
1999403,717102,45085,898
2000504,58780,80789,445
2001240,83448,47593,524
2002566,21384,960163,400
2003698,917110,340160,598
2004905,45785,322215,854
2005658,81693,559151,577
2006312,44354,031109,595
Number of breeding pairs for b) selected diving ducks: bufflehead, goldeneye, ring-necked duck in the western Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1970 to 2006.
YearBuffleheadRing-neck duckScoterGoldeneyeScaup
197094,499181,21023,019138,089310,087
197178,110192,16233,112147,035197,186
197257,711139,31898,364198,193313,587
197358,47276,50444,093246,371167,187
197453,511105,43232,452118,027212,910
197544,821154,68853,542144,790251,947
197672,192187,46161,214207,450238,101
197758,397140,12265,835220,153259,252
197854,083205,23046,532145,503201,318
197968,058152,61049,301134,322215,911
198060,106233,09291,173135,410194,546
198170,505252,26776,471287,175264,893
198264,476203,58296,978151,536161,325
198390,352219,342133,592172,062263,986
198445,873233,13761,009125,403165,318
198561,198254,84535,267129,753175,284
198629,789100,81812,508276,255254,895
198739,153184,86826,620168,623125,298
198845,515168,85325,769129,418178,733
198949,760147,8846,247170,345243,731
199059,708202,47512,317121,238287,716
199166,433228,98517,47060,271326,402
1992136,146403,2889,601179,506357,156
199396,962306,93531,889238,406157,679
199457,947370,41535,673117,869150,688
199560,030376,23440,804177,946163,224
199665,303314,488103,309847,194114,205
199779,339424,763137,835334,543161,261
199847,405525,86833,300254,185140,097
199967,165223,54148,597356,315149,272
200095,661416,09423,890555,003100,738
200164,154297,59120,402344,64469,682
200270,587740,23050,439270,469147,170
200361,156507,30233,551165,867114,749
2004114,287558,883119,824235,727241,988
200579,472316,43940,100134,337137,859
200667,630201,08020,638199,805123,541

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Waterfowl trends in the eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ were similar to those observed the west; ring-necked ducks increased and bufflehead populations were stable (Figure 16b). Other species such as green-winged teal (Figure 16a) and goldeneye (Figure 16b) that were increasing in the west were stable in the east.

Figure 16. Number of breeding pairs of a) selected dabbling ducks: American black duck, green-winged teal, and mallard and b) selected diving ducks: bufflehead, goldeneye, and ring-necked duck in the eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1990 to 2006.

graph
Source: based on data from the USFWS A/TS, the CWS BHPS, and the SOWSFootnote126

Long Description for Figure 16

These line graphs show the following information:

Number of breeding pairs of a) selected dabbling ducks: American black duck, green-winged teal, and mallard in the eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1990 to 2006.
YearAmerican black duck
Number of breeding pairs
Green-winged tea
Number of breeding pairs l
Mallard
Number of breeding pairs
1990160,87548,49643,782
1991141,96830,35758,312
1992134,02540,62066,992
1993137,52634,20059,257
199496,21544,52767,689
1995125,46438,46054,167
1996171,12532,07561,846
1997128,08422,02778,235
1998140,71220,92175,198
1999180,12327,94379,011
2000173,47440,05577,198
2001158,86421,98781,811
2002183,47331,70185,219
2003160,92231,800106,257
2004163,46638,26689,610
2005141,92322,97599,971
2006154,88438,82877,278
Number of breeding pairs of b) selected diving ducks: bufflehead, goldeneye, and ring-necked duck in the eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1990 to 2006.
YearBufflehead
Number of breeding pairs
Goldeneye
Number of breeding pairs
Ring-necked duck
Number of breeding pairs
199021,47367,99486,458
199119,32587,86695,992
199211,89586,153105,475
19931,93893,82285,806
199411,63088,97175,968
19953,55359,87177,608
199610,97284,713113,595
19973,61597,773109,812
19986,11382,18181,006
19995,967117,909125,466
20006,464106,422125,199
200111,806 -107,999
200215,473125,177118,892
20039,609122,492132,833
20045,871103,895129,978
20059,05496,312105,008
20065,03988,121117,866

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The eastern population of Barrow’s goldeneye was classified as Special Concern by COSEWIC in November 2000.Footnote130 These cavity-nesting ducks breed in eastern Quebec and winter along the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the St. Lawrence Estuary.Footnote131 Potential threats to this species include accumulation of heavy metals in prey, recreational development on breeding lakes, loss of nesting habitat due to logging, introduced fish, and oil spills in wintering areas.Footnote131 Logging destroys nests, reduces the number of potential nest sites, exposes young to predation, and increases disturbance by making lakes more accessible.Footnote130 Lakes that were originally fishless have now been stocked with brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in some areas, and the presence of these fish could reduce habitat quality for Barrow's goldeneye.Footnote130 Fish compete with ducklings, forcing them to feed in riparian sites that are less accessible to fish.Footnote132

Half of North America’s American black duck (Anas rubripes) population breeds in boreal forest ecosystems. Logging, hydroelectric development, transmission lines, agriculture, and urbanization threaten American black duck breeding and staging habitats in Quebec.Footnote133 Mallard populations have increased in the eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ (Figure 16a), a trend common to other eastern ecozones+ and consistent with their range expansion in the east. This expansion has also encroached on the range of American black ducks in southern Quebec.Footnote133 American black ducks have been the focus of special conservation effort because their population in the United States decreased by almost 50% between 1955 and 1985.Footnote133 This prompted the creation of the Black Duck Joint Venture under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan to guide black duck conservation and management decisions. Hunting restrictions in Canada and the United States may be helping American black ducks recover because their populations have been increasing in the eastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ since 1994.Footnote134

Canada goose (Branta canadensis) populations increased in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ (Table 11 and Figure 17), similar to other ecozones+ that have temperate nesting populations. Temperate nesting Canada geese have likely benefited from the large scale conversion of deciduous forest and natural prairie to cultivated land and urban areas that provide cereal grain, planted forage, and turf grass as food sources.Footnote135

Figure 17. Number of breeding pairs of Canada geese over time in the western (1970 to 2006) and eastern (1990 to 2006) portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 2005.

graph
Source: Western Canada goose based on data from the CWS/USFWS WBS. Eastern Canada goose based on data from USFWS A/TS, the CWS BHS, and the SOWS.Footnote126

Long Description for Figure 17

This line graph shows the following information:

Number of breeding pairs of Canada geese over time in the western (1970 to 2006) and eastern (1990 to 2006) portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 2005.
YearWestern Canada Goose
Number of breeding pairs
Eastern Canada Goose
Number of breeding pairs
197059,552 -
197156,476 -
197239,675 -
197325,001 -
197447,393 -
197543,227 -
197664,871 -
197766,897 -
1978162,048 -
1979120,939 -
198095,286 -
198175,495 -
198265,741 -
1983102,985 -
198486,023 -
198581,486 -
198694,595 -
1987121,068 -
1988152,812 -
1989124,056 -
1990147,98620,996
1991117,76423,316
1992101,63423,549
1993133,14923,026
1994155,09221,333
1995150,85020,318
1996109,20729,254
1997100,57726,139
199889,33933,805
1999201,03548,781
2000170,58639,734
200199,90846,571
2002170,59055,940
2003151,75852,382
2004167,50347,201
2005249,27642,409
2006145,86447,821

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Rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) has declined steeply in the surveyed portions of this region, according to BBS data. Rusty blackbird was designated a Species of Special Concern by COSEWIC in 2006.Footnote136 Trends for other wetland landbirds were not calculated because the BBS does not cover wetland habitat well.

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Shorebirds

Shorebirds are migratory and rely on wetlands during breeding, migration, and on their wintering grounds.Footnote137 Footnote138 Footnote139 Monitoring shorebirds in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is challenging because they breed in habitats that are difficult and expensive to access and because they use a variety of habitats in multiple ecozones+.Footnote140 The populations of several shorebird species in the ecozone+ are declining (Table 12). The draining of wetlands, pollution, habitat loss, and disturbance on the nesting grounds, wintering grounds, and during migration all cause shorebird declines. Species will respond differently to these stressors depending on their life history and migratory pathways.Footnote141

Table 12. Trends in abundance (% change/year) and reliability of the trend in shorebirds in parts of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.
SpeciesYearBCR 8 Annual TrendBCR 8 ReliabilityBCR 12 Annual TrendBCR 12 Reliability
Lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)1991–2012-3.07Low - -
Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius)1970–2012-1.83Low-5.01High
Wilson's snipe (Gallinago delicata)1970–2012-0.52Medium - -
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)1970–2012-5.19Medium-5.43Medium
Solitary sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)1989–2012 - -8.32Low

Only the northern half of BCR 12 falls within the Ecozone+, so these data exceed the boundaries of the Ecozone+  to the south and may underrepresent other parts of the Ecozone+.Footnote86

Source: Environment Canada, 2014Footnote79

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Peatlands (bogs and fens) are the most common wetland type in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. They have been classified into six morphological types: domed bog, blanket bog, slope bog, basins bog, ribbed fen, and slope fen.Footnote142 Despite the extensive wetland area, there is little documentation of wetland conditions or trends.

Wetlands of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ are increasingly being altered from their natural state to support alternative land uses such as agriculture, urbanization, industrial development, and recreation.Footnote143 Development of wetlands through drainage, infilling, and channelization has detrimental effects on the quality and quantity of water downstream as well as within the wetlands themselves.Footnote143 The loss of habitat impacts terrestrial and aquatic flora and fauna.Footnote143 The potential consequences of impacts on water resources include structural damage to bridges and culverts from increased flood flows; river bed erosion causing siltation; and detrimental impacts on fish resources, drinking water quality, and recreational uses of water bodies.Footnote143 In urban areas, development on former wetlands and floodplains can contribute both to lower water levels during summers and to flooding following rainstorms.Footnote144 Footnote145 Footnote146

Perhaps the greatest problem facing wetland management is that the ecological and socio-economic benefits of these ecosystems are usually not directly measurable and in many instances are not recognized until the wetland has been altered.Footnote143 In the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, many of the most productive coastal wetland habitats were located in the only bays and coves which are suitable for human settlement.Footnote147 Many of the productive freshwater wetlands are within municipalities or under the jurisdiction of forest companies.Footnote147 Legislation under the Newfoundland and Labrador Water Resources Act provides a degree of protection against wetland development which could aggravate flooding problems or have immitigable adverse effects on water quality or hydrology.Footnote143 As well, uses and developments of wetlands resulting in potentially adverse changes to the hydrologic characteristics or functions of the wetlands require that appropriate mitigative measures be implemented in order to receive environmental approval.Footnote143 Much of the stewardship activity in wetlands is carried out through the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture (EHJV) Program.Footnote147 Many municipalities have committed to protecting and enhancing wetlands in their area by signing goodwill agreements (see the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ key finding on page 75).

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Wetland birds

Compared to other ecozones+, the Newfoundland Boreal is moderately important for breeding waterfowl. Inland and coastal wetlands in this ecozone+ are used by waterfowl for breeding and during the spring and fall migration.Footnote123 The harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus), designated as a Species of Special Concern by COSEWIC,Footnote130 moults along the Newfoundland coastFootnote148 and American black duck, king eider (Somateria spectabilis), long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis), and especially, common eider (Somateria mollissima borealis/dresseri) regularly over-winter in the open waters surrounding Newfoundland.Footnote149

Six species of wetland birds, some of which are declining in other ecozones+, increased in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ between 1980 and 2012 (Table 13). These birds may be increasing because they have fewer nest predators; Newfoundland lacks striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) and raccoons (Procyon lotor), which are common in other regions.Footnote150

Table 13. Trends in abundance (% change/year) and reliability of the trend for selected waterfowl and other bird species that use wetlands in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+  from 1980 to 2012.
SpeciesAnnual TrendReliability
American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus)-1.38Low
American black duck (Anas rubripes)3.42Low
Canada goose (Branta canadensis)4.23Low
Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)4.04Low
Greater scaup (Aythya marila)4.76Low
Green-winged teal (Anas crecca)5.24Low
Northern pintail (Anas acuta)1.45Low
Northern waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis)-2.51High
Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator)-5.62Low
Rusty blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)-7.25Low
Swamp sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)-2.25Medium

Source: Environment Canada, 2014Footnote79

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Lakes and rivers

Key finding 4
Theme Biomes

National key finding

Trends over the past 40 years influencing biodiversity in lakes and rivers include seasonal changes in magnitude of stream flows, increases in river and lake temperatures, decreases in lake levels, and habitat loss and fragmentation.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

The boreal contains half of the world’s lakes that are larger than 1 km2, five of the world’s 50 largest rivers, and more than 800,000 km2 of surface water.Footnote151 Hydrological conditions have direct effects on river and lake ecosystems, including the physical nature of river channels, sediment regimes, water quality, and key processes that sustain aquatic communities. Hydrological variability influences the structure of instream habitats and the composition of ecological communities, including plankton, benthic macroinvertebrates,Footnote152 and fish. Hydrological conditions are highly variable geographically across the ecozone+, but there have been significant changes over recent decades.

From 1970 to 2005, Monk and Baird (2014)Footnote14 found that monthly runoff significantly (p<0.1) increased or decreased at only a few of the 31 monitoring sites in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ for which hydrometric data were available (Figure 18). An exception was late summer runoff: 10 out of 31 sites and 9 out of 31 sites declined for August and September runoff, respectively. More typical were variations in directional trends. For example, between November and March, average monthly runoff decreased, on average, at 14 sites but increased at 11 sites. This directional variation could reflect the large east to west extent of this ecozone+. Except for baseflow, a greater number of sites decreased in both minimum and maximum runoff variables (Figure 18).Footnote14

Figure 18. The number of sites with significant (p<0.1) increasing or decreasing trends for each Indicator of Hydrologic Alteration variable for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1970 to 2005.

graph
Source: Monk and Baird, 2014Footnote14

Long Description for Figure 18

This bar graph shows the number of sites with significant (p<0.1) increasing or decreasing trends for each Indicator of Hydrologic Alteration variable for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1970 to 2005. The graph shows that that monthly runoff significantly increased or decreased at only a few of the 31 monitoring sites in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ for which hydrometric data was available. An exception was late summer runoff: 10 out of 31 sites and 9 out of 31 sites declined for August and September runoff, respectively. More typical were variations in directional trends, such as between November and March when monthly runoff decreased, on average, at 14 sites but increased at 11 sites.

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Annual flows generally decreased, and minimum and maximum flows declined. There was a trend toward earlier maximum flow events, decreasing water level rise, and increasing water level fall rates. There were significant changes in flashiness (changes in flashiness stress aquatic communities regardless of the direction of change)Footnote14 and the pattern of flow pulse occurrences. Changes in flow coincided with warmer winters and springs, which explains earlier maximum flow events and lower summer flow.Footnote153 Decreased precipitation as snow in winter may also result in lower flow throughout spring and summer months.Footnote154

Hydroclimatology is the analysis of how the climate system causes temporal and spatial variations in the hydrologic cycle. Changes in the relationship between the climate system and the hydrologic cycle underlie floods, drought, and influences of climate change on water resources. Cannon et al.(2011)Footnote153 looked at patterns of intra-seasonal trends in streamflow and organized stations into six groups of similar hydrologic trends across Canada. Trends in monthly temperature and monthly precipitation were combined with the six hydrologic clusters (labelled 1 through 6) to identify the main processes driving the shifts in streamflow. Due to the size of the ecozone+, most of the classifications (18 of the 24) were represented in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Seven stations were Group 3, four were Group 1, three were Group 6, two were Group 5, and one each for Groups 2 and 4 (Figure 19).

Figure 19. Natural streamflow stations in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ by Hydrology Group (1–6) and streamflow driver (a–c), 1961–2003.

Hydrograph type a rivers are driven by mixed rain and snow processes and types b and c describe rivers dominated by snowmelt runoff.

map
Source: Cannon et al., 2011Footnote153

Long Description for Figure 19

This map of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ shows 18 diverse natural streamflow stations, defined by Hydrology Group (1-6) and streamflow driver (a-c). Hydrograph type 'a' rivers are driven by mixed rain and snow processes and types 'b' and 'c' describe rivers dominated by snowmelt runoff. From West to East, the following classifications are represented: 1b in Saskatchewan, 1b and 2c in Manitoba, 5c, 3c, 6c, 1a, 4a, 3a, and 3c, 1c in Quebec.

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Given the diversity of Hydrology Groups, there were few general conclusions about changes in streamflow for the entire ecozone+. Nevertheless, two shifts were apparent, one each in Groups 1 and 3. These two groups represented the majority of stations (11 of 18). During most of the year, flows decreased in Group 1 stations (Figure 20) located in the eastern and western edges of the ecozone+, as well as one north of Lake Superior. Among Group 3 stations, located closer to the centre of the ecozone+, flows increased in the winter and spring but decreased in the summer and fall (Figure 21). Local shifts were also observed, but were not representative of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ at larger scales.Footnote153

Figure 20. Changes in streamflow, temperature, and precipitation between 1961–1982 and 1983–2003 in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Hydrology Group 1, with an example of Grass River representing Group 1b.

graph
Source: Cannon et al., 2011Footnote153

Long Description for Figure 20

This figure is a series of line, bar and scatterplot graphs with a map showing changes in streamflow, temperature, and precipitation between 1961–1982 and 1983–2003 in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ for Hydrology Group 1, with an example of Grass River representing Group 1b. During most of the year, flows decreased in Group 1 stations located in the eastern and western edges of the ecozone.

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Figure 21. Changes in streamflow, temperature, and precipitation between 1961–1982 and 1983–2003 in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Hydrology Group 3, with an example of Sturgeon River representing Group 3c.

graph
Source: Cannon et al., 2011Footnote153

Long Description for Figure 21

This figure is a series of line, bar and scatterplot graphs with a map showing changes in streamflow, temperature, and precipitation between 1961–1982 and 1983–2003 in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ for Hydrology Group 3, with an example of Sturgeon River representing Group 3c. Among Group 3 stations, located closer to the centre of the ecozone+, flows increased in the winter and spring but decreased in the summer and fall.

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River Flows in the Winnipeg River Basin

A Geological Survey of CanadaFootnote1 study examining river flows over the past century in the Winnipeg River basin illustrated the significant variation at the local scale for hydrological trends in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. In this region specifically, average annual flows have increased by 58% since 1924. This differs from the more general pattern of decreasing flows observed northeast and northwest of this region, except for a higher and maybe earlier spring freshet (Figure 22). Winter discharge and streamflow have increased by 60% to 110% over the entire basin, likely caused by climatic factors. This shows that hydrological trends in the Winnipeg River basin during the last century differ from those observed for many other Canadian watersheds. Therefore, projections about decreasing surface flows and availability of water may not be valid for the Winnipeg River watershed.Footnote3 However, the latest half of the 20th century saw increases in winter temperatures (Zhang et al., 2011Footnote154 and supplementary data provided by the authors) and decreased winter precipitation in the east and west (Zhang et al., 2011Footnote154and supplementary data provided by the authors). Cree elders from Shoal Lake, Manitoba observed that there is less rain and snow than in the past. When it rains, they say that the land does not saturate and that this appears to be associated with warmer temperatures.Footnote4 Trends observed for the Winnipeg River basin appeared to depend on the timeline examined, where increased streamflow in the 20th century may be due to climatic trends that occurred prior to 1950. The rest of the ecozone+, in contrast, saw decreased flows and the main concerns were related to shifts in fish migration patterns, the availability of riparian habitat, and water quality.

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Figure 22. Map showing trends in the a) 1-day minimum and b) 1-day maximum river flow in natural rivers across Canada, 1970–2005.

map
Source: Monk and Baird, 2014Footnote14

Long Description for Figure 22

This figure contains two maps of Canada, illustrating trends from 1970-2005. Map a) depicts trends in the one-day minimum runoff by ecozone+ and shows concentrations of 'significant increases' in Western Canada, and 'significant decreases' in Eastern Canada.  Map b) depicts trends in the one-day maximum runoff by ecozone and shows 'significant increases' primarily in the centre of the country, and 'significant decreases' concentrated along the southern borders of western and eastern Canada. Together the maps show a general pattern of decreasing flows in the northeast and northwest of the Winnipeg River basin.

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Other key findings relevant to freshwater ecosystems include Intact landscapes and waterscapes on page 122, Fish on page 134, Aquatic Invasive non-native invertebrates on page 80, Boreal Shield Ecozone+ on page 93, Boreal Shield Ecozone+ on page 98, and Acid deposition on page 103.

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Regulated streams and rivers

Dams and reservoirs alter the physical landscape, interrupt hydrological regimes, and the process of impoundment introduces contaminants that can accumulate along the food chain. More specifically, dams interrupt fish migration, increase sedimentation, flood or reduce habitat, and change water levels and water chemistry.Footnote155 The degree of impact depends on the size of the dams, their operation, and the ecosystems’ biophysical characteristics.Footnote156, Footnote157 However, dams can be operated to emulate natural hydrological regimes and mitigate adverse effects on ecosystems.Footnote158

Dams are more common in the southeastern portion of the ecozone+ (Figure 23).Footnote159 The 1950s were the most productive decade for building dams in the ecozone+ and many of these dams are approaching the end of their productive lives (Figure 24).Footnote12

Figure 23. Distribution of dams greater than 10 m in height within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ grouped by year of completion from 1830 to 2005.

map
Source: data from Canadian Dam Association, 2003Footnote159

Long Description for Figure 23

This map shows the distribution of dams greater than 10m in height within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. The 1940s and 1950s were the most productive decade for building dams in the ecozone+.The majority of the dams are located in the southeastern part of the ecozone+. The dams are identified by the year their construction was completed.

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Figure 24. Number of dams greater than 10 m in height constructed in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ per decade, 1900s to 2000s (except for 2000–2005).

graph
Source: data from Canadian Dam Association, 2003Footnote159

Long Description for Figure 24

This bar graph shows the following information:

Number of dams greater than 10 m in height constructed in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ per decade, 1900s to 2000s (except for 2000–2005).
YearNumber of dams
1900-092
1910-1912
1920-2940
1930-3925
1940-4931
1950-5970
1960-6943
1970-7917
1980-893
1990-9913
2000-059

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Eight out of nine stations in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ were classified as Hydrology Group 4 (Figure 25).Footnote153 Rivers in this ecozone+ can further be divided by their hydrologic regime. The easternmost part of the island is dominated by rainfall driven systems (type d) and the four remaining stations are either driven by mixed rain and snow processes (type a) or dominated by snowmelt runoff (type c).

Figure 25. Natural streamflow stations in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ by Hydrology Group (1 or 4) and streamflow driver (a, c, or d), 1961–2003.

Hydrograph type a rivers are driven by mixed rain and snow processes, type c describes rivers dominated by snowmelt runoff, and type d describes rivers exhibiting a rainfall driven pattern.

map
Source: Cannon et al., 2011Footnote153

Long Description for Figure 25

This figure shows a map of the nine natural streamflow stations in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, by Hydrology Group (1-4) and streamflow driver (a,c, or d). Eight out of nine stations in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+were classified as Hydrology Group 4. Hydrology Groups 1c, 4c and 4a occur in the northwestern section of the ecozone, and 4c in the southeastern part.

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The main pattern shift detected in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ was associated with Hydrology Group 4. Streamflow in this group increased in the spring by 10–40% relative to the median and decreased by 20–70% relative to the median during the summer low flow season (Figure 26a). Canada-wide, half of the stations classified as Hydrology Group 4 had temperature increases of up to 4°C during winter months (Figure 26b); however, this warming did not occur in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. A decrease in temperature was found in all stations in the ecozone+ in January. The Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ experienced cooler winters and warmer springs and summers (up to a 1°C increase), with no change detected in the fall. Precipitation in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ increased on average by 10–30% relative to the median for all months except August, November, and December (Figure 26c). For months where precipitation decreased, the average drop was approximately 10% relative to the median.

Figure 26. Changes in a) streamflow, b) temperature, and c) precipitation for Hydrology Group 4 in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1961–2003.

a) Group 4 significance of streamflow change

graph
Source: Cannon et al., 2011Footnote153

Long Description for Figure 26

This series of bar graphs shows the changes in streamflow, temperature, and precipitation for Hydrology Group 4 in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ for 1961 to 2003.The main pattern shift detected in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ was associated with Hydrology Group 4. Streamflow in this group increased in the spring by 10–40% relative to the median and decreased by 20–70% relative to the median during the summer low flow season.

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Rainfall driven hydrologic regimes dominate the easternmost portion of the ecozone+, while the rest of the island is dominated by mixed rain and snow or snowmelt driven regimes (Figure 25).Footnote153 Table 14 summarizes trends in unmanaged rivers from 1961 to 2003. Stream flow increases in the spring were attributed to a combination of higher precipitation and earlier snowmelt due to higher temperatures (see the Climate change key finding on page 109).Footnote153 Decreases in summer discharge may be caused by higher temperatures, offsetting the effects of increased precipitation earlier in the season.Footnote153 Hydrologic changes may also be the result of interior forest losses dues to harvest, fire, and insect outbreaks.Footnote160

Table 14. Summary of hydrologic trends in rivers with minimal regulation or impact upstream.
Period analyzedStations analyzedParameterSignificant Trends
1970–2005Footnote14 mapTotal monthly runoff↑ ↓
Minimum 1, 3, 7, 30, 90 day runoff
Maximum 1, 3, 7, 30, 90 day runoff
1961–2003Footnote153 mapSpring discharge
Summer discharge

Sources: Monk and Baird, 2014Footnote14 and Cannon et al., 2011Footnote153

The Bay du Nord River, a characteristic rainfall driven system (Figure 25), has displayed clear increases in spring flow and decreases in summer flow (Figure 27a). Hydrologic changes are also evident in the Gander River, a characteristic mixed rain and snow driven system.Footnote153 Peak flows occurred earlier, with higher flows before the peak flow, and lower flows after the peak flow (Figure 27b).

Figure 27. Changes in streamflow comparing 1961–1982 and 1983–2003 for the Bay du Nord River (left) and the Gander River (right).

graph
Source: Cannon et al., 2011Footnote153

Long Description for Figure 27

These line graphs show the changes in streamflow comparing 1961–1982 and 1983–2003 for the Bay du Nord River and the Gander River increases in spring flow and decreases in summer flow. Hydrologic changes are also evident in the Gander River, a characteristic mixed rain and snow driven system. Peak flows occurred earlier, with higher flows before the peak flow, and lower flows after the peak flow.

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Regulated streams and rivers

Most dams in Newfoundland were built in the 1980s. Figure 28 shows locations of large dams completed in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ from 1895 to 2005.

Figure 28. Distribution of dams greater than 10 m in height within the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+grouped by year of completion from 1830 to 2005.

map
Source: data from Canadian Dam Association, 2003Footnote159

Long Description for Figure 28

This map shows the distribution of dams greater than 10 m in height within the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ grouped by year of completion from 1830 to 2005. The dams are primarily located in the centre of the ecozone+, although many dams built between 1940 and 1959 are located on the eastern coast of Newfoundland.  Most dams in Newfoundland were built in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Coastal

Key finding 5
Theme Biomes

National key finding

Coastal ecosystems, such as estuaries, salt marshes, and mud flats, are believed to be healthy in less-developed coastal areas, although there are exceptions. In developed areas, extent and quality of coastal ecosystems are declining as a result of habitat modification, erosion, and sea-level rise.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Coastal ecosystems within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are located along the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Lake Superior, and the Labrador Sea. The most sensitive areas within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are on the north shore of the St. Lawrence and Anticosti Island, located at the mouth of the St. Lawrence River into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Two-thirds of this 1,825 km of coast are classified as moderately to very sensitive to erosion.Footnote161 In very sensitive areas, coastal loss can reach 10 m per year.

Accelerated coastal erosion is correlated with changes in climatic variables such as increased storm frequency,Footnote162, Footnote163 shorter ice season, more freeze/thaw cycles and winter rain events,Footnote164 and increased sea level rise.Footnote165 Temperatures in the maritime region of eastern Quebec increased by 0.9°C over the past centuryFootnote163 with a concurrent 17 cm increase in sea level.Footnote166, Footnote167 The rate of erosion increased in the Laurentian maritime of Quebec between 1990 and 2004 as compared to pre–1990 studies.Footnote168 This was especially true for low sandy coastlines and low clayey cliffs (Figure 29).

Figure 29. Sensitivity to coastal erosion of the four major types of coastal systems of the Laurentian maritime of Quebec according to historical and recent erosion rates..

graph
Source: adapted from Bernatchez and Dubois, 2004Footnote168 

Long Description for Figure 29

This graph shows the sensitivity to coastal erosion of the four major types of coastal systems of the Laurentian maritime of Quebec according to historical and recent erosion rates. The rate of erosion increased in the Laurentian maritime of Quebec between 1990 and 2004 as compared to pre–1990 studies. This was especially true for low sandy coastlines and low clayey cliffs.

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Changes in ice dynamics due to warmer temperature likely contributed to increased erosion on the north shore of the St. Lawrence gulf and estuary.Footnote169 Lake ice broke-up earlier on inland lakes of the ecozone+ from 1970 to 2004 (Figure 36 ).Footnote170 See the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ key finding on page 66 for more information.

Double-crested cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) were first noted to be breeding in western Lake Superior in 1913.Footnote171 From 1913 to 1945, they spread eastward across the Great Lakes, colonizing Lakes Huron and Michigan, then Lakes Erie and Ontario, and finally the Upper St. Lawrence River.Footnote172 The population of double‐crested cormorants is surveyed by Canadian Wildlife Service on a five-year rotation in the migratory bird sanctuaries of the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Although cormorant populations increased during the 1980s and 1990s (Figure 30),Footnote173 this trend may not be representative of the whole ecozone+. Major impacts of the increasing populations of double-crested cormorants include destruction of vegetation, impacts on other colonial waterbirds such as black-crowned night-herons (Nycticorax nycticorax), and impacts on fisheries.Footnote172 To reduce cormorant populations, culling, destruction of nests and eggs, and harassment of birds began in the 1990s in the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence River.Footnote172

Figure 30. Number of double-crested cormorants in sanctuaries on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from 1925 to 2005.

graph
Source: Weseloh, 2011Footnote173 adapted from Savard, 2008Footnote174

Long Description for Figure 30

This bar graph shows the following information:

Number of double-crested cormorants in sanctuaries on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from 1925 to 2005.
YearNumber of individual birds
19251,030
19301,086
19351,168
1940810
1945768
1950432
1955704
1960551
1965710
1972925
1977443
19821,353
19884,556
19933,472
19992,830
20053,346

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

The coastline of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ is approximately 11,550 km long, not including the many islands scattered along the coast.Footnote175 The coastline is dotted with bays, inlets, sandy beaches, capes, and fjords, supporting habitats including salt marshes, eelgrass (Zostera) assemblages, rockweed (Fucus anceps) surf zone shores, capelin (Mallotus villosus) spawning beaches, temporary intertidal communities, and periwinkle (Littorina littorea) shores.Footnote176 Human settlement is concentrated in coastal areas.Footnote29

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Coastal dunes

Sand dunes are found along much of the coast of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ (Figure 31). Promotion of the dunes for tourism has resulted in increased recreation, including all-terrain vehicle use, that has accelerated coastal erosion and degradation of the dunes.Footnote177 Erosion is further exacerbated by limited offshore winter ice and onshore snow cover. Replenishment of eroded sand is insufficient to maintain the dunes in the long term. Consequently, the coastal dunes of southwest Newfoundland, and perhaps other areas, will not regenerate following disturbance.Footnote177

Figure 31. Sand dunes in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

map
Source: adapted from Catto, 2002Footnote177

Long Description for Figure 31

The map shows several dune classifications: Transverse Dune Complexes, Parabolic, Shield, and Some Dune complexes, Sand Sheets, Ridges and small Dome Dune, Interior Parabolic and Shield Dunes and Aeolian Sand Sheets. Of the 28 dunes in this ecozone+, 21 are identified as 'Substantially Disturbed by Anthropogenic Activities'.

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Sea-level rise and erosion

The effects of sea-level rise since the time of human occupation are evident at archaeological sites such as The Beaches, Bonavista Bay, Fort Frederick, Placentia Bay, and Ferryland.Footnote160 Multiple factors including relief, rock type, land form, sea level change, and anthropogenic activities contribute to coastal erosion.Footnote178 For example, along the southwestern, western, and eastern coasts of the ecozone+, the combination of rising sea levels, increased residential and tourism use, and changing offshore winter ice conditions have intensified erosion and degradation of dunes and shores.Footnote144, Footnote177, Footnote179, Footnote180 Figure 32 and Figure 33 provide evidence of accelerated beach erosion on the Avalon Peninsula. Of 405 coastal communities, the vulnerability of most communities was “moderately high”; Northern Bay Sands, Salmon Cove, and Point Lance Cove were ranked as “extremely high” (Figure 34).

Figure 32. Coastal erosion at Admiral's Beach, Avalon Peninsula, undercut this transportation route.

Coastal erosion at Admiral's Beach, Avalon Peninsula, undercut this transportation route.
Source: Batterson and Liverman, 2010 Footnote181

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Figure 33. Elevation along a beach transect in Mobile, NL, 1995–2005 showing erosion in the upper portion of the beach system.

graph
Source: Catto, 2006Footnote182

Long Description for Figure 33

This line graph shows the elevation along a beach transect in Mobile, NL for 1995 to 2005 showing erosion in the upper portion of the beach system.  This provides evidence of accelerated beach erosion on the Avalon Peninsula.

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Figure 34. Number of communities in eastern Newfoundland experiencing various levels of sensitivity to sea-level rise.

graph
Source: Catto, 2003Footnote160

Long Description for Figure 34

This  line graph shows the following information is expressesd in number of communities:

Number of communities in eastern Newfoundland experiencing various levels of sensitivity to sea-level rise.
Low to
Moderate
ModerateModerate
to High
HighVery HighExtremely
High
419234106383

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Eelgrass

Eelgrass (Zostera marina) is a flowering marine plant that forms extensive subtidal beds in sand and mud along coastlines. It traps particulate matter and plankton and provides habitat for invertebrates, fish, and marine mammals. Eelgrass is an important food for migrating and wintering waterfowl, and provides foraging areas for other birds.Footnote183 Footnote184 Footnote185 Eelgrass meadows are among the most productive ecosystems in the world,Footnote186 and also among the most threatened.Footnote187 Eelgrass assemblages in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ are found in sandy, relatively sheltered lowshore locations. Based on local knowledge and in contrast to other areas on the Atlantic coast, eelgrass populations off the coast of Newfoundland are increasing in abundance, possibly due to milder temperatures and changes in sea ice.Footnote186

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Coastal birds

The fall migration of 14 species of shorebirds was monitored for 12 sites in insular Newfoundland between 1980 and 2005, including six years of data collected by the Newfoundland and Labrador Shorebird Survey (NLSS) volunteers. Population levels fluctuated widely between years and decades. Most species increased in the 1980s, declined in the 1990s, and continued to decline from 2000 to 2005 although these rates were not significant (Table 15 ).Footnote188

Many species which have declined across the MaritimesFootnote189 were species that increased in Newfoundland, possibly indicating a shift in preferred migration stop over areas within the Atlantic region.Footnote188

Table 15. Population trends for common shorebird species on southern migration during the 1980s, 1990s and 2000–2005 in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.
SpeciesTrend
1980–1989
Annual change (%)
1980–1989
PNote a of Table 15
1980–1989
Trend
1990–1999
Annual change (%)
1990–1999
PNote a of Table 15
1990–1999
Trend
2000–2005
Annual change (%)
2000–2005
PNote a of Table 15
2000–2005
Greater yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)0.021.47 -0.10811.4n0.066.08 -
White-rumped sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis)0.2123.0*Note b of Table 15-0.14-13.2n-0.07-7.01 -
Semipalmated plover (Charadrius semipalmatus)0.1516.0*Note b of Table 15-0.02-2.21 --0.03-2.99 -
Semipalmated sandpiper (Calidris pusilla)0.1617.2*Note b of Table 15-0.16-14.6*Note b of Table 15-0.02-2.36 -
Sanderling (Calidris alba)0.066.01*Note b of Table 15-0.11-10.2*Note b of Table 15-0.18-16.6*Note b of Table 15
Black-bellied plover (Pluvialis squatarola)0.1718.4*Note b of Table 15-0.24-20.9*Note b of Table 15-0.10-9.17n
Ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres)0.1313.5*Note b of Table 15-0.15-14.0*Note b of Table 15-0.07-6.70n
American golden-plover (Pluvialis dominica)0.043.75*Note b of Table 15-0.098.42*Note b of Table 15-0.05-4.74*Note b of Table 15
Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)-0.005-0.51 --0.12-11.3*Note b of Table 15-0.04-4.35n
Least sandpiper (Caldiris minutilla)0.077.57*Note b of Table 15-0.06-5.98 --0.02-2.27 -
Dunlin (Calidris alpine)0.043.40*Note b of Table 15-0.09-8.46*Note b of Table 150.022.18 -
Spotted sandpiper (Actitis macularius)-0.04-3.49 -0.1415.0*Note b of Table 15-0.02-2.14 -
Lesser yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)0.099.15*Note b of Table 15-0.104-9.90*Note b of Table 150.0161.59 -
Short-billed dowitcher (Limnodromus griseus)0.088.15*Note b of Table 15-0.05-4.55 --0.06-5.38n

Source: Goulet and Robertson, 2007Footnote188

Notes of Table 15

Note [a] of Table 15

P is the statistical significance

Return to note a referrer of table 15

Note [b] of Table 15

* indicates p <0.05; n indicates 0.05<p<0.1; no value indicates not significant.

Return to note b referrer of table 15

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On the Atlantic Seaboard, in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, Gulf of Maine and Scotian Shelf and Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves marine ecozones+, the sharp discontinuity in oceanography and food webs that occurred in the early 1990s caused some marine bird populations, especially gulls, to shift from positive to negative trends. However, the northern gannet (Morus bassanus) (Table 16) and razorbill (Alca torda) continued to increase from the 1970s onwards, as have most auk (family Alcidae) populations within the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Atlantic puffins (Fratercula arctica) in southeast Newfoundland. Conversely, common terns (Sterna hirundo) generally decreased throughout the period in these ecozones+ (Table 16 ), probably as a result of human influences on their terrestrial breeding habitat. Decreases in large gulls and black-legged kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) (Table 16) may be related to the reduction in inshore fisheries activity (which provided fish offal and discards) following the groundfish moratorium of 1992. Overall positive trends in seabird populations prior to 1990 may reflect continuing recovery from egging and plumage harvesting prevalent before the institution of the Migratory Bird Protection Act in the early twentieth century, or in Newfoundland, after amalgamation with Canada in 1949. Some harvesting activities continued to affect seabirds on the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence as late as the 1960s and 1970s.Footnote190 In addition, the groundfish moratorium off eastern Newfoundland caused the closure of gill-net fisheries that were drowning many auks. Removal of this source of mortality may have had positive consequences for some populations of underwater divers.

Table 16. Trends in the abundance and reliability of the trend for coastal birds in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+  from 1980–2012.
SpeciesAnnual TrendReliability
Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)-13.8Low
Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia)6.57Low
Common tern (Sterna hirundo)-2.75Low
Double-crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)20.3Low
Great black-backed gull (Larus marinus)-4.44Medium
Northern gannet (Morus bassanus)12Low
Ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis)7.52Low

Source: Environment Canada, 2014Footnote79

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Ice across biomes

Key finding 7
Theme Biomes

National key finding

Declining extent and thickness of sea ice, warming and thawing of permafrost, accelerating loss of glacier mass, and shortening of lake-ice seasons are detected across Canada's biomes. Impacts, apparent now in some areas and likely to spread, include effects on species and food webs.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Lake ice

Most Canadian lakes had a tendency or significant trend towards earlier ice break-up (Figure 35). The rate of change in lake-ice thaw was much more rapid from 1950 to 2006 than the rate during the first half of the 20th century.Footnote191 For example, Brochet Bay on Reindeer Lake, MB, broke up 0.5 days earlier per year between 1951–1980 for a total of 14.5 days.Footnote192

Figure 35. Changes in the date of ice thaw on lakes across Canada, 1950–2005.

These nation-wide data exceed the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ boundaries.

map
Source: Environment Canada, 2008Footnote191

Long Description for Figure 35

This map shows the changes in the date of ice thaw on lakes across Canada for 1950–2005. Most Canadian lakes had a tendency or significant trend towards earlier ice break-up.

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Ice in lakes and rivers of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ tended to break up earlier over the past 35 to 200 years,Footnote14, Footnote193 Footnote194 Footnote195 although there was one exception where ice break-up was later from 1950–1998.Footnote194 Figure 36 shows trends in ice break-ups using in situ records and remote sensing observations of 12 large lakes (over 100 km2) in Canada.Footnote196 Ice break-up shifted 12 days earlier over the period of 1970 to 2004 (Figure 36a).Footnote196 Earlier ice break-up corresponded to an earlier arrival of the spring 0°C-isotherm date.Footnote197 Warmer temperatures in spring (Figure 67 a) and winter (Figure 67 d) in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ may partly account for the earlier ice    break-up.

Figure 36. Lake break-up trends for 12 lakes in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1970–2004.

Analyses for break-up are based on in-situ and remote sensing data. Trends for freeze-up for the six most northerly stations are based only on remote sensing data from 1984–2004. Triangles indicate earlier break-up/freeze-up; squares indicate later break-up/freeze-up. Symbols are coloured when trends are significant (p<0.1).

map
Source: adapted from Latifovic and Pouliot, 2007Footnote196

Long Description for Figure 36

 

These maps show shows lake break-up trends for 12 lakes in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ for 1970 to 2004. Ice break-up shifted 12 days earlier over the period of 1970 to 2004. From 1970 to 2004, freeze-up occurred 15 days later for three lakes across the southern half of the ecozone+. Freeze-up occurred 10 days earlier for one more northern lake.

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There is more variability in lake and river freeze-up than in ice break-up,Footnote14 at this ecozone+ level and nationally over 35 to 200 years.Footnote194, Footnote195, Footnote197, Footnote198 The air temperature from one to three months before the event appears to be a potential factor causing changes in ice break-up and freeze-up dates.Footnote199, Footnote200From 1970 to 2004, freeze-up occurred 15 days later for three lakes across the southern half of the ecozone+. Freeze-up occurred 10 days earlier for one more northern lake (Figure 36b).Footnote196

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Permafrost

Permafrost in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is largely confined to organic terrain and has a sporadic distribution over its northeastern and western regions (Figure 37).Footnote201

Figure 37. Permafrost map for Canada.

map
Source: Heginbottom et al., 1995Footnote201

Long Description for Figure 37

This map presents the distribution of continuous, extensive discontinuous, sporadic, and mountain permafrost throughout Canada in the 1990s. Continuous permafrost extended across Northern Canada, including the archipelago of northern islands, to the southern shoreline of Hudson's Bay. A thin strip of extensive discontinuous permafrost bordered the southern limit of the continuous permafrost zone. Sporadic permafrost was located along the northern limit of British Columbia, AB, MB, ON, and QC. Permafrost in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ has a sporadic distribution over its northeastern and western regions.

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Thawing and peatland collapse has occurred over the last 50 to 100 yearsFootnote202 Footnote203 Footnote204 in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The thaw rate of permafrost increased from 4.3 cm/yr between 1948–1991 to 10.5 cm/yr between 1995–2002 at Gillam, from 9.0 cm/yr in 1941–1988 to 28.0 cm/yr in 1995–2002 at Thompson, from 10.2 cm/yr in 1951–1992 to 22.3 cm/yr in 1995–2002 at Wabowden, and 10.9 cm/yr in 1968–1991 to 31.1 cm/yr in 1995–2002 at Snow LakeFootnote204 (Figure 38). Near Saskatchewan’s Lake Athabasca and Black Lake, Aboriginal communities noticed disappearing permafrost in muskeg, which they attributed to warming temperatures.Footnote4 Although frozen peatlands go through natural cycles of permafrost formation and thawing, this permafrost degradation is likely due to climate change.Footnote16

Figure 38. Permafrost thaw rate (cm/yr) at four sites in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1940 to 2000.

Purple circles represent thaw rate measured for the 1941–1991 period using compression rings laid down by individual leaning P. mariana trees. Green circles represent mean thaw rates measured using permanent benchmarks for the 1995–2002 period (plotted for the median year, 1999). Mean site thaw rates for the 1941–1991 and 1995–2002 periods are also shown.

map
Source: adapted from Camill, 2005Footnote204

Long Description for Figure 38

This scatter plot graph shows the permafrost thaw rate at four sites in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+from 1940 to 2000. Thawing and peatland collapse has occurred over the last 50 to 100 years in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The thaw rate of permafrost increased from 4.3 cm/yr in 1948-1991 to 10.5 cm/yr 1995–2002 at Gillam, from 9.0 cm/yr in 1941–1988 to 28.0 cm/yr in 1995–2002 at Thompson, from 10.2 cm/yr in 1951–1992 to 22.3 cm/yr in 1995–2002 at Wabowden, from and 10.9 cm/yr in 1968–1991 to 31.1 cm/yr in 1995–2002 at Snow Lake.

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Permafrost degradation in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ can affect biodiversity through its influence on ground stability, drainage patterns, soil-moisture conditions, and surface and subsurface hydrology.Footnote16 Although the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ does not have continuous permafrost, the discontinuous ice-rich soil has similar physical conditions to more northern ecosystems.Footnote205 In peatland areas, as ice-rich peat thaws and collapses, ponds may replace frozen peat plateaus, creating the conditions for fen ecosystems to develop.Footnote206, Footnote207 Although most of these effects were observed in Arctic sites, permafrost in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is primarily on organic terrain, suggesting a possible loss of peatland in the landscape.Footnote16 Understanding of permafrost hydrology for the ecozone+ is limited by a lack of data. For example, it is uncertain why streamflows in Grass River have decreased annually (Figure 20). Permafrost melt may have altered underground hydrology, which generated drier conditions on the surface, and reduced contributions to the river.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Lake ice

There were few data for ice trends for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ except for one location, Deadman’s Pond, in the north-central part of the ecozone+. From 1961-1990, freeze-up at Deadman’s Pond shifted 0.5 days/yr earlier, which differed from the national trends for later lake ice freeze-up.Footnote197

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Footnote 1

St.-George, S. 2007. Streamflow in the Winnipeg River basin, Canada: Trends, extremes and climate linkages. Journal of Hydrology 332:396-411.

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Footnote 16

Smith, S. 2011. Trends in permafrost conditions and ecology in Northern Canada. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 9. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. iii + 22 p.

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Footnote 23

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Footnote 29

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Footnote 37

Stocks, B.J., Mason, J.A., Todd, J.B., Bosch, E.M., Wotton, B.M., Amiro, B.D., Flannigan, M.D., Hirsch, K.G., Logan, K.A., Martell, D.L. and Skinner, W.R. 2003. Large forest fires in Canada, 1959-1997. Journal of Geophysical Research 108:8149-8161.

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Footnote 38

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Footnote 41

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Footnote 42

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Footnote 43

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Footnote 45

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Footnote 47

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Footnote 48

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Footnote 49

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Footnote 52

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Footnote 53

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Footnote 55

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Footnote 56

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Footnote 57

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Footnote 58

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Footnote 59

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Footnote 60

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Footnote 63

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Footnote 66

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Footnote 70

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Footnote 71

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Footnote 77

Blancher, P. 2003. Importance of Canadaʹs boreal forest to landbirds. Canadian Boreal Initiative and Boreal Songbird Initiative. Ottawa, ON and Seattle, WA. 43 p.

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COSEWIC. 2007. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Olivesided Flycatcher Contopus cooperi in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa, ON. vii + 25 pp. p.

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Environment Canada. 2013. Bird Conservation Strategy for Bird Conservation Region 6: Boreal Taiga Plains. Canadian Wildlife Service. Edmonton, Alberta. iv + 288.

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Saino, N., Ambrosini, R., Rubolini, D., von Hardenberg, J., Provenzale, A., Hüppop, K., Hüppop, O., Lehikoinen, A., Lehikoinen, E., Rainio, K., Romano, M. and Sokolov, L. 2011. Climate warming, ecological mismatch at arrival and population decline in migratory birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 278:835-842.

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Footnote 89

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Footnote 92

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Setterington, M.A., Thompson, I.D. and Montevecchi, W.A. 2000. Woodpecker abundance and habitat use in mature balsam fir forests in Newfoundland. The Journal of Wildlife Management 335-345.

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Forbes, G. 2006. Assessment of information needs regarding moose management in Gros Morne and Terra Nova National Parks, Newfoundland. New Brunswick Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of New Brunswick. Fredericton, NB. 29 p.

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Burzynski, M., Knight, T., Gerrow, S., Hoffman, J., Thompson, R., Deering, P., Major, D., Taylor, S., Wentzell, C., Simpson, A. and Burdett, W. 2005. State of the park report: an assessment of ecological integrity. Parks Canada. Gros Morne National Park of Canada. 19 p.

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Footnote 101

Bergerud, A.T. and Manuel, F. 1968. Moose damage to balsam fir -white birch forests in central Newfoundland. Journal of Wildlife Management 32:729-746.

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Humber, J.M. 2009. Alien plant invasion of boreal forest gaps: implications for stand regeneration in a protected area shaped by hyperabundant herbivores. Thesis (M.Sc.). Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Biology. St. Johnʹs, NL. 214 p.

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Footnote 105

Setterington, M.A., Thompson, I.D. and Montevecchi, W.A. 2000. Woodpecker abundance and habitat use in mature balsam fir forests in Newfoundland. Journal of Wildlife Management 64:335-345.

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Yetman, D. 1999. Epiphytic lichen diversity and abundance based on forest stand type in Terra Nova National Park: implications for lichen conservation and forest management. Thesis (B.Sc.). Memorial University of Newfoundland, Department of Biology. St. Johnʹs, NL. 146 p.

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Rabasco, R.M. 2000. Trophic effects of macrophyte removal on fish populations in a boreal lake. Thesis (MNRM). University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 113 p.

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Lepage, C. and Bordage, D.(eds.). 2013. Status of Quebec waterfowl populations, 2009. Technical Report Series, No. 525. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada, Quebec Region. Québec City, QC. xiii + 243 p.

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Smith, G.W. 1995. A critical review of the aerial and ground surveys of breeding waterfowl in North America. Biological Science Report No. 5. National Biological Service. Washington, DC. 252 p.

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DesGranges, J.L. and Gagnon, C. 1994. Duckling response to changes in the trophic web of acidified lakes. In Aquatic Birds in the Trophic Web of Lakes. Springer. pp. 207-221.

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Mowbray, T.B., Ely, C.R., Sedinger, J.S. and Trost, R.E. 2002. Canada goose (Branta canadensis). In The birds of North America online. Edited by Poole, A. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Ithaca, NY.

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Canadian Wildlife Service. 2001. Canadian Shorebird Conservation Plan. Edited by Donaldson, G.M., Hyslop, C., Morrison, R.I.G., Dickson, H.L. and Davidson, I. Canadian Wildlife Service. Ottawa.

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Myers, J.P., Morrison, R.I.G., Antas, P.Z., Harrington, B.A., Lovejoy, T.E., Sallaberry, M., Senner, S.E. and Tarak, A. 1987. Conservation strategy for migratory species. American Scientist 75:19-25.

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Sinclair, P.H., Aubry, Y., Bart, J., Johnston, V., Lanctot, R., McCaffrey, B., Ross, K., Smith, P.A. and Tibbitts, L.T. 2004. Boreal shorebirds: an assessment of conservation status and potential for population monitoring. Program for Regional and International Shorebird Monitoring (PRISM) Boreal Committee. Whitehorse, YT.

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Morrison, R.I.G., Aubry, Y., Butler, R.W., Beyersbergen, G.W., Downes, C., Donaldson, G.M., Gratto-Trevor, C.L., Hicklin, P.W., Johnston, V.H. and Ross, R.K. 2001. Declines in North American shorebird populations. Wader Study Group Bulletin 94:34-38.

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Catto, N.R. 2006. Impacts of climate change and variation on the natural areas of Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment & Conservation. St. Johnʹs, NL. 160 p.

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Environment and Conservation Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. 2009. Eastern Habitat Joint Venture [online]. (accessed 19 June, 2009).

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Footnote 148

Gilliland, S.G., Robertson, G.J., Robert, M., Savard, J.P.L., Amirault, D., Laporte, P. and Lamothe, P. 2002. Abundance and distribution of harlequin ducks molting in eastern Canada. Waterbirds 25:333-339.

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Footnote 149

Bellrose, F.C. 1980. Ducks, geese and swans of North America. Stackpole Books. Harrisburg, PA. 540 p.

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Footnote 150

Thompson, R.G., Warkentin, I.G. and Flemming, S.P. 2008. Response to logging by a limited but variable nest predator guild in the boreal forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research/Revue canadienne de recherche forestière 38:1974-1982.

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Footnote 151

Wells, J.V. 2010. A forest of blue: Canadaʹs boreal forest, the worldʹs waterkeeper. Pew Environment Group & International Boreal Conservation Campaign. Seattle, WA. 73 p.

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Footnote 152

Monk, W.A., Wood, P.J., Hannah, D.M. and Wilson, D.A. 2008. Macroinvertebrate community response to inter-annual and regional river flow regime dynamics. River Research and Applications 24:988-1001.

Return to Footnote 152

Footnote 153

Cannon, A., Lai, T. and Whitfield, P. 2011. Climate-driven trends in Canadian streamflow, 1961-2003. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 19. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. Draft report.

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Footnote 154

Zhang, X., Brown, R., Vincent, L., Skinner, W., Feng, Y. and Mekis, E. 2011. Canadian climate trends, 1950-2007. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 5. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. iv + 21 p.

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Footnote 155

McAllister, D., Craig, J., Davidson, N., Murray, D. and Seddon, M. 2000. Biodiversity impacts of large dams. Background Paper No. 1. Prepared for IUCN / UNEP / WCD. 66 p.

Return to Footnote 155

Footnote 156

Finstad, A.G., Forseth, T. and Faenstad, T.F. 2004. The importance of ice cover for energy turnover in juvenile Atlantic salmon. Journal of Animal Ecology 73:959-966.

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Footnote 157

Environment Canada. 2004. Threats to water availability in Canada. NWRI Scientific Assessment Report Series No. 3 and ACSD Science Assessment Series No. 1. National Water Research Institute. Burlington, ON. 128 p.

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Footnote 158

Arthington, A.H. 1998. Comparative evaluation of environmental flow assessment techniques: review of holistic methodologies. Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation Occasional Paper No. 26/98. 46 p.

Return to Footnote 158

Footnote 159

Canadian Dam Association. 2003. Dams in Canada. International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). Montréal, QC. CD-ROM.

Return to Footnote 159

Footnote 160

Catto, N.R., Scruton, D.A. and Ollerheard, L.M.N. 2003. The coastline of eastern Newfoundland. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Science No. 2495. DFO. St. Johnʹs, NL. 241 p.

Return to Footnote 160

Footnote 161

Dubois, J.M.M. 1999. Dynamique de lʹérosion littorale sur la Côte-Nord du Saint-Laurent. In Proceedings of the regional reunion Colloque régional sur lʹérosion des berges : vers une gestion intégrée des interventions en milieu marin. Comité de la zone dʹintervention prioritaire de la rive nord de lʹestuaire, MRC de Manicouagan (r éd.). Baie-Comeau, Quebec.

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Footnote 162

Forbes, D.L., Parkes, G.S., Manson, G.K. and Ketch, L.A. 2004. Storms and shoreline retreat in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Marine Geology 210:169-204.

Return to Footnote 162

Footnote 163

Savard, J.-P., Bernatchez, P., Morneau, F., Saucier, F., Gachon, P., Senville, S., Fraser, C. and Jolivet, Y. 2008. Étude de la sensibilité des côtes et de la vulnérabilité des communautés du golfe du Saint-Laurent aux impacts des changements climatiques - synthèse des résultats. Ouranos. Rimouski, QC. 48 p.

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Footnote 164

Bernatchez, P. and Dubois., J.M.M. 2008. Seasonal quantification of coastal processes and cliff erosion on fine sediments shoreline in a cold temperate climate, North Shore of the St. Lawrence Maritime Estuary, Quebec. Journal of Coastal Research

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Footnote 165

Bernatchez, P., Fraser, C., Friesinger, S., Jolivet, Y., Dugas, S., Drejza, S. and Morissette, A. 2008. Sensibilité des côtes et vulnérabilité des communautés du golfe du Saint-Laurent aux impacts des changements climatiques. Rapport de recherche remis au Consortium Ouranos et au FACC. Laboratoire de dynamique et de gestion intégrée des zones côtières, Université du Québec. Rimouski, QC. 256 p.

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Footnote 166

McCulloch M.M., Forbes, D.L., Shaw, R.W. and CAFF-A041 Scientific Team. 2002. Coastal impact of climate change and sea-level rise on Prince Edward Island: synthesis report. Open File 4261. Geological Survey of Canada. 62 p. + CD-ROM.

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Footnote 167

Forbes, D.L., Parkes, G.S. and Ketch, L.A. 2006. Élévation du niveau de la mer et subsidence régionale. In Impacts de lʹélévation du niveau de la mer et du changement climatique sur la zone côtière du sud-est du Nouveau-Brunswick. Edited by Daigle, R. Environnement Canada. Dartmouth, NS. pp. 38-100.

Return to Footnote 167

Footnote 168

Bernatchez, P. and Dubois, J.-M.M. 2004. Bilan des connaissances de la dynamique de lʹérosion des côtes du Québec maritime laurentien. Géographie physique et Quaternaire 58:45-71.

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Footnote 169

Comité dʹexperts de lʹérosion des berges de la Côte-Nord. 2006. Évaluation des risques dʹérosion du littoral de la Côte-Nord du Saint-Laurent: pour la période de

Return to Footnote 169

Footnote 170

Rinke, A. and Dethloff, K. 2008. Simulated circum-arctic climate changes by the end of the 21st century. Global and Planetary Change 62:173-186.

Return to Footnote 170

Footnote 171

Baillie, J.L. 1947. The double-crested cormorant nesting in Ontario. Canadian Field-Naturalist 61:119-126.

Return to Footnote 171

Footnote 172

Weseloh, D.V., Pekarik, C., Havelka, T., Barrett, G. and Reid, J. 2002. Population trends and colony locations of double-crested cormorants in the Canadian Great Lakes and immediately adjacent areas, 1990-2000: a managerʹs guide. Journal of Great Lakes Research 28:125-144.

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Footnote 173

Weseloh, D.V.C. 2011. Inland colonial waterbird and marsh bird trends for Canada. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 18. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. iv+33 p. .

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Footnote 174

Savard, J.-P.L. 2008. Données de lʹobservatoire dʹoiseaux de Tadoussac. unpublished data. Unpublished data.

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Footnote 175

Sebert, L.M. and Munro, M.R. 1972. Dimensions and areas of maps of the National Topographic System of Canada. Technical Report 72-1. Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Surveys and Mapping Branch. Ottawa, ON.

Return to Footnote 175

Footnote 176

Catto, N.R., Hooper, R.G., Anderson, M.R., Scruton, D.A., Meade, J.D., Ollerhead, L.M.N. and Williams, U.P. 1999. Biological and geomorphological shoreline classification of Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. No. 2289. Canadian Technical Report on Fisheries and Aquatic Science. 35 p.

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Footnote 177

Catto, N.R. 2002. Anthropogenic pressures on coastal dunes, southwest Newfoundland. The Canadian Geographer 46:17-32.

Return to Footnote 177

Footnote 178

Shaw, J., Taylor, R.B., Solomon, S., Christian, H.A. and Forbes, D.L. 1998. Potential impacts of global sea-level rise on Canadian coasts. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien 42:365-379.

Return to Footnote 178

Footnote 179

Ingram, D. 2005. An investigation of the role of tidal variation on storm surge elevation and frequency in Port-aux-Basques, Newfoundland. Department of Environmental Science, Memorial University of Newfoundland. St. Johnʹs, NL. Unpublished research report.

Return to Footnote 179

Footnote 180

Catto, N.R. 1994. Anthropogenic pressures and the dunal coasts of Newfoundland. In Coastal Zone Canada 1994 Conference: Co-operation in the Coastal Zone, proceedings. Edited by Wells, P.G. and Ricketts, P.J. Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Vol. 5, pp. 2266-2286.

Return to Footnote 180

Footnote 181

Batterson, M. and Liverman, D. 2010. Past and future sea-level change in Newfoundland and Labrador: guidelines for policy and planning No. 10-1. Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources Geological Survey. 141 p.

Return to Footnote 181

Footnote 182

Catto, N.R. 2006. More than 16 years, more than 16 stressors: evolution of a reflective gravel beach, 1989-2005. Géographie physique et Quaternaire 60:49-62.

Return to Footnote 182

Footnote 183

Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans. 2008. Fifth report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to the House of Commons. Government of Canada. Ottawa, ON. 2 p.

Return to Footnote 183

Footnote 184

Hanson, A.R. 2004. Status and conservation of eelgrass (Zostera marina) in eastern Canada. Technical Report Series No. 412. Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service, Atlantic Region. Sackville, NB. 40 p.

Return to Footnote 184

Footnote 185

Short, F.T. 2008. Report to the Cree Nation of Chisasibi on the status of eelgrass in James Bay. Jackson Estuarine Laboratory. Durham, NH. 30 p.

Return to Footnote 185

Footnote 186

DFO. 2009. Does eelgrass (Zostera marina) meet the criteria as an ecologically significant species? Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat Science Advisory Report No. 2009/018. Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Moncton, NB. 11 p.

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Footnote 187

Waycott, M., Duarte, C.M., Carruthers, T.J.B., Orth, R.J., Dennison, W.C., Olyarnik, S., Calladine, A., Fourqurean, J.W., Heck, K.L., Hughes, A.R., Kendrick, G.A., Kenworthy, W.J., Short, F.T. and Williams, S.L. 2009. Accelerating loss of seagrasses across the globe threatens coastal ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106:12377-12381.

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Footnote 188

Goulet, D.J. and Robertson, G.J. 2007. Population trends of shorebirds during fall migration in insular Newfoundland 1980-2005. Canadian Wildlife Service Technical Report Series No. 473. Canadian Wildlife Service. Atlantic Region. vi + 52 pp.

Return to Footnote 188

Footnote 189

Gratto-Trevor, C., Morrison, R.I.G., Collins, B., Rausch, J., Drever, M. and Johnston, V. 2011. Trends in Canadian shorebirds. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 13. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. iv + 32 p.

Return to Footnote 189

Footnote 190

Blanchard, K.A. 1984. Seabird harvest and the importance of education in seabird management on the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Thesis . Cornell University. 242 p.

Return to Footnote 190

Footnote 191

Environment Canada and Ice Watch. 2008. Changes in lake ice signal a changing climate. IceWatch and Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. 8 p.

Return to Footnote 191

Footnote 192

Jasek, M.J. 1998. 1998 break-up and flood on the Yukon River at Dawson -- did El Niño and climate play a role? In Proceedings of the 14th International Ice Symposium. Potsdam, NY. Vol. 2, pp. 761-768.

Return to Footnote 192

Footnote 193

de Rham, L.P., Prowse, T.D. and Bonsal, B.R. 2008. Temporal variations in river-ice break-up over the Mackenzie River Basin, Canada. Journal of Hydrology 349:441-454.

Return to Footnote 193

Footnote 194

Lacroix, M.P., Prowse, T.D., Bonsal, B.R., Duguay, C.R. and Ménard, P. 2005. River ice trends in Canada. In Proceedings of the 13th Workshop on the Hydraulics of Ice Covered Rivers. Edited by Committee on River Ice Processes and the Enviroment. Canadian Geophysical Union. Ottawa, ON. pp. 41-54.

Return to Footnote 194

Footnote 195

Zhang, X.B., Harvey, K.D., Hogg, W.D. and Yuzyk, T.R. 2001. Trends in Canadian streamflow. Water Resources Research 37:987-998.

Return to Footnote 195

Footnote 196

Latifovic, R. and Pouliot, D. 2007. Analysis of climate change impacts on lake ice phenology in Canada using the historical satellite data record. Remote Sensing of Environment 106:492-507.

Return to Footnote 196

Footnote 197

Duguay, C.R., Prowse, T.D., Bonsal, B.R., Brown, R.D., Lacroix, M.P. and Ménard, P. 2006. Recent trends in Canadian lake ice cover. Hydrological Processes 20:781-801.

Return to Footnote 197

Footnote 198

Magnuson, J.J., Robertson, D.M., Benson, B.J., Wynne, R.H., Livingstone, D.M., Arai, T., Assel, R.A., Barry, R.G., Card, V., Kuusisto, E., Granin, N.G., Prowse, T.D., Stewart, K.M. and Vuglinski, V.S. 2000. Historical trends in lake and river ice cover in the Northern Hemisphere. Science 289:1743-1746.

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Footnote 199

Bonsal, B.R. and Prowse, T.D. 2003. Trends and variability in spring and autumn 0oC-isotherm dates over Canada. Climatic Change 57:341-358.

Return to Footnote 199

Footnote 200

Bonsal, B.R., Prowse, T.D., Duguay, C.R. and Lacroix, M.P. 2006. Impacts of large-scale teleconnections on freshwater-ice break/freeze-up dates over Canada. Journal of Hydrology 330:340-353.

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Footnote 201

Heginbottom, J.A., Dubreuil, M.A. and Harker, P.A.C. 1995. Permafrost, 1995. In The National Atlas of Canada. Edition 5. National Atlas Information Service, Geomatics Canada and Geological Survey of Canada. Ottawa, ON. Map.

Return to Footnote 201

Footnote 202

Beilman, D.W., Vitt, D.H. and Halsey, L.A. 2001. Localized permafrost peatlands in western Canada: definition, distributions, and degradation. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 33:70-77.

Return to Footnote 202

Footnote 203

Beilman, D.W. and Robinson, S.D. 2003. Peatland permafrost thaw and landform type along a climatic gradient. In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Permafrost. Zurich, Switzerland, 21-25 July, 2003. Edited by Phillips, M., Springman, S.M. and Arenson, L.U. Swets & Zeitlinger. Lisse, Netherlands. Vol. 1, pp.61-65.

Return to Footnote 203

Footnote 204

Camill, P. 2005. Permafrost thaw accelerates in boreal peatlands during late-20th century climate warming. Climatic Change 68:135-152.

Return to Footnote 204

Footnote 205

Hinzman, L.D., Bettez, N.D., Bolton, W.R., Chapin, F.S., Dyurgerov, M.B., Fastie, C.L., Griffith, B., Hollister, R.D., Hope, A., Huntington, H.P., Jensen, A.M., Jia, G.J., Jorgenson, T., Kane, D.L., Klein, D.R., Kofinas, G., Lynch, A.H., Lloyd, A.H., McGuire, A.D., Nelson, F.E., Oechel, W.C., Osterkamp, T.E., Racine, C.H., Romanovsky, V.E., Stone, R.S., Stow, D.A., Sturm, M., Tweedie, C.E., Vourlitis, G.L., Walker, M.D., Walker, D.A., Webber, P.J., Welker, J.M., Winker, K. and Yoshikawa, K. 2005. Evidence and implications of recent climate change in Northern Alaska and other arctic regions. Climatic Change 72:251-298.

Return to Footnote 205

Footnote 206

Burgess, M.M. and Tarnocai, C. 1997. Peatlands in the discontinuous permafrost zone along the Norman Wells pipeline, Canada. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Physics, Chemistry, and Ecology of Seasonally Frozen Soils, Special Report 97-10. Fairbanks, AK, 10-12 June, 1997. Edited by Iskandar, I.K., Wright, E.A., Radke, J.K., Sharratt, B.S., Groenevelt, P.H. and Hinzman, L.D. U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory. Hanover, NH. pp. 417-424.

Return to Footnote 206

Footnote 207

Aylsworth, J.M. and Kettles, I.M. 2000. Distribution of peatlands. In The physical environment of the Mackenzie Valley, Northwest Territories: a baseline for the assessment of environmental change. Edited by Dyke, L.D. and Brooks, G.R. Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 547. pp. 49-55.

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Return to Table of Contents

Theme: Human/Ecosystem Interactions

Protected areas

Key finding 8
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding

Both the extent and representativeness of the protected areas network have increased in recent years. In many places, the area protected is well above the United Nations 10% target. It is below the target in highly developed areas and marine areas.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

The rate at which protected areas in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ have been created has increased since the 1970s (Figure 39). Before 1992 (the signing of the Convention on Biological Diversity), 3% of the Boreal Shield was protected.Footnote 1 As of May 2009, 8.1% (143,491 km2) were protected.Footnote 10 Of this, 7.9% of the ecozone+ was in 1,336 sites classified as IUCN protected area categories I–IV. These categories include nature reserves, wilderness areas, and other parks and reserves managed to conserve ecosystems and natural and cultural features, as well as those managed mainly for habitat and wildlife conservation.Footnote 208 A further 0.06% (482 protected areas) were in IUCN categories V–VI, which focus on sustainable resource use. The remaining <0.01% (10 protected areas established since 2004) have not been categorized under the IUCN criteria.

For example, although not presently included in IUCN categories I-V, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation declared 13,025 km2 of the Big Trout Watershed protected by their community through their Water Declaration.Footnote 209 The Province of Ontario also withdrew 23,181 km2 "in the vicinity of KI" from prospecting and mine claim staking, further supporting protection goals by KIFN.

Figure 39. Cumulative area protected in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1893–2009.

Data provided by federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, updated to May 2009. Only legally protected areas are included. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories of protected areas are based on primary management objectives (see text for more information).

The last bar marked 'TOTAL' includes protected areas for which the year established was not provided.

graph
Source: Environment Canada, 2009Footnote210 using Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS) (v.2009.05), 2009;  data provided by federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.

Long Description for Figure 39

This bar graph shows the following information:

Cumulative area protected in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1893–2009.
YearIUCN Categories I-IV
(Cumulative protected area km2)
IUCN Categories V-VI
(Cumulative protected area km2)
1893-19127,7230
1913-192412,4810
1925-194312,5090
1944-195614,1260
195714,7790
195814,7910
195914,8290
1960-196214,8800
196314,9940
196415,4870
1965-196615,5150
196715,8990
196815,9190
196917,1440
197018,5220
197120,4790
197220,4870
197321,5620
197422,4740
197522,4840
197622,5000
197723,0510
197823,1260
1979-198023,1790
198125,6780
198225,6790
198344,6410
198444,6821
198546,3951
198646,3971
1987-198846,4141
198953,4731
199053,4751
199153,7401
199253,7721
199354,207125
199454,377125
199556,766125
199656,999125
199762,465126
199862,994319
199970,483319
200071,464357
200173,497357
200275,893384
2003109,508386
2004112,578563
2005123,3051,018
2006124,4961,018
2007126,2271,020
2008132,6401,020
2009135,0171,020
Total141,2311,055

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Protected areas are fairly well distributed across the Ecozone+, although they are less numerous in the northwest (Figure 40).

Figure 40. Distribution of protected areas in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, May 2009.

map
Source: Environment Canada, 2009  using Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS) (v.2009.05), 2009;  data provided by federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.

Long Description for Figure 40

This map shows the distribution of protected areas in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in May 2009. Protected areas are fairly well distributed across the ecozone+, although they are less numerous in the northwest.

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In 2009, the Ontario and Quebec governments announced plans to protect northern boreal sites. Footnote 211, Footnote 212 Ontario's Far North Act became law in 2010 which mandated protection for about 50% of the area north of currently managed forest land for Ontario. Pikangikum was the first community to complete a community based land use plan in 2006. In 2011, Cat Lake and Slate Falls celebrated the completion of their plan with a signing ceremony, as did Pauingassi and Little Grand Rapids, two Manitoba communities with planning areas in Ontario.Footnote 213

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

As of May 2009, 6.3% (7,098 km2) of the ecozone+ had been protected through 45 protected areas in IUCN categories I–III (Figure 41 and Figure 42). In addition, 1.2% of the ecozone+ was protected through five category VI protected areas, a category that focuses on sustainable use by established cultural tradition within the protected area.

Two wilderness reserves (>1000 km2) and fifteen ecological reserves (<1000 km2) have been created in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ since the provincial Wilderness and Ecological Reserves Actwas passed in 1980.Footnote 214

There are also two national parks, Gros Morne and Terra Nova, and 32 provincial parks and provincial park reserves.

Figure 41. Cumulative area protected in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1957–2009.

Data provided by federal and provincial jurisdictions, updated to May 2009. Only legally protected areas are included. IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) categories of protected areas are based on primary management objectives. Several small biodiversity reserves and other protected areas have been established since 2003. Labels are protected areas in IUCN Categories I–IV. The grey 'unclassified' category represents protected areas for which the IUCN category was not provided.

map
Source: Environment Canada, 2009  using data from the Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS) (v.2009.05), 2009; data provided by federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.

Long Description for Figure 41

This bar graph shows the following information:

Cumulative area protected in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1957–2009.
YearIUCN Categories I-III - Cumulative protected area km2IUCN Category VI - Cumulative protected area km2
19573850
1958-19594130
19604200
1961-19664550
19674720
1968-19694750
1970-19744770
19754910
1976-19775080
1978-19805160
1981-198252315
1983-198453421
198554121
19861,61121
1987-19891,62221
19904,54821
19914,54921
1992-19954,55321
19964,553639
1987-19891,62221
19904,54821
19914,54921
1992-19954,55321
19964,553639
1997-19994,582639
2000-20014,584639
20025,3131,380
2003-20045,3161,380
20057,1021,380
2006-20097,1021,380

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Figure 42. Map of protected areas in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 2009.

map
Source: Environment Canada, 2009 using Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS) (v.2009.05), 2009; data provided by federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdictions.

Long Description for Figure 42

This map shows the location of protected areas in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ in 2009. Five protected areas are immediately evident due to their large areas. The majority of the protected areas are on the main island, with one large area on the northwest coast, one on the northeast coast, one in the region of Grand Lake, one in the southeast and one on the Avalon Peninusla.

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Between 1995 and 1997, the provincial government privatized a number of Provincial Parks and Natural and Scenic Attractions to reduce expenses in the Parks and Recreation system. Some of these privatized properties are no longer operating and are no longer protected such as Pipers Hole River Provincial Park, abandoned in 2008.Footnote 215

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Stewardship

Key finding 9
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding

Stewardship activity in Canada is increasing, both in number and types of initiatives and in participation rates. The overall effectiveness of these activities in conserving and improving biodiversity and ecosystem health has not been fully assessed.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Much of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is unpopulated and in a natural state, so community-driven stewardship activities are relatively rare in this ecozone+. However, stewardship activities are coordinated among larger conservation, First Nations, and industry networks.

Pimachiowin Aki is a cultural landscape and large protected area of intact boreal forest that has been nominated as a UNESCO natural and cultural World Heritage Site. The Ontario and Manitoba governments manage the area in partnership with the Anishnaabe First Nation. The area has a rich diversity of boreal flora and fauna, as well as ancestral lands of great value to Aboriginal communities.Footnote 216 Pimachiowin Aki has yet to be finalized.

Forest companies and environmental organizations in Canada came together in 2010 to create the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA). It is the world's largest conservation initiative. It includes the Forest Products Association of Canada, its 19 member organizations, and 7 non-government environmental organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and the Nature Conservancy. It entails a commitment by the environmental groups to stop boycotting the forest companies involved. In return, the companies have suspended logging operations on almost 290,000 km2 of boreal forest. The suspension of forestry activities gives the signatories an opportunity to work together on action plans for the recovery of caribou and producing ecosystem-based management guidelines that participating companies can use to improve their forestry practices.Footnote 217 The Boreal Leadership Council, first convened in December 2003, is comprised of conservation groups, First Nations, resource companies, and financial institutions. Members of the Council are signatories to the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, which aims to protect at least 50% of the boreal in a network of large, interconnected protected areas and support sustainable communities, ecosystem-based resource management, and stewardship practices across the remaining landscape.Footnote 218

In the Athabasca region of Alberta, the oil industry engages in stewardship activities. The Oil Sands Leadership Initiative (OSLI), a collaborative network comprised of ConocoPhillips Canada, Shell Canada, Statoil Canada, Suncor Energy Inc., Nexen Inc., and Total E&P Canada, has four working groups including one that focuses on land stewardship.Footnote 219 The Land Stewardship Working Group (LSWG) is participating in a voluntary restoration in the Algar region, roughly 100 km from most of Alberta's in situ oil sands operations and within the East Side Athabasca River (ESAR) caribou range. The linear footprint from 20–30 year old seismic lines have left it fragmented, reducing the habitat quality for the caribou herd in the area. These areas are extremely slow to re-vegetate naturally due to cold wet soils. Field treatments applied by LSWG included mechanical site preparation for tree planting, collection and dispersal of coarse woody material along the treated seismic lines, identification and protection of existing natural vegetation for retention, and winter wetland planting of 45,000 black spruce trees (a technique successfully pioneered by the OSLI collaborative network with the Government of Alberta).

Some other notable stewardship activities in the ecozone+ include the following initiatives:

  • The Government of Manitoba convened a State of Knowledge Workshop on    November 29, 2010 with 34 experts to develop a boreal peatlands stewardship strategy.Footnote 220
  • Ontario's "Safe Harbour Agreement" is a stewardship agreement between the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and either an individual property owner or a group of landowners. Under the agreement, landowners voluntarily create, restore and maintain valuable rare habitat such as grasslands or wetlands.Footnote 221
  • Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) has programs in each of the provinces of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. DUC's goal is to protect more than 650,000 km2 in the boreal through a combination of permanent protected areas and environmentally sustainable land use practices.
  • In response to a Greenpeace and Natural Resources Defense Council campaign from 2004 to 2009, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, maker of Kleenex, Scott and Cottonelle brands, announced that it would stop buying wood fibre from the Canadian boreal forest that is not certified by the Forest Stewardship Council by 2012.Footnote 222

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Much of the wetlands stewardship activity in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ is part of the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.Footnote 147 An increasing number of municipalities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador have also committed to protect and enhance wetlands through agreements with the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation.Footnote 223 Through this partnership, municipalities develop a conservation plan for the wetlands, assist in the restoration of degraded wetlands, provide educational opportunities, and promote the participation of the local residents in the use and protection of their resource. The municipalities incorporate the stewardship agreement into municipal planning documents and associated regulations. These long-term agreements have secured 142 km2 (Figure 43) of wetland, wetland associated upland, and coastal habitat from development thereby contributing to wildlife and habitat conservation and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Stewardship agreements are also an important part of protection and recovery for species at risk. Four species at risk stewardship agreements have been signed between the Provincial Government and local entities within the "limestone barrens" regions that are habitat for rare plants. As of 2013, 33 municipalities have signed municipal stewardship agreements.Footnote 224

Figure 43. Cumulative number of management units and total area managed under municipal stewardship agreements in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1993–2013.

graph
Source: Newfoundland Department of Environment and Conservation, unpublished data.Footnote225 

Long Description for Figure 43

This line graph shows the following information:

Cumulative number of management units and total area managed under municipal stewardship agreements in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1993–2013.
YearCumulative Management Units (km2)Cumulative Management Area (km2)
199317
1994211
1995429
1996535
1997642
1998744
1999744
2000744
2001960
20021060
20031163
20041384
200515116
200615116
200716116
200816124
200917124
201017124
201119128
201219128
201324142

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Finally, Ocean Net, a grassroots non-governmental organization, has orchestrated the cleanup of over 1,600 beaches and shorelines in Newfoundland with more than 32,000 community volunteers over the past 10 years.Footnote 226

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Invasive non-native species

Key finding 10
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding

Invasive non-native species are a significant stressor on ecosystem functions, processes, and structure in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine environments. This impact is increasing as numbers of invasive non-native species continue to rise and their distributions continue to expand.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Invasive species affect ecosystem composition and structure by displacing native species and altering ecological processes.Footnote 227 The relatively extreme climate, low biodiversity, and poor resource availability of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ have thus far resisted invasions of non-native species relative to other ecozones+.Footnote 228 Most invasive species occur in the southern part of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest (82–90 species) and Boreal transition areas (64–72 species) in Ontario and Quebec (Figure 44).Footnote 229 Southeastern Quebec and parts of the aspen parkland in Saskatchewan had the second highest numbers of invasive species. The third highest was Labrador, northern and northwestern Ontario, and Manitoba close to Lake Winnipeg (28-36 species). Most of the rest of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ had from 19 to 27 invasive species (Figure 44).

Figure 44. Number of invasive alien plant species in Canada by ecozone+.

Based on the 162 species for which distribution maps were available.

map
Source: Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 2008.Footnote230 

Long Description for Figure 44

This map of Canada shows the distribution and abundance of 162 non-native plant species by ecozone+for 2006. Most invasive species occur in the southern part of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest (82–90 species) and Boreal transition areas (64–72 species) in Ontario and Quebec. Southeastern Quebec and parts of the aspen parkland in Saskatchewan had the second highest numbers of invasive species. The third highest was Labrador, northern and northwestern Ontario, and Manitoba close to Lake Winnipeg (28-36 species). Most of the remaining Boreal Shield Ecozone+had from 19 to 27 invasive species.

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Invasive species are largely unstudied in the boreal. A search on Web of Science for 'invas*' AND 'boreal' spanning from 1864 to 2011 resulted in only 288 papers.Footnote 231 The first was published in 1964 and most of these papers did not address invasive species in the boreal forest directly. Invasive species have been invading the boreal forest from southern Quebec and Ontario. Climate change and resource exploitation are expected to intensify the arrival and establishment of non-native species in this ecozone+.

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Invasive non-native invertebrates
Terrestrial Invasive non-native invertebrates

Terrestrial invasive non-native invertebrates in the boreal include forest insects, earthworms, and slugs. Invasive non-native insects capable of causing tree mortality or defoliation are economically harmful to the forest product industry in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote 232 Four of the five species of non-native defoliating European sawfly that attack birch and alder (Alnus spp.) are found in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote 233 Within the ecozone+, late birch leaf edgeminers (Heterarthrus nemoratus) are in central Saskatchewan and southern Ontario and Quebec, birch leafminers (Fenusa pusilla) and ambermarked birch leafminers (Profenusa thomsoni) are concentrated in Quebec, early birch leaf  edgeminers (Fenusella nana) are in Ontario and Quebec, and the fifth species, Scolioneura vicina, was just south of the ecozone+ in 2009.

Emerald ash borers (Agrilus planipennis) are invasive beetles from China and eastern Asia that have invaded Ontario and Quebec. In 2008, they were found in Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, and at one location in Quebec.Footnote 234 Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanicus), white ash (F. americanus), black ash (F. niger), and possibly blue ash (F. quadralangus) are all affected by emerald ash borers.Footnote 235 Black ash is distributed from western Newfoundland to Manitoba and the invasion of emerald ash borer may substantially reduce the abundance of black ash in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote 236

Probably introduced during the 1700s by European settlers, earthworm species (principally Lumbricus terrestris, L. rubellus, Aporrectodea tuberculata, and A. turgida) are "ecosystem engineers", detritivores that decrease soil organic content in boreal forests and mix organic and mineral soil materials.Footnote 237, Footnote 238 Not only does this reduce the abundance of many native plant species (including seedling trees), but it also causes a shift in ground cover composition from one dominated by forbs to one dominated by sedges. Moreover, disruption of soil processes can also affect nutrient cycling (reduced availability, soil carbon fluctuations, and increased leaching of nitrogen and phosphorous,Footnote 239, Footnote 240 and other organisms inhabiting the forest floor  (e.g., microarthropods and small vertebrates).

Non-native species of slugs found in areas of the North American boreal forest include Arion hortensis, Carinarion fasciatus, Deroceras reticulatum, and A. subfuscus.Footnote 241, Footnote 242 Slugs were found in spruce-associated lichens and mosses as well as in burned areas of eastern Quebec in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ indicating high phenotypic plasticity for habitat requirements. As with earthworms, slugs may alter ecosystems because their consumption of detritus promotes carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling within ecosystems. However, studies of slug abundance and habitat distribution across the North American boreal forest have not been conducted and their ecological impacts remain, for the most part, unknown.

Aquatic Invasive non-native invertebrates

The Great Lakes are barriers to the spread of terrestrial invasive species, but they are also a conduit for aquatic invasives. Several invasive aquatic invertebrate species are associated with Great Lakes waterways and some of the most aggressive invaders, both in rate of spread and impact on native biota, include rusty crayfish (Orconectes rusticus), zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), and spiny water fleas (Bythotrephes longimanus).

Native to the U.S. Midwest, rusty crayfish are invasive herbivores now common in several northern and northeastern states and Canada (Figure 45). They occur in southern and northwestern Ontario (e.g., Lake of the Woods, Quetico Provincial Park, Lake Superior, and its tributaries near Thunder Bay) as well as in Falcon Lake, part of Whiteshell Provincial Park in southeastern Manitoba. This species displaces native crayfish (O. virilis and O. propinquus) and reduces the diversity and abundance of other invertebrates.Footnote 243 They may also impact fish indirectly by altering food resources (e.g., abundance of macrophytes) and directly through egg predation.Footnote 244 Human activities (e.g., anglers dumping bait buckets or intentional releases by commercial crayfish harvesters) coupled with connectivity among watercourses have been linked to the spread of rusty crayfish, which advance at an average rate of 0.68 km/yr.Footnote 245

Figure 45. Growth in distribution of sightings of rusty crayfish in Ontario over time, 1964–2008.

map
Source: Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, 2008Footnote246

Long Description for Figure 45

This map shows the growth in distribution of sightings of rusty crayfish in Ontario between 1964 and 2008. Growth is concentrated between Lake Hudson and Lake Ontario and east of Lake Superior.

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Zebra mussels spread from Lake St. Clair near Detroit in 1988 (Figure 46) and have altered Great Lakes ecosystems by reducing the abundance of zooplankton (especially Diporeia) that are important for the growth of young fish. Decreases in numbers and declining condition of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), smelt (family Osmeridae), and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in the Great Lakes may be linked to declines in Diporeia.

Figure 46. Growth in distribution of sightings of zebra mussels in Ontario over time, 1988–2008.

map
Source: Adapted from Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, 2012

Long Description for Figure 46

This map shows the growth in distribution of sightings of zebra mussels in Ontario over time between 1988 and 2008. Sightings from 2005-2008 are concentrated north of Lake Ontario, and into Quebec.

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Spiny water fleas are a predatory invasive zooplankton species that reduce the biodiversity of zooplankton in freshwater lakes of the southern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ (Figure 47).Footnote 247, Footnote 248 Invading the Great Lakes from Eurasia in the mid-1980s, this species subsequently spread to inland lakes in Canada and the United States in the 1990s and has now expanded its range into more than 70 lakes in Ontario (Figure 48).Footnote 249 A 21-year study found that species richness of crustacean zooplankton declined and pH decreased (7 years post-invasion) in Harp Lake after the invasion of spiny water fleas.Footnote 250 These effects on lake biodiversity add stress to a region already impacted by the detrimental effects of acidificationFootnote 251 and recovering following reductions in sulphur dioxide emissions (see the Acid deposition key finding on page 103).

Figure 47. Changes in a) species richness, b) Shannon Wiener diversity, c) Evar, and d) total abundance (individuals per m3), for crustacean zooplankton, cladocerans, and copepods in lakes invaded by spiny water fleas and reference lakes in the southern Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

Invaded lakes are open boxes (n=10 lakes) and reference lakes are shaded boxes (n=4 lakes). Boxes are ±1 standard error with the average at centre, bars are standard deviations, and asterisks (*) indicate significant differences (p < 0.05).

graph
Source: adapted from Strecker et al., 2006  

Long Description for Figure 47

These bar graphs show that there is lower richness, Shannon-Wiener diversity and total abundance of crustaceans zooplankton and cladocerans in lakes invaded by spiny water fleas. Copepods had decreased abundance and Evar but showed no difference in richness.

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Figure 48. Growth in distribution of detections of spiny water fleas in Ontario lakes over time, 1980–2007.

Detection year does not necessarily correspond to the year invaded as many lakes were only sampled in 2000–2007.

map
Source: Strecker et al., 2006 using data from Arnott, 2009Footnote252 and Cairns et al., 2007Footnote253

Long Description for Figure 48

This map shows the growth in distribution of detections of spiny water fleas in Ontario lakes over time between 1980 and 2007. Invading the Great Lakes from Eurasia in the mid-1980s, this species subsequently spread to inland lakes in Canada and the United States in the 1990s and has now expanded its range into more than 70 lakes in Ontario.

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Invasive pathogens

Non-native tree diseases threatening the North American boreal forest include Scleroderris canker, caused by the introduced European strain of the fungal pathogen Gremmeniella abietina var. abietina,Footnote 254 and white pine blister rust, caused by the rust fungus Cronartium ribicola. Boreal red pine (Pinus resinosa) are at risk of disease if Gremmeniella abietina var. abietina is introduced because temperature and moisture conditions required for infection could be favourable for the pathogen in Ontario's boreal forest.Footnote 255

White pine blister rust was accidentally introduced into eastern North America from Europe over 100 years ago.Footnote 256 The disease has spread throughout the range of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), causing high levels of mortality in plantations and natural stands.Footnote 257 Based on climatic conditions suitable for infection, most of the boreal range of eastern white pine is rated in the moderate and high/severe hazard levels for infection.Footnote 258 In 2011, a new virulent strain of white pine blister rust was detected in previously immune black currant (Ribes nigrum). This new strain is the result of a new mutation or the genetic recombination of a North American strain of the fungus and not a new introduction of the disease.Footnote 259

Invasive plants

As of 2008, a total of 123 invasive species were known from the Boreal Shield Ecozone ; the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is relatively uninvaded and occurrences of many species are infrequent or not widely distributed. Fast-growing plant species are not typically adapted to the low light, low levels of nutrients and low pH found in the podzolic soils of the boreal forest.Footnote 260 Other factors adding to the relative resistance of the boreal forest to non-native plant invasions are distance from seed source populations, absence of agriculture, and relatively low levels of anthropogenic disturbance.Footnote 261

Most non-native species in boreal areas are opportunistic weedy species. Species that could interfere with forest regeneration include Siberian peashrub (Caragana arborescens), narrowleaf hawksbeard (Crepis tectorum), bird vetch (Vicia cracca), Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense), and spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa). Only two non-native species were present close to roads or resorts in Saskatchewan's boreal forest: Canada bluegrass (Poa compressa) and common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). These species were likely introduced when seeding roadsides to reduce soil erosion.Footnote 262

Purple loosestrife was introduced to North America from Eurasia in the early 1800s and has invaded riparian habitats in the southern portion of the Boreal Shield.Footnote 118, Footnote 263 This species affects nutrient cycling, dries up wetlands, and can form monocultures over large areas.Footnote 264, Footnote 265 In the 1990s, purple loosestrife was the most frequently reported invasive species in national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries, mostly in eastern Quebec overlapping both the Boreal Shield and Mixedwood Plains ecozones+.Footnote 266 From 1992 to 2009, purple loosestrife expanded northwest in Ontario (Figure 49).

Figure 49. Range expansion of purple loosestrife in North America from 1880 to 1992.

Area with darker shading represents region with population of dense stands; solid circles represent individual or local occurrences.

map
Source: adapted from White et al., 1993,Footnote118  after Hight and Drea, 1991Footnote267 and Thompson et al., 1987Footnote268

Long Description for Figure 49

This figure represents three maps of Canada and the United States, showing the range expansion of purple loosestrife for 1880, 1940 and 1992 since its introduction to the eastern seaboard. In the 1880s the range was concentrated around New York. The 1940 and 1992 maps indicate that populations of dense stands have gradually expanded from east to northwest, and that individual/local occurrences initially expanded northwest, and now appear north, west and south of the 1880 range.

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Other invasive plants are at the southern boundaries of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ including Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) (Figure 50) and garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) (Figure 51).

Figure 50. Range expansion of Eurasian watermilfoil in North America from 1950 to 1985.

Solid circles represent individual or local occurrences.

map
Source: adapted from White et al., 1993,Footnote118  after Aiken et al., 1979Footnote269and Couch and Nelson, 1985Footnote270.

Long Description for Figure 50

This figure represents three maps of Canada and the United States, showing the range expansion of Eurasian watermilfoil for 1950, 1965, and 1985. The 1950s map indicates isolated occurrences concentrated in southern California and Arizona and the eastern United States. The 1965 and 1985 maps show substantial range expansion, radiating outward from the 1950s occurrences. By 1985, the range expanded north into Vancouver Island and mainland BC in the west and into the American Midwest and New Brunswick and Quebec in the east.

Figure 51. Generalized distribution of garlic mustard in North America based on herbarium specimens and floras.

Solid circles represent individual or local occurrences. Garlic mustard has not been recorded at the Gaspé site since 1891.

map
Source: adapted from White et al., 1993

Long Description for Figure 51

This map show the generalized distribution of garlic mustard in North America based on herbarium specimens and floras. Garlic mustard is concentrated in the central eastern part of North America.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

The native flora and fauna of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ are less diverse than many mainland communities, and species not native to this island ecozone+ comprise a comparatively large portion of the total species present (Figure 52).Footnote 271, Footnote 272 Accidental and intentional introductions have occurred since the early 16th century.Footnote 273 Footnote 274 Footnote 275 Footnote 276

Figure 52. Non-native species in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 2000.

graph
Source: Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council, 2000

Long Description for Figure 52

This bar graph shows the following information:


Non-native species in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 2000.
Non-native species Non-native - Number of speciesNative - Number of species
Mammals1217
Amphibians30
Birds5366
Butterflies241
Freshwater Fish318
Orchids239

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Invasive mammals

In addition to 17 native mammals, there are 12 non-native mammal species established in the ecozone+. These include moose, snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), masked shrew (Sorex cinereus), red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), mink (Mustela vison), and eastern coyote (Canis latrans), a recent colonizer, which is now widespread throughout the ecozone+. Coyotes are discussed in the Food webs key finding on page 151.

Moose were successfully introduced to Newfoundland in 1904 and rapidly colonized the island. The abundance of available forage, negligible competition from native herbivores,Footnote97 and paucity of predation after the extirpation of their primary predator, wolves (Canis lupus), in the 1930sFootnote 277 provided ideal conditions for moose population increase. Moose occupy all ecoregions on the island. In habitats that are primarily forested, densities often exceed 4 moose/km2 (>1,000 kg/km The island population, at 125,000 moose, represents >10% of the total continental number of moose (1.05 million), while the total island area, including areas unsuited to moose, is < 2% of the estimated continental moose range. Population increases have been further amplified within Gros Morne National Park and Terra Nova National Park where moose hunting was prohibited when the parks were established in 1973 and 1957,respectively. In Gros Morne National Park, moose populations increased from 0.14 moose/km2 in 1971 to 5 moose/km2 in 2007.Footnote100, Footnote 278 To protect the ecological integrity of these national parks, annual harvest of moose began in 2011/2012.   

Red squirrels were introduced in 1963 and forage heavily on the seeds of cone-bearing treesFootnote 279 which are the preferred food source for many native bird species including an endangered subspecies of red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). Red squirrels also predate heavily on the nests of native birds.Footnote 280 They have also had a significant negative impact on white pine reforestation efforts in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+Footnote 281 and have decreased regeneration of balsam fir and black spruce through pre-dispersal cone predation.Footnote279, Footnote 282

Non-native mammals are generally increasing throughout the ecozone+Footnote 283 In 2001, 91% of small mammals captured in the forests of Gros Morne National Park were non-native species.100 Non-native mammals may be affecting forest regeneration. Snowshoe hares forage heavily on woody deciduous species and small mammals such as voles are voracious consumers of tree seeds and newly emerged tree seedlings.Footnote104, Footnote 284, Footnote 285

Invasive plants

Over 35% of plant species in the ecozone+ are non-native.Footnote 286 Non-native plants are concentrated in anthropogenic areas such as settlements, roadsides, and abandoned fields.Footnote 287, Footnote 288

Two of the most invasive plants in forests of the Newfoundland Boreal are Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) and coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara). Both form dense patches which displace native species.Footnote104, Footnote 289, Footnote 290 In Gros Morne National Park, sites with higher numbers of non-native invasive plants had lower abundances of non-vascular plants compared to uninvaded sites.Footnote102 Disturbance has facilitated the prevalence of Canada thistle. Although the thistle reduces seedling emergence of balsam fir, the balsam fir seedlings are also protected by the thistles against grazing by moose, another introduced species.Footnote 291 Invasion of coltsfoot throughout forest disturbances in Gros Morne National Park began in 1973, when the park opened to the public and occurs nowhere else in Newfoundland in such densities except between the park and Channel-Port aux Basques, where the ferry arrives from mainland Canada.Footnote289 Its invasion of natural areas in the national park has been greatly facilitated by management activities. Importing bedrock aggregate into the park to neutralize or bury unfavourable acidic soils also brought in rhizome fragments derived from coltsfoot plants established in aggregate stockpiles.

Invasive amphibians

The Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ has no native amphibians, but four non-native species are currently established: green frog (Rana clamitans), American toad (Bufo americanus), wood frog (R. sylvatica), and mink frog (R. septentrionalis).Footnote 292 Green frogs are distributed throughout the ecozone+. Footnote 293 American toads and green frogs are highly mobile and can travel across land for long distances.Footnote 294 American toads are established on the west coast and have been transplanted to the Avalon Peninsula and in Central Newfoundland. Dispersal of wood frogs may be gradual since most individuals show high fidelity to their breeding pond. Wood frogs are well established in the Corner Brook area., Northward expansion of these species appears to have stalled in the southern part of Gros Morne National Park as of 2001 (Figure 53). The potential impacts of these non-native species expansions on native biodiversity are unknown.

Figure 53. The number of sites (max = 3) in each of three areas surveyed for frog and toad species in western Newfoundland.

graph
Source: adapted from Campbell et al., 2004

Long Description for Figure 53

This map shows the number of sites in each of three areas surveyed for frog and toad species in western Newfoundland. The bar graph shows the following information:


The number of sites (max = 3) in each of three areas surveyed for frog and toad species in western Newfoundland.
Toad Species Gros Morne area - Number of sitesCorner Brook area - Number of sitesCodroy Valley area - Number of sites
Wood Frog6144
American Toad102913
Green Frog1717
Mink Frog010

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Invasive terrestrial invertebrates

The Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ contains a large suite of invasive terrestrial invertebrates. Newfoundland and Labrador contain 456 species of non-native arthropods,Footnote 295 with St. John's being an important entry point for non-native arthropod introductions within the Ecozone+ as well as within the country. The Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ contains at least 10 species of established slugs (Arion spp., Limax spp., and Deroceras spp.) and all but one species (Deroceras laeve) is non-native.Footnote 296 Slugs are voracious consumers of newly emerged tree seedlings, Footnote 297 and threaten early establishment stages of balsam fir and other native trees., Newfoundland and Labrador have no native earthworms and 12 non-native earthworm species.Footnote 298 The impact of earthworms within the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ is speculative, but since earthworms can greatly modify litter properties and change soil structure, chemistry, and microorganisms,Footnote 299 it is likely that these species have had a significant impact on forest floor dynamics and nutrient cycling. The introduced golden nematode (Globodera rostochiensis)and pale cyst nematode (G. pallid) infest soils and are considered quarantine pests because, if left unmanaged, they can reduce yields of potatoes and other host crops by up to 80%.Footnote 300 In Canada, the golden nematode is present only in Newfoundland, on Vancouver Island, in Quebec, and in Alberta. Pale cyst nematode is only present in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. These pests are very difficult to eradicate because they can survive dormant in the soil for several decades. Strict quarantine measures are in place to prevent the potential spread of these potato cyst nematodes.

Other introduced insects have had major impacts on forests within the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. The balsam wooly adelgid (Adelges piceae) was introduced to Newfoundland in the 1930s; it has killed stands of balsam fir trees, causing considerable financial losses to silviculture operations. The European pine shoot moth (Rhyacionia buoliana) is a newly introduced insect pest within Newfoundland and within the past few years, infestations of this insect have spread throughout red pine plantations in central Newfoundland, causing widespread deformity in trees less than 25 years of age.

Invasive diseases

The European strain of the scleroderris canker (Gremmeniella abietina var. abietina) was first recorded in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ in 1979 and the first major infection occurred in 1981 when this disease destroyed a red pine plantation near Torbay, 10 km north of St. John's. Periodically since this time there have been several flare-ups of this disease causing considerable mortality of primarily red pine and scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) trees. Throughout the mid-1990s there were incidences of this disease throughout the Avalon Peninsula.Footnote 301 A major infection destroyed a red pine plantation on the Tilton barrens in 1996. A quarantine zone for limiting the spread of the disease was established for the Avalon Peninsula in 1980 restricting the movement of any hard pine stock off the Avalon. Yet, in 2007, a scleroderris outbreak occurred in a red pine plantation in central Newfoundland. Efforts to quarantine the outbreak and control further spread of the disease are ongoing.

White pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola) is a serious introduced tree disease affecting eastern white pine throughout its range.Footnote 302 It was introduced to North America from Europe around 1900 and rapidly spread throughout northeastern North America by infected nursery stock. It affects eastern white pine through needle infection and results in the formation of perennial cankers that girdle the branches and stem, leading to tree mortality.Footnote 303 Since the introduction of white pine blister rust to the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, it has infected white pine trees throughout the entire range of the tree and damage has been devastating. In the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, white pine populations have decreased from a dominant part of the forest canopy to a minor component with restricted stands.

Invasive aquatic invertebrates

In 2005, the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA), in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and Memorial University of Newfoundland, initiated an Aquatic Species Monitoring Program in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. This involves ongoing invasive species monitoring within high-risk harbours, navigational buoy surveys, aquaculture site monitoring, and province-wide bi-annual surveys of yacht clubs, shorelines, and high-risk ports. By 2007, this program had identified and confirmed four new aquatic invasive species:

Lacy bryozoan (Membranipora membranacea), also known as coffin box, is an epiphyte that encrusts the blades of various low intertidal to subtidal macrophytic kelp species and causes kelp fragmentation and defoliation under heavy wave action.Footnote 304, Footnote 305 The species was first recorded in the Gulf of Maine in 1987 where it became the dominant epiphyte on Laminaria kelps within two years. In Nova Scotia, Membranipora was first recorded in the 1990s.Footnote 306 The ectoproct was recorded in Bonne Bay, NL, in 2002; it was later discovered near Merasheen Island, Placentia Bay, in 2005 during the Aquatic Species Monitoring Program.Footnote 307 Since 2005, this species has been recorded widely throughout coastal areas of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone and has devastated native kelp beds, which are critical habitats for juvenile fish, on the west and southwest coasts of the island of Newfoundland.

Golden star tunicate (Botryllus schlosseri) was found in the Argentia, Placentia Bay, in 2006 and has subsequently been found throughout Placentia Bay and Hermitage. In the Maritime provinces, this colonial tunicate is one of four species of tunicate that has had minimal impact on the mussel aquaculture industry, yet it is considered to be a high risk. Its potential impact in Newfoundland and Labrador is unknown and thus controls have been placed on mussel transfers to prevent movement of tunicates.

Violet tunicate (Botryloides violaceus) was first discovered in Belleoram, Fortune Bay in 2007. This colonial tunicate has had both an ecological and economic impact on the mussel aquaculture industry in the Maritime provinces and has been determined to be 'high risk' by a national risk assessment. This species is considered a more significant fouling organism than the golden star tunicate, but yet has a very limited distribution within Fortune Bay. DFA is working in collaboration with DFO and the Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Industry Association to assess the potential impact in Newfoundland and Labrador and to provide strategies to mitigate these two species of tunicates.

European green crab (Carcinus maenas) was first discovered in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ in North Harbour, Placentia Bay, in 2007. This is a high-profile aquatic invader in Canada and in much of the world, and is listed as one of the top 100 worst invasive non-native species in the world.Footnote 309 It has been a pest in the Maritimes from as early as the 1950s.Footnote 310 The species outcompetes lobsters and other crabs and may also prey upon juvenile lobsters.Footnote308 Elsewhere, the species is known to cause significant ecological harm and destroy prime habitats for shellfish stocks and nurseries for juvenile fish by its burrowing. It preys heavily on wild and cultured bivalve shellfish such as soft shell clams, bar clams, surf clams, oysters and mussels.

The degree of its potential impact in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ is yet unclear. A green crab mitigation pilot project in North Harbour has been initiated by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW) and funded by the provincial government.Footnote 311 This has involved both a directed fishery on green crab as well as public education, and its purpose is to gather information to assist the federal and provincial governments as well as the industry to prevent the spread of green crab to other areas.

In addition to the above species, the Aquatic Species Monitoring Program closely monitors shorelines for high-risk invaders currently undetected within the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ so that potential future invasions might be prevented. These undetected high-risk species include the vase tunicate (Ciona intestinalis), oyster thief (Codium fragile), clubbed tunicate (Styela clava), and Didemnum sp., among others.

Within the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, Placentia Bay is a particularly high-risk area for aquatic non-native species introductions because it contains the largest oil handling port in Canada (Come by Chance, NL), and is a main hub for commercial fishing and transportation. A total of 564 commercial fishing enterprises, 870 vessels, and 12 processing plants are based in it harbours. Marine construction is occurring in several of its multiple harbours and the bay also provides a transportation and shipping link to mainland Canada (i.e., North Sydney, NS) and coastal communities.

Non-native Invasive fish

Freshwater ecosystems of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ have experienced relatively few fish introductions compared with many other regions.Footnote 312 The native freshwater fish fauna of insular Newfoundland is comprised of 15 species. Three species of salmonids were successfully introduced to the ecozone+ during the 1880s in an attempt to increase stocking for the purposes of freshwater fisheries: brown trout (Salmo trutta), rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), and lake whitefish.Footnote 313 The latter species has only two established populations near St. John's and is not invasive within Newfoundland. Aquaculture escapees are also abundant in the marine environment and may pose a new threat to native fish species, but the status of these populations is not known.Footnote 314

In the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, the brown trout has extended its range from original planting sites, developed anadromous runs, and established populations throughout the Avalon Peninsula and in Trinity Bay. It has also colonized new watersheds from the Burin Peninsula to Cape Freels. Brown trout populations outcompete native brook trout and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations for habitat.Footnote 315, Footnote 316 Hybridization of brown trout with Atlantic salmon or, infrequently, with native brook trout, further threatens native species.

Rainbow trout distribution has also expanded from the original plantings. The species has developed anadromous runs and is common in some Avalon Peninsula systems and in discrete river systems throughout the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone In some areas it has displaced the native brook trout. In addition, juvenile rainbow trout overlap in preferred habitats and feeding with juvenile salmon resulting in negative interactions between the two species., Footnote 317

In addition to competitive and genetic impacts, predation by both brown trout and rainbow trout has impacted native fish populations and caused irreversible effects on salmonid populations where they have been introduced across North America., Footnote 318

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Contaminants

Key finding 11
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding
Concentrations of legacy contaminants in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems have generally declined over the past 10 to 40 years. Concentrations of many emerging contaminants are increasing in wildlife; mercury is increasing in some wildlife in some areas.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Mercury contamination

Mercury is a focal contaminant for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ because of its potential to have neurotoxicological effects on organismsFootnote 319 and because anthropogenic activity during the 20th century has tripled the amount of mercury (Hg) in the atmosphere and surface ocean compared to the global background level.Footnote 320 Methylmercury (MeHg), an organic form, is retained in biota more efficiently than inorganic Hg. With a bioaccumulation factor of 10 million, MeHg bioaccumulates in species at upper trophic levelsFootnote 321 and so the concentration of Hg in fish is much higher than surrounding water concentrations. Humans and wildlife with high dietary fish intake show elevated Hg levels and adverse health effects. Footnote 322, Footnote 323

Mercury concentrations in the air within or near the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ declined (-5.1--10.4%) from the mid to late 1990s to 2005.Footnote 324 However, due to large inter-annual variability, no change in atmospheric Hg deposition was detected at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in northwestern Ontario, a long term monitoring station for Hg since 1992 (Figure 71).Footnote 325 Similarly, no change was detected in Hg concentrations in precipitation at a monitoring station in northeastern Quebec from 2000 to 2005.Footnote 326 While discernable trends in Hg loading to lakes may be difficult to detect at the 5 to 10-year scale, several studies have identified elevated Hg concentrations in lake sediments between pre and post-North American industrialization time frames across the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in Ontario and Quebec     (Figure 55).Footnote 327 Footnote 328 Footnote 329

Figure 54. Annual winter and open-water season (i.e., late spring to fall) deposition of total Hg in open area precipitation at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in northwestern Ontario from 1992 to 2006.

For years when rain was not collected, open water was estimated for the calculation of total Hg. Total Hg loadings for these years were estimated using the long-term average concentrations in rain at the ELA.

graph
Source: adapted from Graydon et al., 2008

Long Description for Figure 54

This bar graph shows the annual winter and open-water season deposition of total Hg in open area precipitation at the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario from 1992 to 2006. 1999 and 2001 show particularly high levels of mercury deposition.

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Figure 55. Mercury concentrations in pre-industrial and present-day sediments collected from the profundal zone of 171 lakes in southern and central Ontario.

The profundal zone is a deep zone of an inland body of freestanding water. It is below the range of effective light penetration and is typically below the thermocline, the vertical zone in the water through which temperature drops rapidly.

graph
Source: Mills et al., 2009

Long Description for Figure 55

This bar graph shows mercury concentrations in pre-industrial and present-day sediments collected from the profundal zone of 171 lakes in southern and central Ontario. This graph demonstrates elevated Hg concentrations in lake sediments between pre- and post-North American industrialization time frames across the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in Ontario and Quebec.

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Forestry and dam construction in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ has altered ecosystems resulting in post-disturbance increases in water and fish Hg concentrations, then decreases in subsequent years and decades following the perturbation (Figure 56).Footnote 330 Footnote 331 Footnote 332 In a study of hydroelectric reservoirs in Quebec, dam construction exported Hg downstream into successive reservoirs, mostly by suspended particulates and by zooplankton, which increases Hg levels in fish downstream. The increase in MeHg was temporary because only part of the flooded soils and vegetation readily decomposed; mainly grasses, mosses, lichens, leaves, and surface soil litter. These components decomposed within five to eight years after flooding whereas most of the flooded woody biomass, such as branches, trunks, and roots of trees, resist decomposition for up to 60 years.

Figure 56. Average concentrations (±95% CI) of total Hg (µg/g wet weight) in the muscle of lake whitefish from hydroelectric reservoirs of northern Manitoba.

Upper panel: Basins in South Indian Lake (South Bay, Area 5). Middle panel: Basins on the Rat and Burntwood rivers (Issett, Rat, Notigi, Threepoint, and Wuskwatim lakes). Lower panel: Basins on the lower Nelson River (Split and Stephens lakes).

graph
Source: Bodaly, 2007

Long Description for Figure 56

This series of line graphs show average concentrations of total mecury in the muscle of lake whitefish from three hydroelectric reservoirs of northern Manitoba (Southern Indian Lake, Rat and Burntwood rivers, and Lower Nelson River. The graphs for Southern Indian Lake and Rat and Burntwood Rivers show a spike in mercury post-flood and then a decline in subsequent decades back to pre-flood levels . No data pre-flood is available for Lower Nelson River. .

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Boreal Shield Ecozone+ biota that are most affected by elevated Hg are piscivorous fish and mammals and birds with high fish intake such as mink, otters, and loons.Footnote 333 Footnote 334 Footnote 335 Mercury levels in river otters (Lontra canadensis) (fish comprise 90% of their diet) in central Ontario can vary by greater than 10-fold due to differences in the fish Hg levels within their range (Figure 57). High Hg levels (0.25–2.48 µg/g) are associated with adverse impacts on loons, including reduced reproductive success, abnormal breeding behaviour, asymmetric feather growth, immune suppression, altered hormone levels, and changes in brain  neurochemistry.Footnote 336 Footnote 337 Footnote 338 Footnote 339 Footnote 340 Footnote 341

Mercury concentrations in predatory fish have either remained stable or declined during the last 20 years in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ of Ontario and Manitoba.Footnote 342 Mercury concentrations have also declined in fish from regions that were subject to historic point source contamination (pre-1970s) over the last 25 years (Figure 58).Footnote 343 Though the Hg levels have declined in the ecozone+, several species in several lakes are still above concentrations considered safe for frequent consumption. Some typically non-piscivorous species of fish (e.g., lake whitefish) downstream from hydroelectric projects had Hg near the values expected for naturally piscivorous species (e.g., northern pike). These non-piscivorous fish consumed fish stunned after their passage through turbines.Footnote 344

Figure 57. Mercury levels (dry weight) in hair of otters aged 0.5 to 11.5 years old from townships in Ontario.

Error bars are ±1 standard deviation.

graph
Source: adapted from Mierle et al., 2000

Long Description for Figure 57

This line graph shows the following information:

Mercury levels (dry weight) in hair of otters aged 0.5 to 11.5 years old from townships in Ontario.
AgeMercury
concentration
(mg/kg)
±1 SD
0.54.650.92
1.513.61.71
2.518.452.33
4.516.950.21
6.57.20.99
7.58.3 -
8.57.775.49
9.59.258.13
10.515.663.99
11.57.2 -

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Figure 58. Mercury concentrations in walleye from four lakes, presented by harvest year and distance of harvest lake from point source of contamination, 1973, 1985, 1989, and 2003.

graph
Source: Kinghorn et al., 2007

Long Description for Figure 58

This line graph shows mercury concentrations in walleye from four lakes, presented by harvest year and distance of harvest lake from point source of contamination for 1973, 1985, 1989, and 2003. The graphs indicate that mercury concentrations were higher the shorter the distance from Dryden. Mercury concentrations declined in fish from all four lakes since 1973, with the largest declines in Clay Lake and Ball Lake.

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Some reservoirs in the Quebec region of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ experienced a "biological boom" due to the release of nutrients associated with flooding. This increase of biomass up the food chain, from plankton to fish and their predators, improves the densities, conditions, and growth rates some species after impoundment. Footnote 345 In all modified environments, water quality remained adequate for aquatic life, recovery to pre-impoundment Hg concentrations occurred within 5–15 years, and increased nutrients had positive effects on the aquatic food chain.Footnote 346 The temporary increase in fish Hg levels was also below thresholds of effects for humans, particularly given that the rate of fish consumption in this region is low.Footnote 347

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Petroleum pollution

Petroleum and its products represent an increasing contamination hazard to the shorelines of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ given the increased rate of development of the offshore petroleum industry (e.g., development of the Hibernia, Terra Nova, and White Rose oilfields). Threats include accidental spillage from tankers, offshore wells, or pipelines.160 In addition to offshore events, accidental discharge of petroleum and gasoline at the shoreline during refinery and tanker operations,Footnote 348, Footnote 349 removal and disposal of waste from vessels in port,Footnote 350 and leakages from strictly terrestrial sources pose further threats.Footnote 160

Placentia Bay and the Avalon Peninsula may be the most likely locations in Canada to suffer a petroleum contamination event within the next 10 years.Footnote 351 Placentia Bay currently hosts the highest volume of ship traffic along the Atlantic Canadian coastline, and is exposed to accidental and deliberate discharges of petroleum products by Trans-Atlantic ship traffic. In particular, Arnold's Cove and Come by Chance are considered the most vulnerable beaches to oil contamination. Tanker traffic through Placentia Bay to the Whiffen Head trans-shipment terminal and the Come-by-Chance oil refinery, located in Arnold's Cove, has increased substantially since 1990. Similarly, the Avalon Peninsula lies directly adjacent to a major trans-Atlantic shipping route connecting eastern North America with northwestern Europe, and to offshore petroleum development and areas of ongoing exploration.Footnote 352 Incidents and legal proceedings associated with discharge of petroleum-laden bilge by offshore vessels, and the onshore consequences, have been noted along shorelines from Cape Race to Placentia Bay. Footnote 353 Footnote 354

Domestic sewage

Sewage constitutes a serious form of pollution in many coastal environments of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. This is particularly true in harbours where circulation with the open ocean is limited, such as shorelines with very deep harbours and connected to the open ocean by narrow, curved channels. Harbours with sewage problems include Corner Brook, Marystown, Burin Bay Arm, St. Alban's, Terrenceville, and St. John's. St. John's Harbour experiences insufficient rates of flushing with the open ocean.Footnote 355, Footnote 356 At depths below 20 m, the harbour waters are virtually stagnant and the discharge of the Waterford River is insufficient to flush the embayment.

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Nutrient loading and algal blooms

Key finding 12
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding
Inputs of nutrients to both freshwater and marine systems, particularly in urban and agriculture-dominated landscapes, have led to algal blooms that may be a nuisance and/or may be harmful. Nutrient inputs have been increasing in some places and decreasing in others.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Residual soil nitrogen (RSN) is a variable indicating the amount of inorganic nitrogen remaining in the soil, per hectare, after crops are harvested.Footnote 357 The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ contains a relatively small amount of agricultural land given its size (9,200 km2, representing only 1.5% of Canada's agricultural land in 2006); nevertheless, between 1981 and 2001, nitrogen (N) inputs increased from 82.4 to 109 kg N/ha and then decreased to 107 kg N/ha from 2001 and 2006. Most N inputs in 2006 were from legume crops (59.8 kg N/ha), followed by fertilizer (21.3 kg N/ha), and manure (20.3 kg N/ha).Footnote 358 The increase in N fixation was due to an increase in the area of legume crops over the 25-year period. From 1981 to 2006, N outputs increased from 62.6 to 74.0 kg N/ha. The RSN more than doubled from 1981 to 2001, from a low of 19.8 kg N/ha to a maximum of 43.4 kg N/ha, followed by a decrease to 33.0 kg N/ha by 2006 (Figure 59).

Figure 59. a) Nitrogen input, output, and residual soil nitrogen (RSN) and b) Amount of nitrogen from manure, fertilizer, and fixation by leguminous crops in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1981–2006.

Manure N input represents the net amount of mineral N applied to the soil or released from the mineralization of organic N over three years.

graph
Source: Drury et al., 2011 

Long Description for Figure 59

These two line graphs show the following information:

a) Nitrogen input, output, and residual soil nitrogen (RSN) in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1981–2006.
Year Nitrogen input - kg/haNitrogen output - kg/haResidual soil nitrogen - kg/ha
198182.462.619.8
198695.173.122
199191.862.429.4
199698.670.128.5
200110965.643.4
20061077433
b) Amount of nitrogen from manure, fertilizer, and fixation by leguminous crops in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1981–2006.
 YearManure nitrogen input - kg/haFertilizer nitrogen - kg/haLegume nitrogen fixation - kg/ha
198119.215.541.6
198620.820.847.5
199120.821.743.5
199620.820.851
200120.723.559.3
200620.321.359.8

Source: Drury et al., 2011 

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Low RSN risk areas remained stable from 1981 to 2006. High legume-crop inputs and fertilizer use in southeastern Quebec and Ontario north of the St. Lawrence lowlands resulted in an increase in risk class in 2006 for areas that were already medium to high risk in 1981 (Figure 60).

Figure 60. Map of a) residual soil nitrogen (RSN) risk classes in 2006 and b) changes in RSN risk class from 1981 to 2006 for farmland in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

<10 kg N/ha = very low risk (dark green), 10 to 19.9 kg N/ha = low risk (light green), 20 to 29.9 kg N/ha = medium risk (yellow), 30 to 39.9 kg N/ha = high risk (orange), and >40 kg N/ha = very high risk (red).

graph
Source: Drury et al., 2011

Long Description for Figure 60

This figure contains two maps. The first map shows five risk classes of RSN (.0-9.9; 1.0-19.9; 20.0-29.9; 30.0-49.9: and ≥ 40.0 kg N/ha). The southern half of the ecozone+ is characterized by areas of low, medium, and high risk RSN classes, while the northern half has only one high risk class (≥ 40.0) area in the west. The second map shows that almost all the classified land increased from a lower to higher risk class.

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Nutrient loading results in the eutrophication of aquatic systems. Algae thrive on the increased nutrients and consume more oxygen. This results in hypoxia, the depletion of oxygen in the water, which changes community composition. For example, the number of lakes and rivers affected by blue-green algae in the Quebec portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ increased from less than 10 in 2004 (unpublished data) to no fewer than 70 each year since 2007 (Figure 61).Footnote 359 The geographic area for this trend overlaps with the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+, which may bias the trend reported for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

Figure 61. Number of lakes and rivers (stacked) where blue-green algae was detected for Quebec administrative units that occur within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 2006 to 2012.

Note: These results overlap with the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+.

graph
Source: Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs, 2009

Long Description for Figure 61

This stacked bar graph shows the number of lakes and rivers where blue-green algae was detected for the seven Quebec administrative units that occur within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 2006 to 2012. The number of lakes and rivers affected by blue-green algae in the Quebec portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ increased from less than 40 in 2006 to more than 70 each year since 2007. The peak was in 2007 with almost 110 lakes and rivers affected. The Laurenides administrative unit has the greatest number of affected rivers and lakes in all years.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

The Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ contained the second smallest area of agricultural land (210 km2) of the agricultural ecozones+ in 2006. Agricultural land in the mid-west and northern parts of the ecozone+ was in the very high risk class, whereas the southeastern areas ranged from very low to high risk (Figure 62 ).

Figure 62. a) Nitrogen input, output, and residual soil nitrogen (RSN) from 1981 and 2006, b) map of overall changes in RSN risk class from 1981 to 2006, and c) map of RSN risk classes in 2006 for agricultural land in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

graph and map
Source: Drury et al., 2011

Long Description for Figure 62

This bar graph and two maps show nitrogen input, output, and residual soil nitrogen from 1981 and 2006. The first map shows overall changes in RSN risk class from 1981 to 2006, and the second map shows RSN risk classes in 2006 for agricultural land in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. Agricultural land in the mid-west and northern parts of the ecozone+ was in the very high risk class, whereas the southeastern areas ranged from very low to high risk. The bar graph shows the following information:

a) Nitrogen input, output, and residual soil nitrogen (RSN) from 1981 and 2006, b) map of overall changes in RSN risk class from 1981 to 2006, and c) map of RSN risk classes in 2006 for agricultural land in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.
Year nitrogen input - kg/hanitrogen output - kg/haresidual soil nitrogen - kg/ha
198150.72020.1
198683.541.241.2
199172.732.132.1
199611547.947.7
20011065453
200610253.853.6

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Nitrogen inputs doubled over 15 years (from 50.7 kg N/ha in 1981 to 115 kg N/ha in 1996) and then decreased to 102 kg N/ha in 2006 (Figure 62). Manure was the greatest source of nitrogen in 1981 at 23.8 kg N/ha compared to 11.3 kg N/ha for fertilizer and 13.6 kg N/ha for legume nitrogen fixation. However, by 2006, legume fixation (37.7 kg N/ha) and manure addition (34.5 kg N/ha) contributed similar amounts of N to agricultural lands with fertilizer the lowest of these three nitrogen sources at 28.1 kg N/ha. Nitrogen output increased from 30.6 kg N/ha in 1981 to 48.4 kg N/ha in 2006 (Figure 62). The RSN levels generally increased over time from a low of 20.0 kg N/ha in 1981 to 53.8 kg N/ha in 2006 (Figure 62).

Risk classes based on the RSN level present in the soil at the end of the growing season were assigned to farmland and the area of land in each risk class was mapped for the agricultural areas in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. The agricultural land in the midwest and northern regions of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ was in the very high risk class whereas the south eastern areas ranged from very low to the high risk class (Figure 62). Agricultural land in the midwest and eastern parts of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ increased by at least one risk class between 1981 and 2006 (Figure 62).

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Acid deposition

Key finding 13
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding
Thresholds related to ecological impact of acid deposition, including acid rain, are exceeded in some areas, acidifying emissions are increasing in some areas, and biological recovery has not kept pace with emission reductions in other areas.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Acid deposition is primarily the result of emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and N oxides (NOx) that can be transformed into dry or moist secondary pollutants such as sulphuric acid (H2SO4), ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) and nitric acid (HNO3) as they are transported in the atmosphere over distances of hundreds to thousands of kilometres.Footnote 360 Acid deposition is traditionally associated with smelting, other industrial processes, and thermal electric power generation. More recently, new sources of acid leading to acid deposition include oil and gas production and transportation. Acid deposition can affect lakes, rivers, soils, forests, buildings, and human health.Footnote 361 Sensitive terrain is typically underlain by insoluble granitic bedrock and overlain by thin-to-absent glacially derived soils, conditions that occur throughout the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

From 1990 to 2005, acid deposition was highest in the southern portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in Ontario and Quebec because emission sources are concentrated in southeastern Canada and the eastern United States. This part of the ecozone+ received  greater than 20 kg of wet sulphate/ha/yr in 1990, but this declined to 10 to 15 kg/ha/yr by 2005.Footnote 362 The western and eastern parts of the ecozone+, which are less affected by SO2 emissions, have experienced little change in their wet sulphate deposition (5 kg/ha/yr or less). Wet nitrate deposition also declined from 1990 to 2005 in the southern Ontario–Quebec part of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Compared to sulphate, the degree of change was modest (from >18 kg nitrate/ha/yr to 12 to 15 kg/ha/yr).

The work conducted and knowledge gained during the early years of acid deposition science in North America (i.e., the 1980s) prompted political action to reduce SO2 (and later NOx) emissions. This culminated in the 1991 Canada–United States Air Quality Agreement.Footnote 363 Combined Canada–United States SO2 emissions declined by about 45% (from 28 to 15.4 Mt) between 1980 and 2006.Footnote 364 Over half of the eastern Canadian SO2 reductions have occurred at the base-metal smelters in Sudbury, ON, and Rouyn-Noranda, QC, both of which are located within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Similarly, from 1980 to 2006, total Canada–United States NOx emissions declined by about 19% (from 22.7 to 24 Mt), although most of this was due to reductions from United States sources. Further reductions may occur as Ontario implements progressive green energy policies such as phasing out thermal electric power generation by 2014.Footnote 365

Critical loads and exceedances

The critical load is the maximum level of both sulphur and N deposition that can occur and still maintain the integrity of aquatic and forest ecosystems.Footnote 366 Acid deposition and an ecosystem's critical loads can be compared to calculate the "exceedance". The exceedance can be positive (meaning that the lakes or forest soils are receiving too much acid deposition) or negative (meaning that the lakes or soils could absorb more acid deposition without harmful effects). Positive exceedance can occur when extremely sensitive (low critical load) terrain receives low levels of deposition as well as when less sensitive terrain receives high levels of deposition. The steady-state exceedance is the maximum value that would occur in the future (at the "current" deposition level) should the aquatic or terrestrial ecosystem become N-saturated.Footnote 62 Figure 63 illustrates the spatial variation in steady-state exceedances that occurs across the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Acid-sensitive terrain is reflected in the local geology and, overall, 38.9%  (730,000 km2) of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is within the four lowest, most sensitive critical load classes.

Highest steady-state exceedance occurred in the regions of maximum acid deposition, southcentral Ontario and southwestern Quebec, as well as near local sources, such as the base metal smelters at Flin Flon and Thompson, MB (Figure 67). Except for the northeastern part of the ecozone+, positive steady-state exceedance (the four "hot-coloured" classes) occurred in  25% (470,000 km2) of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ (Figure 67).

Figure 63. Steady-state critical load exceedances calculated using the estimated "current" total sulphur and nitrogen deposition, best available data as of 2009.

map
Source: Jeffries et al., 2010Footnote367

Long Description for Figure 63

This map of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ shows that steady-state exceedance is primarily -300 to -100 eq/ha/yr across the ecozone. Patches of -300 to <-600 eq/ha/yr occur in northern areas of the ecozone+ and the portion of the ecozone+ northeast of the Great Lakes in Ontario and Quebec is characterized by 300-600 and >=600 eq/ha/yr.

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Trends in aquatic ecosystems

Many lakes located within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are sensitive to acid deposition, and those in Quebec and Ontario have already been chemically altered and have not recovered despite reductions in emissions.Footnote 368 Reflecting the SO2 emission history from local smelters in Ontario and Quebec, the rates of changes in sulphur were often steeper in the 1970s and 1990s than in the 1980s. Although lakes in Manitoba and Saskatchewan are also sensitive, they have yet to show the effects of acid deposition.368 This may change as acidifying pollutants emitted from smelters in Manitoba and from oil sands operations in Alberta continue or grow.Footnote 369, Footnote 370 Due to their buffering capacity, lakes in the Manitoba portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are the least likely to be affected by acid deposition.

Within the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, trends in acid deposition from 1990 to 2004 were reported for 28 lakes in southwestern Quebec, 72 lakes in the Sudbury region of Ontario, and 80 lakes in the remainder of Ontario.362 Sulphate, which ranged from -1.6 µeq/L/yr (Ontario)  to  4.1 µeq/L/yr  (Sudbury), declined (p<0.05) for all three groups. There were no trends for nitrate for any group. Base cations (mostly dissolved calcium (Ca)), which ranged from -1.4 µeq/L/yr (Quebec) to -3.6 µeq/L/yr (Sudbury), compensated for the declining sulphate. Trends in the alkalinity concentrations of lakes were positive, but much smaller in absolute magnitude, ranging from +0.2 µeq/L/yr (Ontario, p>0.05) to +0.9 µeq/L/yr (Sudbury, p<0.05). Overall, lakes in areas of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ with the most acid deposition responded to declines in deposition, but recovery of their alkalinity (pH) was delayed. Part of the delay is due to the chemical compensation provided by declining base cation concentrations, a predictable but temporary geochemical effect. On the other hand, the declining Ca concentrations in Ontario lakes are approaching levels that threaten the sustainability of keystone zooplankton speciesFootnote 371 and lake recovery may be slow and possibly never re-established.Footnote 372

Estimates of trends in precipitation chemistry for Saskatchewan were not possible due to insufficient sampling. To address this limitation, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment initiated a precipitation collection program. From 2007 to 2011, the Ministry assessed acid sensitivity for 259 headwater lakes in northwest Saskatchewan, all within 300 km of Alberta's Athabasca oil sands region.Footnote 373 As a result of the geological and meteorological conditions of the area, 68% of the surveyed lakes were classified as sensitive or very sensitive to acid deposition due to their low buffering capacity.Footnote 374

Effects of acidification on aquatic ecosystems

Algae, invertebrates, fish, and waterbirds are affected by acidification through direct acidity effects, metal toxicity, loss of prey, and reduced nutritional value of remaining prey.Footnote 375 Although certain acid-tolerant species (e.g., some dragonflies) tend to be more abundant at higher acidity (e.g., below pH 5.5), the abundance of other invertebrates, particularly mayflies and molluscs, is reduced under acidic conditions (Figure 64). Large invertebrates are important food for breeding waterbirds and are essential nutrition and energy sources for nesting females and their young. Common loon breeding success is particularly affected by changes in lake acidity and associated food web impacts. Many fish species are sensitive to acidification and may suffer lower recruitment and growth rates, increased accumulation of toxic metals, and impaired   anti-predator responses in acid-stressed lakes. Fish species richness declined in lakes in southeastern Canada at pH ranges of 5.0 to 5.9.Footnote 376, Footnote 377

Figure 64. Step function plot modelling the relationship between pH and zooplankton species richness.

graph
Source: Holt et al., 2003Footnote378

Long Description for Figure 64

This scatter graph shows a step function plot modelling the relationship between pH and zooplankton species richness. It shows an increase at pH 6.0 from 8 to 10.

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The acidification of aquatic systems often leads to increases in MeHg. For more information on the distribution and levels of Hg contamination in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, see the Contaminants key finding on page 93.

Many of lakes with biological improvements were located in the Sudbury and Muskoka regions of Ontario.Footnote 379, Footnote 380 Acid-sensitive mayflies increased as acidity in two Sudbury lakes was reduced (Figure 65).Footnote 381 Zooplankton in several Sudbury area lakes became more similar to non-acidic reference lakes. Species richness increased in three Ontario lakes but declined in a fourth. Changing phosphorus levels, declining acidity, and rising dissolved organic carbon resulted in shifts in zooplankton community composition.Footnote 382

Figure 65. Number of sites colonised by the mayflies (Stenacron interpunctatum) (dark blue) and S. femoratum (light blue) and the amphipod Hyatella azteca (green) in a) George Lake and b) Partridge Lake near Killarney, ON, sampled between 1997 and 2002.

Lake near Killarney, ON, sampled between 1997 and 2002.

Note: The annual surveys of Partridge Lake began in 1998 for mayflies and in 2000 for amphipods. The total number of surveyed sites available for colonization by each group is indicated by the dashed lines.

graph
Source: Environment Canada, 2005, adapted from Snucins, 2003

Long Description for Figure 65

These two line graphs show the number of sites colonised by mayflies (Stenacron interpunctatum and S. femoratum) and the amphipod Hyatella azteca in George Lake and Partridge Lake near Killarney, ON, between 1997 and 2002. Stenacron interpunctatum increased from about 30 to 100 sites in George Lake and from 0 to 12 in Partridge Lake. No trend is apparent for the other two lakes.

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Sport fish affected by acidification include lake trout and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu). Lake trout introduced to acid-stressed lakes near Sudbury and Killarney, ON, did poorly in species rich lakes and had slower growth, lower survival, and delayed recruitment.Footnote 383 The biomass of natural lake trout recruits remained well below reference levels five to 15 years after water quality recovery and spawning by adults occurred. In contrast, smallmouth bass reintroductions can succeed in lakes with species-rich fish communities. For example, improved water quality recovery and spawning by stocked fish resulted in the biomass of natural smallmouth bass recruits increasing to reference lake levels within five years. New populations of smallmouth bass, rock bass (>Ambloplites rupestris), pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus), and walleye (Sander vitreus) have been found in recovering lakes, some of which had not contained those species prior to acidification.Footnote 384

The liming of lakes is used to reverse acidification and maintain habitat for aurora trout (Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis), a type of brook trout native to just two lakes in the world. Both lakes are located in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 110 km north of Sudbury. Aurora trout were extirpated when these lakes were acidified during the 1960s. Captive-bred trout were successfully reintroduced after liming in 1989.Footnote 385

Breeding numbers of two piscivorous waterbirds, common loons and common mergansers (Mergus merganser), increased in the Ontario portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from the late 1980s to 2002 (see the Effects of acidification on aquatic ecosystems section on page 106). These birds are increasingly using low-pH (pH<5.5) lakes, possibly a result of generally improving conditions in the region However, breeding productivity of common loons declined in Ontario (1981–1999) and La Mauricie National Park, QC (1987–2002) (Figure 66). Common loon chicks did not fledge on lakes with pH less than 4.4 due to a shortage of food.Footnote 386 Lakes with pH values of 4.4–6.0 are suboptimal, but can support chicks to fledging if the lakes are sufficiently large in size. As sulphur dioxide emissions from the Sudbury smelters and sulphur deposition from other long-range sources decreased, some breeding success returned.

Figure 66. The total number of common loon breeding pairs (dashed line) and young (solid line) observed during surveys of 76 lakes in La Mauricie National Park, QC between 1987 and 2002.

The regression line represents a significant (p=0.02) trend for the total number of young observed in the park.

graph
Source: Environment Canada, 2005

Long Description for Figure 66

This line graph shows the total number of common loon breeding pairs and young observed during surveys of 76 lakes in La Mauricie National Park, QC between 1987 and 2002. During this time breeding productivity of common loons declined significantly (p=0.02).

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

An acid rain monitoring program (the Newfoundland Environment Precipitation Monitoring Network (NEPMoN) was in operation between 1983 and 2004. NEPMoN consisted of a series of wet-only precipitation collectors set up at specially selected sites across Newfoundland and Labrador. The number of sites peaked at seven in 1995 but was cut back to two in 1996 due to decreased funding. In 1998, the program was revived to five sites with support from provincial industries. One of the previous sites was re-opened in addition to the opening of two new sites. The weekly wet-only precipitation data from these stations were used to complement the daily data collected by Environment Canada's Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN) Stations in the Province (Bay d'Espoir and Goose Bay).Footnote 387

There was pronounced spatial variation in the deposition of sulphates and nitrates across the island.Footnote 388 The largest depositions occurred on the southwest corner of the island with the quantities of sulphates and nitrates diminishing to the north and east. The rate of deposition of sulphate may have diminished since 1990, but the rate of deposition of nitrate increased. These declining trends may be related to emission abatement measures, but could also result from changes in weather patterns.

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Climate change

Key finding 14
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding
Rising temperatures across Canada, along with changes in other climatic variables over the past 50 years, have had both direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

From 1950 to 2007, temperatures increased in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in spring by 1.7°C, in summer by 1.3°C, and in winter by 1.8°C, resulting in an earlier growing season by eight days (Table 17, Figure 67).154 There were no overall significant trends in precipitation in spring, summer, and winter, however, precipitation in the fall increased by 17% (Figure 68). Major changes in snowfall patterns, likely associated with increased temperatures, included shallower snow cover (-13.7 cm) and earlier snow melt (10.3 days) from February to July (Figure 69). Additionally, changes in snowfall were regionally variable with less winter precipitation along the eastern and western ecozone+ boundaries and more winter precipitation in the central part of the ecozone+. These regional variations also correspond to changes in moisture observed throughout the 20th century, as described in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ key finding on page 143.

Table 17. Summary of changes in climate variables in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1950 to 2007
DriverTrends from 1950–2007
TemperatureOverall ↑ of 1.7 °C in spring temperature
Overall ↑ of 1.3 °C in summer temperature
No significant fall trend
Overall ↑ of 1.8 °C in winter temperature
Growing seasonWeak tendency toward an earlier start by 8 days to the growing season in spring
Precipitation17% ↑ in fall precipitation
No significant spring, summer, or winter trends
No significant trend in the amount of precipitation falling as rain vs. snow
Snow13.7 cm ↓ in maximum annual snow depth
No significant trend in # of days with snow cover from August to January
Weak tendency toward an earlier end of the snow season from February to July by 10.3 days

Source: Zhang et al., 2011Footnote154and supplementary data provided by the authors

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Figure 67. Change in mean temperatures in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1950–2007 for: a) spring (March–May), b) summer (June–August, c) fall (September–November), and d) winter (December–February).

map
Source: Zhang et al., 2011 and supplementary data provided by the authors

Long Description for Figure 67

This figure shows a map of each season in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ with icons representing individual monitoring stations that indicate an increase or decrease in seasonal temperature, the degree of change, and whether observed trends were significant. From 1950 to 2007, temperatures increased in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in spring by 1.7°C, in summer by 1.3°C, and in winter by 1.8°C, resulting in an earlier growing season by eight days. In the fall, some sites decreased in temperature, but none significantly. Across the ecozone+as a whole, temperature increased between 0.5 and >3 °C..

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Figure 68. Change in the amounts of precipitation in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1950 to 2007 for a) spring (March–May), b) summer (June–August), c) fall (September–November), and d) winter (December–February).

map
Source: Zhang et al., 2011 and supplementary data provided by the authors

Long Description for Figure 68

This figure shows a map of each season in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ with icons representing individual monitoring stations that indicate an increase or decrease in annual precipitation, the degree of change, and whether observed trends were significant. There were no overall significant trends in precipitation in spring, summer, and winter, however, precipitation in the fall increased by 17%.

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Figure 69. Change in snow durations (the number of days with ≥2 cm of snow on the ground) in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1950–2007 in: a) the first half of the snow season (August–January), which indicates change in the start date of snow cover, and b) the second half of the snow season (February–July), which indicates changes in the end date of snow cover.

map
Source: Zhang et al., 2011 and supplementary data provided by the authors

Long Description for Figure 69

These two maps show the change in snow durations (the number of days with ≥2 cm of snow on the ground) in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1950–2007 in the first half of the snow season (August–January), which indicates change in the start date of snow cover, and the second half of the snow season (February–July), which indicates changes in the end date of snow cover. Major changes in snowfall patterns, likely associated to increased temperatures, included shallower snow cover (-13.7 cm) and earlier snow melt (10.3 days) from February to July.

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These climatic changes have had direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity through changes to hydrological processes, natural disturbances, primary productivity, and invasions of non-native species. Increases in spring and winter temperatures as well as a shallower snow cover and earlier snowmelt, contributed to decreases in annual flows, earlier spring peak flows, and earlier ice melt (see the Lakes and rivers key finding on page 48).Footnote 14, Footnote 153, Footnote 154 Climate change also accelerated erosion (see the Coastal key finding on page 59) through higher water levels that intensified wave action, decreased ice that would otherwise stabilize shores and regulate sediment loads, and caused more frequent freeze-thaw events, particularly affecting clayey cliffs. Forecasted increases in storm events may also facilitate coastal erosion.Footnote 169

Precipitation and temperature changes are contributing to more abundant, earlier, yet less intense fires in central Quebec (see the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ key finding on page 143). These altered natural disturbance patterns resulted in significant replacement of closed-crown boreal forests by less productive lichen woodlands in the latter half of the 20th century.Footnote 69 Here the boreal forest is receding northward, which corresponds to predicted changes in ecosystem composition and structure in a changing climate.Footnote 389 In Quebec and southern Labrador, climate change from 1985–2006 was associated with positive trends in net primary productivity (see the Primary productivity key finding on page 141).Footnote 390

Range expansions of native and invasive species are consistent with trends towards warmer spring, summer, and winter temperatures, an earlier start of the growing season, and reduced snow depth and duration of snow. The 2007 to 2009 expansion of hemlock looper (Lambdina fiscellaria fiscellaria) outbreaks led to unprecedented pesticide treatment plans in southern Labrador. Great blue herons (Ardea herodias), American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), and a few forest-dwelling landbird species, were reported more frequently in the northern range of their distributions. Some of these birds are decreasing in their southern range, suggesting a northward shift. Water temperature increases may benefit warm water fish species such as smallmouth bass whereas cold water fish species, such as lake trout, may decline. Non-native invasive species, parasites, and pathogens are spreading northwards (see the Invasive non-native species key finding on page 78). Other species, notably the mountain pine beetle (Dentroctonus ponderosae), have expanded their ranges into neighbouring ecozones+ and are expected to reach the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in coming years.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Significant changes have occurred in average summer and fall temperatures in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ (Table 18 and Figure 70). The amounts of spring, fall, and winter precipitation have all increased by 0.2%, while no significant changes were found for summer precipitation (Figure 71). Changes in precipitation have led to changes in streamflow. For example, discharge in the Bay du Nord River has increased in the spring and decreased in the summer since 1970. No change was found in the proportion of precipitation falling as rain versus snow, or the duration of snow cover. However, the maximum annual snow depth has increased by 32.5 cm since 1950.

Table 18. Summary of changes in climate variables in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+from 1950–2007.
Climate variableTrends from 1950–2007
TemperatureOverall ↑ of 1.7 °C in summer temperature
Overall ↑ of 1.0 °C in fall temperature
No significant spring or winter trends
Growing seasonNo significant trend in the start, end or length of the growing season
Precipitation0.2% ↑ in spring precipitation
0.2% ↑ fall precipitation
0.2% ↑ winter precipitation
No significant summer precipitation trends
No significant trend in the amount of precipitation falling as rain vs. snow
Snow32.5 cm ↑ in maximum annual snow depth
No significant trend in # of days with snow cover
Drought indexNo significant trend

Source: Zhang et al. 2011 and supplementary data provided by the authors

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Figure 70. a) Summer (June–August) and b) fall (September–November) average temperature anomalies for 1950 to 2007 relative to the base period (1961–1990) average in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

The graphs show the overall trends for the ecozone+ and the maps show trends (p< 0.05) for individual stations.

graph and map
Source: Zhang et al., 2011 and supplementary data provided by the authors

Long Description for Figure 70

This figure contains a line graph and a map of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ for both the mean summer temperature and mean fall temperature anomalies. Significant increases have occurred in average summer and fall temperatures in the ecozone+. In both seasons, temperatures have increased significantly at five locations across the ecozone+ in the summer (St. John's +1.6, St. John's west +2.2, Deer Lake +1.4, Stephenville +1.0, and Port aux Basques +1), and at three locations in the fall (St. John's +1.0, St. John's west +2.1, and Port aux Basques +1.2).

Two line graphs show the following information:

a) Summer (June–August) and b) fall (September–November) average temperature anomalies for 1950 to 2007 relative to the base period (1961–1990) average in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.
YearMean Summer Temp Anomaly (°C)Mean Fall Temp Anomaly (°C)
1950-0.16-0.2
19510.50.5
19521.30.1
1953-0.20.3
19540.0-0.4
1955-0.6-0.2
1956-0.90.3
1957-0.9-0.1
1958-0.8-0.5
1959-0.6-0.3
19600.70.2
19610.62.0
1962-1.60.4
1963-1.50.4
1964-1.4-0.7
1965-0.1-1.0
19660.10.6
19671.91.6
1968-2.20.2
1969-0.1-0.2
19700.70.5
19710.20.3
19720.0-1.1
19730.4-0.4
1974-0.8-0.5
19750.60.2
19760.10.0
19770.50.4
19780.4-1.7
19790.90.3
1980-1.1-0.4
1981-0.20.9
1982-0.8-0.1
19830.30.6
19840.9-0.6
19850.4-1.1
1986-0.4-1.9
19870.10.1
19880.10.6
19891.10.0
19900.80.7
1991-1.50.5
1992-1.3-0.5
1993-1.4-0.5
19940.80.7
1995-0.20.8
19960.6-0.3
1997-0.20.0
19981.10.2
19991.71.0
20001.21.0
20011.31.6
20020.5-0.1
20031.32.9
20041.00.9
20051.11.6
20062.12.0
20071.30.8

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Figure 71. a) Spring (March–May), b) fall (September–November), and c) winter (December–February) precipitation anomalies for 1950 to 2007 relative to the base period (1961–1990) average in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

The graphs show the overall trends for the ecozone+ ; maps show trends (p< 0.05) for individual stations.

map and graph
Source: Zhang et al., 2011 and supplementary data provided by the authors

Long Description for Figure 71

This series of maps and line graphs shows spring (March–May), fall (September–November), and winter (December–February) precipitation anomalies for 1950 to 2007 relative to the base period (1961–1990) average in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. Significant increases occurred in the spring at St. Anthony (+84.0%), Gander (+23.0%), Corner Brook (+53.1%) and Port aux Basques (+67.3%). In the fall, significant increases occurred at St. Anthony (+67.3%) and Gander (+29.4%). Significant winter increases were at St. Anthony (+77.9%), Corner Brook (+24.8%), Stephenville (+33.0) and Port aux Basques (+41.3%). No significant changes were found for summer precipitation.

Three line graphs show the following information:

a) Spring (March–May), b) fall (September–November), and c) winter (December–February) precipitation anomalies for 1950 to 2007 relative to the base period (1961–1990) average in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.
Year% Change in Total
Spring Precipitation
% Change in Total Fall
Precipitation
% Change in Total
Winter Precipitation
1950-13-37-8
195140-19
1952-23-1114
1953-10-21-23
19541-26-3
1955-58-1
1956-5-19-4
1957-30-82
1958-1714-21
1959-31-2-7
1960-7-10-14
1961-9-8-15
1962-883
1963-21-1323
19643-211
1965-6-1316
1966-19-23-11
1967-531
19681-8-14
196914-4-6
19707-7-1
19718-7-4
19721716-16
1973-25-1515
1974343-21
1975717-18
1976-2178
1977-1998
197816-139
1979016-3
1980-328-5
1981923-15
198215-129
198310-79
198418-2015
1985-4-32-8
1986-13-21
1987-141-5
19882108
1989-319-7
1990515-3
1991-41113
19927-14-10
1993251-6
199452814
1995-211015
1996-4-12
19972510
19984114-38
1999-11014
200028218
2001-18-118
2002-2163
2003-3-14-17
200417176
200531217
20064-34
2007-21-110

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Like the rest of Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland is expected to experience rising sea levels, more storm events, increasing storm intensity, and increased coastal erosion and flooding with climate change.Footnote 144, Footnote 391

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Ecosystem services

Key finding 15
Theme Human/ecosystem interactions

National key finding

Canada is well endowed with a natural environment that provides ecosystem services upon which our quality of life depends. In some areas where stressors have impaired ecosystem function, the cost of maintaining ecosystem services is high and deterioration in quantity, quality, and access to ecosystem services is evident.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Ecosystem services are the direct goods and indirect services from a healthy, natural environment that ensure human well-being. These include provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services. Following the UN's Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Report in 2005,Footnote 392 the Pembina Institute identified, inventoried, and measured the full economic value of the many ecological goods and services provided by Canada's boreal region. They developed the Boreal Ecosystem Wealth Accounting System (BEWAS), a tool for measuring and reporting on the physical conditions and the full economic value of the boreal region's natural capital and ecosystem services.Footnote 393 The estimated net market value in the year 2002 was $37.5 billion across all products extracted from boreal forest annually. If accounted for, this would equate to 4.2% of Canada's GDP in 2002. The net market value calculation is based on the contribution to Canada's GDP from boreal timber harvesting, mineral and oil and gas extraction, and hydroelectric generation ($62 billion) minus the estimated $11 billion in environmental costs (e.g., air pollution costs) and societal costs (e.g., government subsidies) associated with these industrial activities. Non-marketable ecosystem goods and services were valued at $703.2 billion (Table 19).

Table 19. Summary of natural capital economic values for Canada's boreal region
Values ForestsWetlands and peatlandsMinerals and subsoil assetsWater resourcesWaste productionTotal
Market ValuesNote c of Table 19$18.8 billionNote c of Table 19 -$23.6 billionNote c of Table 19$19.5 billionNote c of Table 19 -$62 billionNote c of Table 19
CostsNote a of Table 19Note d of Table 19$150 million -$1 billionNote d of Table 19 -$9.9 billionNote d of Table 19$11 billionNote d of Table 19
Non-market valuesNote e of Table 19$180.1 billionNote e of Table 19$512.6 billionNote e of Table 19 - - -$703.2 billionNote e of Table 19
ExamplesPest control by birds
Nature-related activities
Carbon sequestrationNote e of Table 19
Flood control
Carbon sequestration
Water filtering
Biodiversity valueNote e of Table 19
Federal government expenditures for subsidies to the oil and gas and mining sectorsNote d of Table 19Hydroelectric generation from dams and reservoirsNote c of Table 19Air pollution costs to human healthNote b of Table 19Note d of Table 19 -

The GDP chained, implicit price index was used throughout the study to standardize to 2002 dollars.

Source: Anielski and Wilson, 2005Footnote394

Notes of Table 19

Note [a] of Table 19

These are either environmental or societal costs associated with market-based activities (e.g., forest industry operations).

Return to note a referrer of table 19

Note [b] of Table 19

based on European Union air pollution cost estimates for SO2, NOx, PM2.5, and VOC for 2002.

Return to note b referrer of table 19

Note [c] of Table 19

Market values are denoted

Return to note c referrer of table 19

Note [d] of Table 19

Environmental/societal costs

Return to note d referrer of table 19

Note [e] of Table 19

Non-market values

Return to note e referrer of table 19

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Further information was available for certain provisioning and cultural services at a provincial or local scale. Harvest data from hunting and trapping were used to extract trends for the Species of special economic, cultural, or ecological interest key finding on page 129. Some trapping information was presented for the cumulative number of wildlife pelts produced in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan from 1970 to 2009.Footnote 395 From 1987 to 1988, trapping fur yields dropped more than 50%, driven in large part by a reduction in the number of muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) furs. This decline in trapping was likely attributable to new trapping methods introduced in Canada in the late 1980s. Thus it does not likely reflect actual population trends. The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) was eventually ratified by Canada in 1999 and implementation of standards was completed in 2007.Footnote 396

Figure 72. a) Total number of wildlife pelts (representing all trapped species in the ecozone+) and b) value of wildlife pelts from trapping by province from 1970 to 2006.

These province-wide data exceed the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ boundaries.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2009

Long Description for Figure 72

These two line graphs show the following information:

a) Total number of wildlife pelts (representing all trapped species in the ecozone+) and b) value of wildlife pelts from trapping by province from 1970 to 2006.
 YearSask. - Number of peltsManitoba - Number of peltsOntario - Number of peltsQuebec - Number of peltsSask. - Value of peltsManitoba - Value of peltsOntario - Value of peltsQuebec - Value of pelts
1970488,334479,562627,050315,474$1,317,392$1,718,773$2,701,572$1,717,537
1971601,315586,820584,882291,230$2,103,166$2,660,191$4,126,759$1,725,003
1972494,377438,618695,668277,016$3,700,948$3,711,269$7,223,667$3,176,130
1973280,709274,953816,836408,514$3,238,386$3,083,021$8,274,317$5,268,871
1974430,027439,380716,066378,689$2,006,580$2,554,766$6,141,910$4,106,794
1975689,442592,353682,294291,647$4,376,192$4,316,986$7,976,545$4,169,987
1976890,414586,911842,212338,371$6,759,941$5,582,231$11,071,467$5,936,322
1977394,577363,949796,481477,105$5,383,245$5,116,082$10,743,316$8,167,582
1978402,673343,892875,920500,782$10,151,264$7,882,404$18,757,757$12,268,935
1979743,735605,0521,070,398477,165$9,126,599$9,615,690$24,407,053$11,407,388
1980743,764636,3161,001,961479,369$8,081,373$8,240,663$19,710,411$11,547,922
1981330,081304,5181,047,017366,401$5,428,900$5,564,487$17,527,478$8,086,831
1982261,165291,0201,021,204339,547$4,092,591$4,314,014$14,345,905$6,707,333
1983280,432332,700760,671352,869$3,960,468$3,783,562$13,042,242$5,902,703
1984307,062298,537852,804459,031$5,099,682$4,784,524$13,913,003$8,137,817
1985330,081230,051837,751521,480$5,007,639$5,061,210$14,368,665$8,872,873
1986409,930353,791921,099546,894$7,577,296$8,070,118$21,579,593$11,009,688
1987488,367391,744890,590542,450$5,741,824$5,393,731$20,165,032$9,768,371
1988145,808107,920453,373260,792$1,810,746$2,259,584$12,215,440$4,824,388
1989100,56468,061298,581208,079$1,330,870$1,563,805$6,708,617$3,875,066
199066,03850,780228,306163,006$789,541$1,125,332$4,916,491$2,941,786
199193,44670,801233,146199,635$1,671,651$1,681,576$5,798,121$4,464,057
199263,60081,102241,800165,288$952,349$1,518,850$3,776,736$2,865,294
199392,651124,250293,035204,607$1,560,095$2,694,985$7,221,486$4,453,439
1994134,469145,920382,608275,006$1,926,981$2,539,053$8,436,189$5,083,371
1995135,474129,826278,315239,947$1,947,951$2,639,452$7,291,282$5,416,260
1996203,403201,277402,931252,115$2,990,893$3,715,834$10,687,323$6,560,865
1997189,014208,766371,165306,256$2,020,258$3,306,965$8,783,252$5,788,852
199882,197100,820307,968239,024$1,100,563$2,037,022$5,016,599$3,327,140
199987,95597,022353,234228,248$1,489,597$1,967,405$5,282,929$4,029,189
200087,209102,003208,640212,354$1,910,908$2,769,982$4,704,859$5,142,799
200198,207110,470298,350263,742$2,210,887$2,440,022$5,425,223$6,693,822
200285,53086,839243,246185,229$1,907,720$2,998,184$5,829,596$4,778,154
200384,68582,421249,483198,635$2,866,141$3,039,009$6,470,349$5,358,261
200462,50580,262269,688208,537$1,687,708$3,108,797$7,397,214$5,413,229
200566,63897,177227,163230,604$2,002,065$3,288,351$7,134,609$8,745,527
2006111,332110,203254,108278,888$2,966,864$2,974,128$4,884,873$5,949,723
200779,12384,060169,719194,652$1,979,235$2,674,633$4,604,285$4,467,322
200864,14475,046166,505210,458$1,185,446$2,002,920$2,619,432$3,702,987
200955,00170,057179,937214,326$1,127,832$1,425,857$3,083,724$3,777,917

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Aboriginal People have observed changes in blueberry (Vaccinium myrtilloides), wild rice (Zizania aquatica), and fish in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Blueberry growth may be reduced by increased temperatures, drought, and fire suppression.4, Footnote 397 Wild rice distribution and harvest were altered due to hydroelectric development in the early 1900s.Footnote 398 Hydrological changes related to hydro-developments were also reported to cause changes in fish ecology, including spawning behaviour,Footnote 399 presence of certain species,Footnote 400 and an overall reduction in freshwater biodiversity.Footnote 401

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

No valuations of ecosystem goods and services were found for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. Moose are a wildlife resource valued by Newfoundland people for their subsistence, aesthetic, and economic value, and the annual hunt is an important cultural practice within the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. Annual license sales have exceeded 25,000 for the past five years with up to 10% of sales going to non-resident hunters.96 Hunting revenues and other tourist activities related to moose contribute more than $100 million annually to the Newfoundland economy.96

Figure 73. a) Total number of wildlife pelts (representing all trapped species in the ecozone+) and b) value of wildlife pelts from trapping in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1970 to 2009.

These are provincial data and exceed the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ boundaries.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2010

Long Description for Figure 73

These two line graphs show the following information:

a) Total number of wildlife pelts (representing all trapped species in the ecozone+) and b) value of wildlife pelts from trapping in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1970 to 2009.
 YearNumber of wildlife peltsValue of wildlife pelts
1970105,738$837,802
197156,129$536,374
197253,095$580,725
197358,093$845,331
197485,728$1,741,204
1975100,094$1,639,825
197693,183$1,902,187
1977120,909$2,371,450
1978112,684$2,831,440
197916,862$489,740
198018,843$572,064
198128,733$776,264
198221,240$550,928
198321,126$696,081
198423,396$772,597
198526,219$728,338
198631,920$1,353,123
198732,521$1,397,502
198816,503$454,565
198917,542$310,361
19908,816$178,341
199115,168$372,534
199211,329$296,535
199312,712$322,813
199419,011$524,533
199516,558$470,936
199622,443$466,764
199720,966$336,374
199820,846$254,835
199924,076$398,137
200018,708$464,085
200124,354$844,512
200221,337$1,013,129
200325,058$962,584
200422,406$717,681
200522,730$1,085,414
200614,965$326,465
200719,722$551,832
20088,636$177,996
200914,687$269,699

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Footnote 1

St.-George, S. 2007. Streamflow in the Winnipeg River basin, Canada: Trends, extremes and climate linkages. Journal of Hydrology 332:396-411.

Return to Footnote 1

Footnote 10

CCEA. 2009. Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS), v.2009.05 [online]. Canadian Council on Ecological Areas. (accessed 5 November, 2009).

Return to Footnote 10

Footnote 14

Monk, W.A. and Baird, D.J. 2014. Biodiversity in Canadian lakes and rivers. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 19. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. Draft report.

Return to Footnote 14

Footnote 62

Viereck, L.A. and Johnston, W.F. 1990. Black spruce (Picea Mariana (Mill.) B.S.P.). In Silvics of North America: 1. Conifers; 2. Hardwoods, Agriculture Handbook 654. Edited by Burns, R.M. and Honkala, B.H. US Department of Agriculture. Forest Service. Washington, DC.

Return to Footnote 62

Footnote 69

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Footnote 318

Kerr, S.J. and Grant, R.E. 2000. Evaluating the risk. In Ecological Impact of Fish Introductions. Edited by Kerr S.J.& Grant R.E. Fish and Wildlife Branch, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Petersborough, Ontario. pp. 157-179.

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Footnote 319

Choi, A.L. and Grandjean, P. 2008. Methylmercury exposure and health effects in humans. Environmental Chemistry 5:112-120.

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Footnote 320

Mason, R.P., Fitzgerald, W.F. and Morel, F.M.M. 1994. The biogeochemical cycling of elemental mercury - anthropogenic influences. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 58:3191-3198.

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Footnote 321

Driscoll, C.T., Han, Y.J., Chen, C.Y., Evers, D.C., Lambert, K.F., Holsen, T.M., Kamman, N.C. and Munson, R.K. 2007. Mercury contamination in forest and freshwater ecosystems in the northeastern United States. Bioscience 57:17-28.

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Footnote 322

Evers, D.C., Savoy, L.J., DeSorbo, C.R., Yates, D.E., Hanson, W., Taylor, K.M., Siegel, L.S., Cooley, J.H., Bank, M.S., Major, A., Munney, K., Mower, B.F., Vogel, H.S., Schoch, N., Pokras, M., Goodale, M.W. and Fair, J. 2008. Adverse effects from environmental mercury loads on breeding common loons. Ecotoxicology 17:69-81.

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Footnote 323

Schober, S.E., Sinks, T.H., Jones, R.L., Bolger, P.M., McDowell, M., Osterloh, J., Garrett, E.S., Canady, R.A., Dillon, C.F., Sun, Y., Joseph, C.B. and Mahaffey, K.R. 2003. Blood mercury levels in US children and women of childbearing age, 1999-2000. Journal of the American Medical Association 289:1667-1674.

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Footnote 324

Temme, C., Blanchard, P., Steffen, A., Banic, C., Beauchamp, S., Poissant, L., Tordon, R. and Wiens, B. 2007. Trend, seasonal and multivariate analysis study of total gaseous mercury data from the Canadian atmospheric mercury measurement network (CAMNet). Atmospheric Environment 41:5423-5441.

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Footnote 325

Graydon, J., St, L., V, Hintelmann, H., Lindberg, S., Sandilands, K., Rudd, J., Kelly, C., Hall, B. and Mowat, L. 2008. Long-term wet and dry deposition of total and methyl mercury in the remote boreal ecoregion of Canada. Environmental Science & Technology 42:8345-8351.

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Footnote 326

Prestbo, E.M. and Gay, D.A. 2009. Wet deposition of mercury in the US and Canada, 1996-2005: Results and analysis of the NADP mercury deposition network (MDN). Atmospheric Environment 43:4223-4233.

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Footnote 327

Muir, D.C.G., Wang, X., Yang, F., Nguyen, N., Jackson, T.A., Evans, M.S., Douglas, M., Kock, G., Lamoureux, S., Pienitz, R., Smol, J.P., Vincent, W.F. and Dastoor, A. 2009. Spatial trends and historical deposition of mercury in eastern and northern Canada inferred from lake sediment cores. Environmental Science & Technology 43:4802-4809.

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Footnote 328

Lucotte, M., Mucci, A., Hillairemarcel, C., Pichet, P. and Grondin, A. 1995. Anthropogenic mercury enrichment in remote lakes of northern Quebec (Canada). Water Air and Soil Pollution 80:467-476.

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Footnote 329

Mills, R., Paterson, A., Lean, D., Smol, J., Mierle, G. and Blais, J. 2009. Dissecting the spatial scales of mercury accumulation in Ontario lake sediment. Environmental Pollution 157:2949-2956.

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Footnote 330

Bodaly, R.A.D., Jansen, W.A., Majewski, A.R., Fudge, R.J.P., Strange, N.E., Derksen, A.J. and Green, D.J. 2007. Postimpoundment time course of increased mercury concentrations in fish in hydroelectric reservoirs of northern Manitoba, Canada. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 53:379-389.

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Footnote 331

Schetagne, R., Doyon, J.F. and Fournier, J.J. 2000. Export of mercury downstream from reservoirs. Science of the Total Environment 260:135-145.

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Footnote 332

Lucotte, M., Schetagne, R., Thérien, N., Langlois, C. and Tremblay, A. 1999. Mercury in the biogeochemical cycle: natural environments and hydroelectric reservoirs of northern Quebec. Springer. Berlin, Germany. 334 p.

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Footnote 333

Burgess, N.M. and Meyer, M.W. 2008. Methylmercury exposure associated with reduced productivity in common loons. Ecotoxicology 17:83-91.

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Footnote 334

Klenavic, K., Champoux, L., Mike, O., Daoust, P.Y., Evans, R.D. and Evans, H.E. 2008. Mercury concentrations in wild mink (Mustela vison) and river otters (Lontra canadensis) collected from eastern and Atlantic Canada: Relationship to age and parasitism. Environmental Pollution 156:359-366.

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Footnote 335

Mierle, G., Addison, E.M., MacDonald, K.S. and Joachim, D.G. 2000. Mercury levels in tissues of otters from Ontario, Canada: Variation with age, sex, and location. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 19:3044-3051.

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Footnote 336

Scheuhammer, A.M., Perrault, J.A. and Bond, D.E. 2001. Mercury, methylmercury, and selenium concentrations in eggs of common loons (Gavia immer) from Canada. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 72:79-94.

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Footnote 337

Champoux, L., Masse, D.C., Evers, D., Lane, O.P., Plante, M. and Timmermans, S.T.A. 2006. Assessment of mercury exposure and potential effects on common loons (Gavia immer) in Quebec. Hydrobiologia 567:263-274.

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Footnote 338

Nocera, J.J. and Taylor, P.D. 1998. In situ Behavioral Response of Common Loons Associated with Elevated Mecury (Hg) Exposure. Ecology and Society 2.

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Footnote 339

Kenow, K.P., Grasman, K.A., Hines, R.K., Meyer, M.W., Gendron-Fitzpatrick, A., Spalding, M.G. and Gray, B.R. 2007. Effects of methylmercury exposure on the immune function of juvenile common loons (Gavia immer). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 26:1460-1469.

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Footnote 340

Scheulhammer, A.M., Meyer, M.W., Sandheinrich, M.B. and Murray, M.W. 2007. Effects of environmental methylmercury on the health of wild birds, mammals, and fish. Ambio 36:12-18.

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Footnote 341

Scheuhammer, A.M., Basu, N., Burgess, N.M., Elliott, J.E., Campbell, G.D., Wayland, M., Champoux, L. and Rodrigue, J. 2008. Relationships among mercury, selenium, and neurochemical parameters in common loons (Gavia immer) and bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). Ecotoxicology 17:93-101.

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Footnote 342

Johnston, T.A., Leggett, W.C., Bodaly, R.A. and Swanson, H.K. 2003. Temporal changes in mercury bioaccumulation by predatory fishes of boreal lakes following the invasion of an exotic forage fish. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 22:2057-2062.

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Footnote 343

Kinghorn, A., Solomon, P. and Chan, H.M. 2007. Temporal and spatial trends of mercury in fish collected in the English-Wabigoon river system in Ontario, Canada. Science of the Total Environment 372:615-623.

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Footnote 344

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Footnote 345

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Footnote 346

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Footnote 347

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Footnote 348

Williams, U.P., J.W.Kiceniuk and J.R.Botta. 1985. Polycyclic Aromatic hydrocarbon accumulation and Sensory evaluation of lobsters (Homarus americanus) exposed to diesel oil at Arnoldʹs Cove, Newfoundland. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 1402:iv-13.

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Williams, U.P., J.W.Kiceniuk, J.E.Ryder and J.R.Botta. 1988. Effects of an Oil spill on American lobster (Homarus americanus) in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 1650:iv-9.

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Footnote 350

Olson, P.H. 1994. Handling of Waste in Ports. Marine Pollution Bulletin 29:284-295.

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Footnote 351

McNeil, M. and Catto, N. 2009. Vulnerability of selected beaches to Petroleum Contamination, Placentia Bay, NL, Canada. Geophysical Research Abstracts 11.

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Footnote 352

Catto, N.R. and Etheridge, B. 2006. Sensitivity, Exposure, and Vulnerability to Petroleum Pollution of Gravel Beaches, Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada. Coastal Environments 2006 conference. Rhodes, Greece. Wessex Institute Press.

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Footnote 353

Wiese, F.K. and P.C.Ryan. 1999. Trends of Chronic oil pollution in southeastern Newfoundland assessed through beached-bird surveys 1984-1997. Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment Canada. Ottawa, Ontario.

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Footnote 354

Canadian Coast Guard. 1999. Prevention of Oiled Wildlife Project. Phase 1: The Problem. Canadian Coast Guard. St. Johnʹs, NL.

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Footnote 355

MDS Environmental Services Ltd. 1995. St. Johnʹs Harbour Sediment Sample Analyses. MDS Environmental Services Ltd.

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Footnote 356

Oceans Limited. 1996. Fish Health Study of St. Johnʹs Harbour. Oceans Limited. 143 p.

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Footnote 357

Drury, C.F., Yang, J., De Jong, R., Huffman, T., Yang, X., Reid, K. and Campbell, C.A. 2010. Residual soil nitrogen. In Environmental sustainability of Canadian agriculture: agrienvironmental indicator series - report #3. Edited by Eilers, W., MacKay, R., Graham, L. and Lefebvre, A. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Ottawa, ON. Chapter 12.1. pp. 74-80.

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Footnote 358

Drury, C.F., Yang, J.Y. and De Jong, R. 2011. Trends in residual soil nitrogen for agricultural land in Canada, 1981-2006. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends

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Footnote 359

Ministère du Développement durable, de lʹEnvironnement et des Parcs.

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Footnote 360

Environment Canada. 2013. Acid rain [online]. http://www.ec.gc.ca/air/default.asp?lang=En&n=AA1521C2-1 (accessed 3 March, 2013).

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Footnote 361

Environment Canada. 2005. Canadian acid deposition science assessment 2004. Environment Canada, Meterological Service of Canada. Ottawa, ON. 440 p.

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Footnote 362

International Joint Commission. 2008. Canada-United States air quality agreement 2008 progress report No. EPA-430-R-08-013. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, DC . 64 p.

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Footnote 363

Environment Canada. 1991. Canada-United States Air Quality Agreement.

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Canada-United States. 2008. Canada - United States Air Quality Agreement. 2008 progress report. International Joint Commission. Ottawa, ON and Washington, DC. 72 p.

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Footnote 365

Dampier, J.E.E., Shahi, C., Lemelin, R.H. and Luckai, N. 2013. From coal to wood thermoelectric energy production: a review and discussion of potential socioeconomic impacts with implications for Northwestern Ontario, Canada. Energy, Sustainability and Society 3:1-9.

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Footnote 366

Jeffries, D.S. and Ouimet, R. 2005. Critical loads - are they being exceeded? In Canadian acid deposition science assessment 2004. Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. Chapter 8. pp. 341-368.

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Footnote 367

Jeffries, D.S., Wong, I. and Sloboda, M. 2010. Boreal Shield steady-state exceedances for forest soils or lakes map. Prepared for Boreal Shield Ecozone+ status and trends report. Environment Canada, Water Science and Technology Branch. Unpublished map.

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Footnote 368

Jeffries, D.S., Weeber, R.C., Wong, I. and Burgess, N.M. 2009. Acid rain section for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ assessment. Unpublished data.

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Footnote 369

Whitfield, C.J., Aherne, J., Watmough, S.A. and McDonald, M. 2010. Estimating the sensitivity of forest soils to acid deposition in the Athabasca Oil Sands Region, Alberta. Journal of Limnology 69:201-208.

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Footnote 370

Scott, K.A., Wissle, B., Gibson, J.J. and Birks, J.S. 2010. Chemical characteristics and acid sensitivity of boreal headwater lakes in northwest Saskatchewan. Journal of Limnology 69:33-44.

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Footnote 371

Jeziorski, A., Yan, N.D., Paterson, A.M., DeSellas, A.M., Turner, M.A., Jeffries, D.S., Keller, B., Weeber, R.C., McNicol, D.K., Palmer, M.E., McIver, K., Arseneau, K., Ginn, B.K., Cumming, B.F. and Smol, J.P. 2008. The widespread threat of calcium decline in fresh waters. Science 322:1374-1377.

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Footnote 372

Jeffries, D.S., Lam, D.C.L., Wong, I. and Moran, M.D. 2000. Assessment of changes in lake pH in southeastern Canada arising from present levels and expected reductions in acidic deposition. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 57:40-49.

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Footnote 373

Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. 2013. Saskatchewanʹs 2013 State of the Environment Report. Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment. Regina, SK.

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Footnote 374

Scott, K.A., Wissel, B.J., Gibson, J.J. and Birks, S.J. 2010. Chemical characteristics and acid sensitivity of boreal headwater lakes in northwest Saskatchewan. Journal of Limnology 69:33-44.

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Footnote 375

Jeffries, D.S., McNicol, D.K. and Weeber, R.C. 2005. Effects on aquatic chemistry and biology. In Canadian acid deposition science assessment 2004. Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. Chapter 6. pp. 203-278.

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Footnote 376

Jeffries, D.S. 1997. 1997 Canadian Acid Rain Assessment. Volume 3: the effects on Canadaʹs lakes, rivers and wetlands. Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. 178 p.

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Footnote 377

Doka, S.E., McNicol, D.K., Mallory, M.L., Wong, I., Minns, C.K. and Yan, N.D. 2003. Assessing potential for recovery of biotic richness and indicator species due to changes in acidic deposition and lake pH in five areas of southeastern Canada. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 88:53-101.

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Footnote 378

Holt, C.A., Yan, N.D. and Somers, K.M. 2003. pH 6 as the threshold to use in critical load modeling for zooplankton community change with acidification in lakes of south-central Ontario: accounting for morphometry and geography. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 60:151-158.

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Footnote 379

Weeber, R.C., Jeffries, D.S. and McNicol, D. 2005. Recovery of aquatic ecosystems. In Canadian acid deposition science assessment 2004. Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. Chapter 7. pp. 279-340.

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Footnote 380

Yan, N.D., Paterson, A.M., Somers, K.M. and Scheider, W.A. 2008. An introduction to the Dorset special issue: transforming understanding of factors that regulate aquatic ecosystems on the southern Canadian Shield. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65:781-785.

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Footnote 381

Snucins, E. 2003. Recolonization of acid-damaged lakes by the benthic invertebrates Stenacron interpunctatum, Stenonema femoratum and Hyalella azteca. Ambio 32:225-229.

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Footnote 382

Yan, N.D., Somers, K.M., Girard, R.E., Paterson, A.M., Keller, W., Ramcharan, C.W., Rusak, J.A., Ingram, R., Morgan, G.E. and Gunn, J.M. 2008. Longterm trends in zooplankton of Dorset, Ontario lakes: the probable interactive effects of changes in pH, total phosphorus, dissolved organic carbon, and predators. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 65:862-877.

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Footnote 383

Snucins, E. and Gunn, J.M. 2003. Use of rehabilitation experiments to understand the recovery dynamics of acid-stressed fish populations. Ambio 32:240-243.

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Footnote 384

Snucins, E.J., Weeber, R., Jefferies, D.S. and McNicol, D. 2005. Restoration and Management of Fish Populations. In 2004 Canadian Acid Deposition Science Assessment. Environment Canada. Ottawa, Ontario. Chapter 7.5. pp. 304-306.

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Footnote 385

Aurora Trout Recovery Team. 2006. Recovery strategy for Aurora trout (Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Ottawa, ON. 35 p.

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Footnote 386

Alvo, R. 2009. Common Loon, Gavia immer, breeding success in relation to lake pH and lake size over 25 years. The Canadian Field-Naturalist 123:146-156.

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Footnote 387

Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation. 2013. Acid rain program [online]. (accessed 3 March, 2013).

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Footnote 388

Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation. 2000. Newfoundland Environment Precipitation Monitoring Network (NEPMoN) Report on Activities 1999-2000.

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Footnote 389

Flannigan, M.D., Logan, K.A., Amiro, B.D., Skinner, W.R. and Stocks, B.J. 2005. Future area burned in Canada. Climatic Change 72:1-16.

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Footnote 390

Pouliot, D., Latifovic, R. and Olthof, I. 2009. Trends in vegetation NDVI from 1 km Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data over Canada for the period 1985-2006. International Journal of Remote Sensing 30:149-168.

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Footnote 391

Daigle, R., D.Forbes, G.P., H.Ritchie, T.Webster, D.Bérubé, A.Hanson, L.DeBaie, S.Nichols and L.Vasseur. 2006. Impacts of sea level rise and climate change on the Coastal Zone of southeastern New Brunswick. Environment Canada. 613 p.

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Footnote 392

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and human wellbeing: synthesis. A report of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Island Press. Washington, DC. 137 p.

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Footnote 393

Anielski, M. and Wilson, S. 2009. Counting Canadaʹs natural capital: assessing the real value of Canadaʹs boreal ecosystems. The Pembina Institute and the Canadian Boreal Initiative. Drayton Valley, AB. 76 p.

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Footnote 394

Anielski, M. and Wilson, S. 2005. Counting Canadaʹs natural capital: assessing the real value of Canadaʹs boreal ecosystems. The Canadian Boreal Initiative and the Pembina Institute. Ottawa, ON and Drayton Valley, AB. 78 p.

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Footnote 395

Statistics Canada. 2010. Fur statistics, vol. 8 [online]. (accessed 20 August, 2013).

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Footnote 396

Fur Institute of Canada. 2008. Canada's fur trade at a glance. 14 p.

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Footnote 397

Foley, C.G. 2004. Understanding the connection between people and the land: Implications for social-ecological health at Iskatewizaagegan. Thesis (Master of Natural Resources Management). University of Manitoba, Natural Resources Institute. Winnipeg, MB. 103 p.

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Footnote 398

Roberts, W.J. 2005. Integrating traditional ecological knowledge and ecological restoration: restoring Aboriginal cultural landscapes with Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation. Thesis (Master of Natural Resources Management). University of Manitoba, Natural Resources Institute. Winnipeg, MB.

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Footnote 399

Hannibal-Paci, C.J. 2000. ʹHis knowledge and my knowledgeʹ: Cree and Ojibwe traditional environmental knowledge and sturgeon co-management in Manitoba. Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy). University of Manitoba, Department of Graduate Studies. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 378 p.

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Footnote 400

Hertlein, L. 1999. Lake Winnipeg regulation Churchill-Nelson river diversion project in the Crees of northern Manitoba, Canada. World Commission on Dams. Cape Town, South Africa. 28 p.

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Footnote 401

Bomberry, D. and Bianchi, E. 2004. Our waters, our responsibility: Indigenous water rights. Anglican Church of Canada, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. Pinawa, Manitoba. 38 p.

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Theme: Habitat, Wildlife, and Ecosystem Processes

Intact landscapes and waterscapes 

 
Theme Habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes

Intact landscapes and waterscapes was initially identified as a nationally recurring key finding and information was subsequently compiled and assessed for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. In the final version of the national report,Footnote6 information related to intact landscapes and waterscapes was incorporated into other key findings. This information is maintained as a separate key finding for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

As of 2006, 64% of the total area of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ was composed of intact terrestrial landscape fragments larger than 10 km2 (Figure 74). A terrestrial landscape fragment is defined as a contiguous mosaic, naturally occurring and essentially undisturbed by significant human influence. It is a mosaic of various natural ecosystem including forest, bog, water, tundra and rock outcrops. Most of these fragments were north of the limit of managed forest.Footnote11 Fragmented landscapes are a result of forest harvesting, roads, mining, dams and reservoirs, power lines, and industrial development.

Figure 74. Intact terrestrial landscape fragments larger than 10 km2 (shown in green) in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ as of 2006.

map
Source: Lee et al., 2006Footnote11

Long Description for Figure 74

This map of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ shows that the northern half of the ecozone is primarily comprised of landscape fragments larger than 10 km2. The southern half of the ecozone+ is characterised by smaller and more sparsely distributed landscape fragments.

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Nearly 10% of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ was under active mining claims in 2006,Footnote402 although much of this is unlikely to become an active mine. Mines fragment the landscape due to the infrastructure and road development required to service them. Mining is the principal industry in northern Saskatchewan and there are six uranium mines and two gold developments within the Saskatchewan portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. The uranium facilities in the eastern portion of the Athabasca Basin produce 17% of the world's uranium supply.Footnote403 As of September 2012, 55,000 km2 were under disposition for mineral exploration in Saskatchewan.Footnote403 There are eight operating mines within the Manitoba portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, two for gold and six for base metals.Footnote404 Northern Ontario has an active mining history, particularly in Greater Sudbury.Footnote23 The number of staked claims increased by 500% from 1998 to 2008, especially in the region called the "Far North" in Ontario which includes the Boreal Shield and Hudson Plains ecozones+ (Figure 75).Footnote405 Gold and copper are mined in the northwest part of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in Quebec. Minerals and other metals are mined in the east (iron in Fermont and niobium near Chicoutimi and Sept-Îles) and the three largest open pit mines are in Abitibi.Footnote406

Figure 75. Area of claims staked in the 'Far North' region of Ontario, 1998 and 2008.

Note: The Boreal Shield and Hudson Plains ecozones+ split the staked area in red almost evenly.

map
Source: Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, 2009Footnote405

Long Description for Figure 75

This figure represents two maps of the 'Far North' region of Ontario, and shows the distribution of staked claims as of December 31, 1998, and September 21, 2008. Claims in 1998 totalled 1,334 and covered an area of 365 km2, and claims in 2008 totalled 7,766 and covered an area of 14,365 km2. In both maps, the areas of claims are concentrated in the middle of the Far North region.

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Dams and reservoirs alter the physical landscape, interrupt hydrological regimes, and the process of impoundment introduces contaminants that can accumulate along the food chain. More specifically, dams interrupt fish migration, increase sedimentation, affect habitat for many species, and change water levels and water chemistry.Footnote155 The degree of impact depends on the size of the dams, their operation, and the ecosystems’ biophysical characteristics.Footnote156, Footnote157 However, dams can be operated to emulate natural hydrological regimes and mitigate adverse effects.Footnote158

Dams are more common in the southeastern portion of the ecozone+ (Figure 23).Footnote159 Most dams (79%) were constructed between 1920 and 1969 (Figure 24) and many are approaching the end of their productive lives.Footnote12, Footnote159

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

As of 2006, 57% of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ was composed of intact "terrestrial landscape fragments" (contiguous blocks of forest, bog, water, tundra and rock outcrops of more than 10 km2) (Figure 76).Footnote11

Figure 76. Intact terrestrial landscape fragments larger than 10 km2 (shown in green) in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ as of 2006.

map
Source: Lee et al., 2006Footnote11

Long Description for Figure 76

This map of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ shows that intact terrestrial landscape fragments larger than 10 km2 are well distributed across the ecozone+, and are especially dense along the southern coast. The area with the least amount of intact fragments is the central-northern coast of the ecozone+.

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Agricultural landscapes as habitat

Key finding 16
Theme Habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes

National key finding
The potential capacity of agricultural landscapes to support wildlife in Canada has declined over the past 20 years, largely due to the intensification of agriculture and the loss of natural and semi-natural land cover.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Agricultural land in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is limited to a few areas of suitable soil quality and microclimate. From 1986 to 2006, approximately 1,930 km2 were removed from the agricultural land base, leaving just over 130,000 km2 of farmland (1% of the ecozone+) (Figure 77).Footnote18 Where farmland occurs, it is well dispersed among forested areas. Thus, the impact of agricultural land on wildlife at the ecozone+ scale is low.

Figure 77. Percentage of land defined as agricultural in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 2006.

Soil Landscapes of Canada polygons were the base unit used for this analysis.

map
Source: Javorek and Grant, 2011Footnote18

Long Description for Figure 77

This map shows the distribution of agricultural land in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 2006. The land identified as agricultural occurs primarily in the southeastern portion of the ecozone+. Of this, the majority is 0-10% agricultural. There are traces of land identified as 10-20%, and a small amount in the eastern part of the ecozone+ identified as 40-50%. A very small amount northwest of Lake of the Woods is 90-100%.

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Wildlife habitat capacity

The Wildlife Habitat Capacity on Agricultural Indicator, an agri-environmental indicator developed and tracked by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, provides a multi-species assessment of broad-scale trends in the potential of the Canadian agricultural landscape to provide habitat for terrestrial vertebrates.Footnote18 The index rates the value of each cover type for 588 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.Footnote18 A total of 349 species (249 birds, 60 mammals, 21 reptiles, and 19 amphibians) used agricultural land in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. The 15 land-cover types were based on the Canadian Census of Agriculture (Figure 78).Footnote407 Overall, cropland is a minor land cover in the Boreal Shield amounting to only 0.3% of the land area. This 0.3% excludes "All Other Land", "Tame Hay", "Unimproved Pasture", and "Improved Pasture" to leave only the cropland categories in Figure 78. "All Other Land" was the most important land cover category for wildlife in Canada that use farmland. This category included wetlands (with margins, without margins and open water), riparian (woody, herbaceous and crop), shelterbelts (including natural hedgerows), woodland (with interior, without interior, plantation), and idle land/old field, and anthropogenic land (farm buildings, green houses, lanes). In the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, "All Other Land" provided both breeding and feeding habitat for 85% (298) of the species that use farmland (Figure 78). However, cover in this important wildlife habitat category declined from 40 to 30% from 1986 to 2006 (Figure 78). "Unimproved Pasture" provided both breeding and feeding habitat for 17% (59) of the species and at least a single habitat requirement for 32% (112 species) (Figure 78). Only 13%  (46 species) could fulfill both breeding and feeding habitat needs entirely on cropland and 26% (89 species) could use these cover types for a single habitat requirement (Figure 78). Therefore, maintaining heterogeneous agricultural landscapes benefits wildlife because wildlife may breed in one land cover type but feed in another.Footnote18

Figure 78. Total agricultural area, the amount of land per cover type (chart), and the relative percentage of each cover type (table) for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 1986, 1996, and 2006.

graph
Source: Javorek and Grant, 2011Footnote18

Long Description for Figure 78

This bar graph and table show the total agricultural area, the amount of land per cover type, and the relative percentage of each cover type for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 1986, 1996, and 2006.

The bar graph shows the following information:

Total agricultural area, the amount of land per cover type (chart), and the relative percentage of each cover type (table) for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 1986, 1996, and 2006.
Type1986 - hectares1996 - hectares2006 - hectares
Oilseeds15,82118,24320,651
Pulses2,1561,7141,708
Soybeans1841,49713,225
Berries1,7469,14312,587
Improved Pasture139,38692,293103,633
All Other Land610,541532,420402,249
Summerfallow30,24612,9706,228
Unimproved Pasture259,705274,554203,724
Cereals133,047139,705140,119
Corn14,35312,11420,388
Tame Hay297,201366,020379,451
Other Crops7,59011,28510,030
Fruit Trees132188309
Vegetables1,4451,7931,963
Winter Cereals1,7921,2875,679

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Wildlife habitat capacity on farmland in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ declined significantly (ANOVA: F=88.6, Tukey HSD p=0.0001) from "high" (79.7 ± 13.4) in 1986 to "moderate" (63.8 ± 14.4) in 2006 (Figure 78). From 1986 to 2006, habitat capacity decreased on 71% of farmland, increased on 6% and was constant on 23% (ANOVA, Tukey HSD p<0.05, Figure 79).

Figure 79. The share of agricultural land in each habitat capacity category (left axis, stacked bars) and the average habitat capacity (right axis, points and line) for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 1986, 1996, and 2006.

Years with different letters indicate a statistically significant difference (p<0.05).

graph
Source: Javorek and Grant, 2011Footnote18

Long Description for Figure 79

This stacked bar graph shows the following information:

The share of agricultural land in each habitat capacity category (left axis, stacked bars) and the average habitat capacity (right axis, points and line) for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ in 1986, 1996, and 2006.
Habitat capacity category198619962006
<20000
20-30000.19
30-402.924.13.18
40-504.018.418.54
50-6014.1913.7729.58
60-705.3821.2311.7
70-8032.3621.6520.63
80-9028.9323.7813.98
90-1009.66.441.31
>1002.620.620.87

Share of agricultural land per habitat capacity category (percentage)

Habitat capacity Categories
QualityPercentage
Very high90 to 100
High70-90
Moderate50-70
Low30-50
Very low<20-30

The average habitat capacity for the Ecozone+ was 79.70 in 1986, 76.53 in 1996 and 63.87 in 2006.

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Figure 80. Changes in wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1986 to 2006.

graph
Source: Javorek and Grant, 2011Footnote18

Long Description for Figure 80

Cette carte de l’écozone+ du Bouclier boréal montre qu’entre 1986 et 2006, la capacité de l’habitat faunique a diminué dans de grandes zones de la partie sud de l’écozone+, en particulier dans le sud-est. De plus petites zones de capacité accrue sont également trouvées au sud-est, et des zones où la capacité demeure constante sont situées au nord du lac Huron.

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Trends for three ecoregions with higher agriculture production in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are as follows: the Central Laurentians had the largest decline in habitat capacity (78% to 59%); the Southern Laurentians had the second largest decline (83% to 74%); and finally Lake of the Woods declined from 58% to 51% (Figure 80). Lake of the Woods consistently recorded the lowest habitat capacity primarily due to its small and declining share of "All Other Land" (23% to 17%). In comparison, "All Other Land" in the Central Laurentians declined from 37% to 26% and from 46% to 39% in the Southern Laurentians. As the agricultural footprint shrank in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, the cover of cropland expanded from 32% to 43% (Figure 78). This was primarily due to a 9% increase in "Tame Hay" from 1986 to 2006 (Figure 78). These factors combined to reduce wildlife habitat capacity on farmland from high to moderate over the  20-year period (Figure 79). This loss of wildlife habitat capacity was correlated with declines in the landbirds that use these habitats (see the Birds section on page 129).

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Birds of open habitat

Birds of open habitat are a minor part of the avifauna, located mainly in the southern part of the ecozone+. With the exception of Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), most open habitat bird species are declining (Table 20). Declines in swallows and common nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) are consistent with a general decline in aerial insectivores throughout Canada.Footnote76

Table 20. Trends in abundance (% change/year) and reliability of the trend in birds of open habitats in the Ontario and Quebec portions of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1970 to 2012.
SpeciesBCR 8 Annual TrendBCR 8 ReliabilityBCR 12 Annual TrendBCR 12 Reliability
American kestrel (Falco sparverius)-0.93Low-1.33High
Bank swallow (Riparia riparia)-7.23Low-12.6Medium
Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica)-4.32Low-6.17Medium
Brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater)-7.54Medium-7.86High
Cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)-6.96Low-8.62High
Common nighthawk (Chordeiles minor)-1.76Low-5.76Medium
Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) - -1.64Medium
Eastern kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus)-1.28Low-3.75Medium
Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)-3.39Low-4.98High

These data only include the Ontario and Quebec portions of Bird Conservation Region 8 and 12. Only the northern half of BCR 12 falls within the ecozone+, so these data exceed the boundaries of the ecozone+.Footnote86

Source: Environment Canada, 2014 Footnote79

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

The Agricultural Landscapes as Habitat key finding was not relevant for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ due to the small amount of agricultural land in the ecozone+.

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Species of special economic, cultural, or ecological interest

Key finding 17
Theme Habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes

National key finding
Many species of amphibians, fish, birds, and large mammals are of special economic, cultural, or ecological interest to Canadians. Some of these are declining in number and distribution, some are stable, and others are healthy or recovering.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

The highest species richness is found in the southernmost region of this ecozone+, east of Georgian Bay, with over 200 bird species and 60 tree species.Footnote408 Species richness declines progressively northwards, with a notable reduction at the limit of managed forests, especially for mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.Reference 11 Footnote408

There are few population surveys of species of special interest in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Trends can be derived from commercial or recreational harvests of furbearing species (Figure 72), but these carry biases due to fluctuations in markets and hunter effort. There are major gaps for fish, reptiles, and amphibians.

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Birds

Estimates of bird assemblages were based on an ecozone+ -scale analysis (1968-2006) of the North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS).Footnote76

Landbirds

Much of the data collected by the BBS in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ is from the southern shield portion of Ontario and Quebec. The BBS covers agricultural areas in the region relatively well because they tend to be accessible by roads.Footnote76 Declines were significant for shrub/successional birds and urban birds (0.7% decline/yr), birds of other open habitat (4% decline/yr), and grassland birds (2.5% decline/yr) (Figure 81). Trends for wetland landbirds were not calculated because few landbirds fit cleanly into this assemblage and the BBS does not cover wetland habitat well. The forest birds assemblage shows close to stable populations, although trends of individual species within this group range from large declines to large increases.Footnote76 Declines in birds, especially songbirds, have also been noted by Aboriginal elders from the western Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote4

Figure 81. Percent change in the average relative abundance of bird assemblages in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ between the 1970s and 2000-2006.

p is the statistical significance: * indicates p <0.05; n indicates 0.05<p<0.1; no value indicates not significant.

graph
Source: Downes et al., 2011Footnote76 using data from the Breeding Bird SurveyFootnote409

Long Description for Figure 81

This bar graph shows the following information:

Percent change in the average relative abundance of bird assemblages in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ between the 1970s and 2000-2006.
Bird assemblages in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ Percent change
Forest Birds-11
Shrub/Successional-21
Grassland Birds-55
Open/Agricultural-74
Urban/Suburban-17

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Forest birds

Forest bird populations as an assemblage were relatively stable (Figure 82), though individual species show a mix of increasing, declining, and stable populations (Table 6). See the Forest birds section.

Figure 82. Change in annual abundance index for forest birds in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1968 to 2006.

graph
Source: Downes et al, 2011Footnote76 based on data from the Breeding Bird SurveyFootnote409

Long Description for Figure 82

This line graph shows the following information:

Change in annual abundance index for forest birds in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1968 to 2006.
YearAbundance Index
1968158.6
1969196.9
1970193.1
1971229.6
1972204.5
1973206.4
1974195.9
1975220.1
1976206.3
1977216.9
1978192.9
1979213.9
1980209.7
1981203.1
1982200.9
1983211.1
1984220.4
1985226.4
1986196.8
1987222.0
1988223.2
1989223.5
1990216.9
1991193.4
1992199.5
1993213.0
1994198.3
1995227.0
1996201.1
1997210.1
1998207.2
1999199.0
2000191.7
2001212.2
2002183.3
2003191.8
2004163.2
2005167.2
2006193.1

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Birds of shrub/early successional habitats

The assemblage of birds in early successional habitat, such as old fields and regenerating forests, are declining (Figure 83). White-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are declining at a greater rate in the south of the ecozone+ (-0.49 in BCR 12, which includes the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+ ) relative to the north (-0.25 in BCR 8) according to the BBS. Likewise, the CBC shows a decline in the south of its winter range and an increase in the north, suggesting a northward shift in their wintering distribution.Footnote410

Figure 83. Change in annual abundance index for birds of shrub/successional habitats in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1968 to 2006.

graph
Source: Downes et al., 2011Footnote76 based on data from the Breeding Bird SurveyFootnote409

Long Description for Figure 83

This line graph shows the following information:

Change in annual abundance index for birds of shrub/successional habitats in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1968 to 2006.
YearAbundance Index
1968133.0
1969176.3
1970164.9
1971189.6
1972179.3
1973160.0
1974164.9
1975181.6
1976161.0
1977154.2
1978141.7
1979146.4
1980142.9
1981135.3
1982136.0
1983145.8
1984152.9
1985148.2
1986139.4
1987152.1
1988140.1
1989140.2
1990143.8
1991130.7
1992137.6
1993152.3
1994133.1
1995148.9
1996131.0
1997141.0
1998142.5
1999127.1
2000122.4
2001136.7
2002133.4
2003139.8
2004117.6
2005116.9
2006141.0

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Birds of other open habitats

Birds in the other open habitat assemblage show the largest overall decline of all assemblages in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, with declines mainly apparent since the late 1980s (Figure 84). Many of these species historically occurred in the ecozone+ only in small numbers. Land clearing for agriculture created more habitat and populations increased. Declines since the mid-1980s may be a reflection of the loss of this habitat through reforestation of abandoned farmland in some parts of this ecozone+.Footnote411 Increased agriculture also resulted in a loss of wildlife habitat capacity between 1986 and 2006 (see the Wildlife habitat capacity indicator on page 125).

Figure 84. Change in annual abundance index for birds of other open habitats in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1968 to 2006.

graph
Source: Downes et al., 2011Footnote76 based on data from the Breeding Bird SurveyFootnote409

Long Description for Figure 84

This line graph shows the following information:

Change in annual abundance index for birds of other open habitats in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ from 1968 to 2006.
YearAbundance Index
196832.4
196935.2
197034.4
197135.1
197239.7
197336.4
197439.3
197547.0
197646.8
197746.2
197854.4
197948.3
198043.1
198140.7
198245.5
198346.5
198436.9
198549.3
198638.8
198744.7
198847.7
198931.4
199034.4
199125.7
199223.9
199323.5
199420.0
199520.5
199618.8
199717.9
199815.8
199914.7
200014.7
200113.1
20029.3
200310.8
20049.5
200510.6
20069.3

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Woodland caribou (boreal population)

Woodland caribou, boreal population (i.e., boreal caribou) was listed as Threatened under the Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2003.Footnote412 The classification of caribou used in this report follows the current Species at Risk Act (SARA) classification system. In 2011, COSEWIC adopted 12 designatable units for caribou in Canada that will be used in caribou assessments and subsequent listing decisions under SARA beginning in 2014. This section on boreal caribou is based on the 2011 Scientific Assessment to Inform the Identification of Critical HabitatFootnote413 and the  2012 Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), boreal population in Canada.Footnote414 The information in this report has been updated since the release of the ESTR national thematic report, Woodland caribou, boreal population, trends in Canada.Footnote415

Boreal caribou are forest-dwelling, sedentary caribou that occur only in Canada and are distributed broadly across the boreal forest.Footnote416,Footnote417 The distribution of boreal caribou in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ stretches from the Richardson range in the northeast corner of Alberta, east to the Mealy Mountain local population in Labrador, and extends as far south as the Coastal local population at Lake Superior in OntarioReference 413 Footnote418 (Figure 85). Across Canada, the southern limit of boreal caribou distribution has receded northward since the early 1900s, a trend that continues today.Footnote413 Footnote416Footnote417 Footnote419 Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge indicates that boreal caribou have moved northward as a result of habitat loss in the south.Footnote414

Across the Boreal Shield Ecozone +, logging and other industrial disturbances affect boreal caribou through a combination of habitat loss, habitat degradations, and the development of linear features such as roads and seismic lines.Footnote420 These habitat alterations resulted in increased early seral-stage forest and promoted higher densities of moose and white-tailed deer. These "alternate prey" support higher predator densities, especially wolvesFootnote413, Footnote420 Footnote421 Footnote422 Footnote423 Footnote424 Footnote425 Footnote426 Footnote427 and the primary proximate limiting factor for boreal caribou is predation.Footnote428

Boreal caribou may therefore be indicators of the health of boreal forest ecosystems. Boreal caribou depend on large patches of mature coniferous forests to reduce the risk of predation. These patches allow boreal caribou to maintain low population densities and avoid areas of high predation risk.Footnote413 Footnote418-Footnote420 Footnote429 Footnote430 Footnote431 Footnote432 Late-successional coniferous forests and peatlands function as refugia for caribou, away from high densities of predators and their alternate prey.Footnote413, Footnote424, Footnote433 Footnote434 Footnote435 Footnote436

The Boreal Shield Ecozone+ includes 29 boreal caribou local populations (or portions thereof) (see Figure 2 in Callaghan et al. 2011).Footnote415 Based on caribou surveys and expert opinion, 1 local population is increasing, 5 are declining, 13 are stable, and the status of 10 are not available (Figure 85). The boreal caribou's contiguous range has retracted northwards and its southern boundary generally corresponds to the northern limit of forest harvesting.Footnote413 Footnote419 Footnote437 The Coastal local population is located south of this boundary.Footnote413, Footnote415 In 2012, fewer than 10 caribou were thought to remain in Pukaskwa National Park, ON.Footnote438 The feasibility of translocations to augment caribou populations is being explored for Ontario.Footnote439, Footnote440 The southern populations are also most at risk of meningeal brainworm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) because white-tailed deer are advancing north and into the southern range of caribou. Deer are vectors of this brainworm, which is fatal for caribou but not deer.Reference 413 Footnote429 Actions in Ontario's Woodland Caribou Conservation Plan include expanding deer hunting seasons in northern Ontario to help slow deer range expansion.Footnote439

Although the trend of most caribou populations in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are stable or not available,Reference 413 Footnote415 many of these are thought to be not self-sustaining or as likely as not self-sustaining, according to the Recovery Strategy risk assessment. Footnote414  The Richardson, Kississing, Naosap, Sydney, Kesagami, Charlevoix, Pipmuacan and Val d'Or  local populations are not self-sustaining  and the Manitoba North, Owl-Flinstone, Berens, Manouane and Lac Joseph local populations are as likely as not self-sustaining due to habitat loss from industrial activities, natural disturbances such as wildfire, human recreational activities, and illegal hunting.Reference 414 Footnote441, Footnote442 The decline of the Val d'Or sub-population, estimated at 30 individuals in 2012, was also attributed to habitat loss and degradation from mining and forestry.Reference 414 Footnote418 Hunting, facilitated by roads and off-road vehicles, may be the most significant threat to boreal caribou in Labrador (e.g., Red Wine Mountain).Footnote413, Footnote443

Stable or increasing local populations occur in areas with little industrial activity or where predators are controlled. For example, the Charlevoix local population in Quebec was estimated at 10,000 animals before the 19th century, but declined rapidly due to hunting and lichen harvest. Following a report of a caribou harvested in 1914, the herd was soon extinct. The first release occurred in 1969 as part of reintroduction program initiated in 1967. The herd's population was considered stable at 75 individuals in 2012.Footnote413-Footnote415, Footnote444

Figure 85. Estimated population statusStatus of local boreal caribou local populations in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 2009.

map
Source: updated from Callaghan et al., 2011Footnote415 based on Environment Canada, 2012Footnote414

Long Description for Figure 85

This map shows the estimated population status of local boreal caribou local populations in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ for 2009. The distribution of boreal caribou in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ stretches from the Richardson range in the northeast corner of Alberta, east to the Mealy Mountain local population in Labrador, and extends as far south as the Coastal local population at Lake Superior in Ontario. Based on caribou surveys and expert opinion, 1 local population is increasing (Manicouagan), 5 are declining (Mealy Mountain, Red Wine Mountain, Lac Joseph, Val d'Or and Kesagami), 16 are stable (Quebec, Manouane, Pipmucan, Charlevoix, Nipigon, Sydney, Owl-Flinstone, Atikaki-Berens, North Interlake, The Bog, William Lake, Wabowden, Wapisu, Reed, Naosap and Kississing), and the status of 10, mostly located in the west of the ecozone+, are not available.

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Fish

The number of freshwater and diadromous fish taxa classified as imperiled in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ doubled from 1979 to 2008 (Table 21). However, the status of two taxa also improved over this period.Footnote445 Also, earlier lists did not include geographic sub-populations such as striped bass (Morone saxatilis). The main threats to the 14 imperiled fish taxa in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ include habitat degradation and loss, over-exploitation, invasive species, and competition.Reference 445 Most of the extinct species inhabited the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ as well as the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+, where there is a long history of invasive species and pollution.Footnote446

Table 21. Identification of imperiled freshwater and diadromous fish taxa in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.
Common name197919892008
Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus)Vulnerable (V)VV
Aurora trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) -Note a of Table 21(E) EndangeredNote a of Table 21E
Blackfin cisco (Coregonus nigripinnis)ENote a of Table 21(X) ExtinctNote a of Table 21X
Bridle shiner (Notropis bifrenatus) - -Note a of Table 21VNote a of Table 21
Copper redhorse (Moxostoma hubbsi)(T) ThreatenedTNote a of Table 21ENote a of Table 21
Deepwater cisco (Coregonus johannae)ENote a of Table 21XNote a of Table 21X
Greater redhorse (Moxostoma valenciennesi) - -Note a of Table 21VNote a of Table 21
Lake sturgeon (Acipenser fluvescens)TTNote b of Table 21VNote b of Table 21
Nipigon blackfin cisco (Coregonus nigripinnis regalis) - -Note a of Table 21TNote a of Table 21
Redside dace (Clinostomus elongates) - -Note a of Table 21VNote a of Table 21
Shortjaw cisco (Coregonus zenithicus)EENote b of Table 21TNote b of Table 21
Shortnose cisco (Coregonus reighardi)EENote a of Table 21XNote a of Table 21
Spring cisco (Coregonus sp.) - -Note a of Table 21VNote a of Table 21
Striped bass (St. Lawrence Estuary population) (Morone saxtilis) - -Note a of Table 21XNote a of Table 21

X are 'Extinct', E are 'Endangered', T are 'Threatened', and V are 'Vulnerable'; as defined in Jelks et al.Footnote445.

Source: adapted from Jelks et al., 2008Footnote445

Notes of Table 21

Note [a] of Table 21

Uplisting

Return to note a referrer of table 21

Note [b] of Table 21

Downlisting

Return to note b referrer of table 21

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Carnivorous mammals and furbearers

Population estimates for carnivorous mammals and furbearers were limited, localized, or inconsistent at the ecozone+ scale. Many of these species are important socioeconomically for meat, fur, or wildlife viewing (also see the Ecosystem services key findings on page 118), and so some provinces have long-term data from hunters and trapper harvests (Figure 86) that may be used to infer population trends. However, these data cannot necessarily be a reliable estimate of populations because hunter and trapper effort is biased and dependent on socio-economic factors.Footnote448 Also, trappers/hunters do not "sample" animals randomly; weather and ease of trapping/hunting also influence trapper effort. Furthermore, given that hunting, trapping, and fishing are activities that result in the direct mortality of the focal species, using these data to estimate population trends is problematic. Finally, yields of trapped furs declined by over 50% in the 1980s, especially muskrat furs (Figure 86), as a result of changes to trapping methods. The Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) was ratified by Canada in 1999 and implementation of standards was completed in 2007.Footnote396 Therefore, population estimates should not be deduced from trap/harvest data and these data are presented for interest only. Possible noteworthy trends include the return of wolverines to their historic range and a national decline in wild mink populations.

Figure 86. Total number of pelts from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan by type of wildlife from 1970 to 2009.

These province-wide data exceed the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ boundaries.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2009Footnote395

Long Description for Figure 86

This bar graph shows the following information:

Total number of pelts from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan by type of wildlife from 1970 to 2009.
 YearBadger - Number of peltsBlack bear - Number of peltsCoyote - Number of peltsErmine - Number of peltsFox - Number of peltsMuskrat - Number of peltsOtter - Number of peltsRabbit - Number of peltsRaccoon - Number of peltsSkunk - Number of peltsSquirrel - Number of peltsBobcat - Number of pelts
19701,10230110,22511,7809,798259,57491016,49917411123,02237
19711,12533316,9998,65115,236386,3685739,8742908102,39042
19722,04654526,56416,89817,725278,9871,0586,8819986163,6253
19732,44260424,8539,07223,785119,6096948,4609661142,83723
19741,15639811,76814,4619,167239,1715762,9655810104,31820
19752,35069616,68418,39617,139455,0129206481,3038116,30429
19763,57851816,82622,62314,180609,6801,0001,0933,47952124,41039
19772,54135419,76210,56217,039198,2281,1312713,190370,56912
19783,92036324,01513,26122,508151,5471,3583494,1192101,65336
19794,13537914,01320,58617,146299,4931,4953,8204,983107259,37131
19801,95941812,86315,34914,789399,6151,3031,8843,94746188,59212
19812,46425519,8159,06119,335136,9159773,9943,5161769,6427
19822,28831219,0596,65015,198106,83597602,856452,24326
19831,52139515,67710,41012,943126,8071,00502,3841251,22824
19841,76427225,44614,97718,100131,8111,06303,2891247,86023
198599737817,5889,70712,009169,2181,67202,2302242,85815
19861,23534521,15911,59715,274225,8822,14103,2563926,96729
19871,15225018,64815,69417,147246,5931,39903,135587,32924
19885741748,9029,0677,70046,3337270970927,52818
19893031785,4183,2294,95530,337728051609,99513
19901912685,1281,5094,60525,44242300006
19913312599,5863,1077,17820,4291,035056509,26113
19922243027,5983,2994,55714,316796046455,5739
19932512768,4172,8173,69623,8741,2160577412,35613
19943711109,8154,9114,48853,3301,45408393110,15814
19954261008,2763,3093,18070,3221,0760765169,3109
199627210014,9193,8733,672112,4621,17501,0901315,99511
19972061039,0583,4312,413100,2001,30501,2213126,88712
1998121588,4722,2841,63323,5771,0270770398,1169
19991906913,3392,2522,07824,3771,0210994237,47617
200020424218,1871,4332,94418,6911,3650934184,05512
200123715118,8431,8623,40122,5591,43331,182259,92410
2002000000000000
20037189735,5111,9385,6438,4701,11502,077316,6658
200423312019,5971,3002,88413,28072001,082203,8068
20053037316,5651,3562,19323,1597280864153,0792
20064984828,8034,8133,54245,42135601,159573,2069
20074505126,8492,8282,31222,246265 1,224493,3672
20083365117,7232,1551,77718,956450 900642,47217
20092494514,2071,3861,17316,291391 509443,2704

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Wolverines have large home ranges and low lifetime reproductive rates, similar to larger carnivores.Footnote449 Footnote450 Based on the number of harvested wolverine pelts, significant (p<0.05) population declines occurred in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Quebec (Figure 87). The last wolverine pelt was harvested in Quebec in 1979 (Figure 87).

Figure 87. Number of wolverines harvested by trappers per year in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec from 1970 to 2009.

These province-wide data exceed the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ boundaries.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2009Footnote395

Long Description for Figure 87

This line graph shows the following information:

Number of wolverines harvested by trappers per year in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec from 1970 to 2009.
YearSaskatchewan - Number of peltsManitoba - Number of peltsOntario - Number of peltsQuebec - Number of pelts
1970223714
1971154003
1972198600
19732476114
19742260113
197583103
1976213666
19773645113
19782874186
19793210391
1980299490
198133128220
198222141260
19832567110
1984239290
1985299490
198610111120
19871358150
19881350100
1989103190
199062950
1991167370
199224840
1993127660
1994115280
1995745180
19961446140
19971066120
199843340
199961840
2000235370
2001143970
200203980
2003184360
20041848110
2005143260
2006182420
2007102580
2008185570
2009113910

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Although there were no detectable trends for wolverine in Ontario, their distribution retracted by more than 5% since the mid-1800s. The species was extirpated from the Great Lakes region of Ontario and Minnesota by 1900.Footnote451 Human activities including land clearing, development, timber harvesting, and mining were primarily responsible for these range retractions.Footnote452 Based on observations in 2008, wolverines re-colonized some of their former range in the Hudson Bay area and the central portion of Ontario's far north (Figure 88).

Figure 88. Historic and "current" (2003) range of wolverine in North America.

map
Source: Adapted from COSEWIC, 2003Footnote452

Long Description for Figure 88

This map of Canada and the United States compares the current and historical range of wolverine in North America. Their current range stretches across Canada until just east of James Bay, and the central portion of Ontario's far north. Their historic range was further south, including the northern United States, as well as Ontario and Quebec.

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The decline of trapped wild mink (Figure 89) could reflect a true population decline. Matings between wild and feral mink escaped from fur farms has resulted in less fit offspring (out-breeding depression) and perhaps an increased incidence of disease.Footnote453 Mercury poisoning may also contribute to declining mink populations (see the Contaminants key finding on page 93).Footnote454

Figure 89. Numbers of wild mink trapped in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan from 1970 to 2009.

These province-wide data exceed the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ boundaries.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2009Footnote395

Long Description for Figure 89

This line graph shows the following information:

Numbers of wild mink trapped in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan from 1970 to 2009.
YearNumber of mink pelts
197047,847
197151,775
197273,679
197351,079
197447,448
197552,672
197684,021
197776,990
197875,475
197991,672
198083,963
198170,482
198252,099
198339,920
198446,208
198566,682
198671,018
198788,433
198865,469
198951,873
199030,189
199132,140
199225,154
199325,146
199428,128
199519,642
199625,108
199732,510
199830,578
199928,153
200019,062
200125,170
200221,115
200323,438
200416,109
200518,068
200620,972
200720,008
200816,397
200913,229

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Woodland caribou (Newfoundland population)

The insular Newfoundland caribou population is one of the six geographically distinct populations of the forest-dwelling woodland caribou.Footnote414  Caribou populations in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ have been declining since the mid to late 1990s (Figure 90), but are not designated as "at-risk" by COSEWIC.Footnote414  Population numbers are higher than in the 1950s.Footnote455 Between the early 1900s and the 1930s, caribou declined from an estimated 40,000 animals to just a few thousand animals, where the population size remained until the mid-1970s. A phase of rapid population growth began in the mid-1960s and continued until the late 1990s when the population peaked at 80,000 to 100,000.Footnote456 From an estimated peak of over 95,000 caribou in 1997, the population declined to about 32,000 in 2008, representing a decrease of approximately 66%.

Studies on caribou mortality by the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife DivisionReference 455 show high percentages of calves being lost to coyotes, black bears (Ursus americanus), and to a lesser extent, lynx (Lynx canadensis). Adult caribou are also susceptible to coyote predation in winter.

Another stressor on caribou is cerebrospinal elaphostrongylosis (CSE), a disease caused by the introduced parasitic nematode Elaphostrongylus rangiferi.Footnote457 The parasite spread to native caribou after introduction from infected reindeer in 1908, with at least two outbreaks since then.Reference 457 Elaphostrongylus rangiferi has been implicated in the decrease in the Avalon caribou sub-population on the east coast of Newfoundland, a decline from 7,000 to 2,500 animals between 1998 and 2000.Footnote458

Figure 90. Population estimates for insular Newfoundland caribou, 1952–2008.

graph
Source: Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Division, 2009Footnote455

Long Description for Figure 90

This line graph shows the population estimates for insular Newfoundland caribou between 1952 and 2008. The graph depicts a gradual increase in population from less than 5,000 in 1952 to a peak of 95,810 in 1997, representing an increase of 311%. The population then declined steadily to approximately 32,000 in 2007, representing a 66% decline in 11 years.

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Newfoundland marten

The Newfoundland marten (Martes americana atrata), restricted to the island of Newfoundland, is a genetically and geographically distinct population of the American marten (Martes americana), and 1 of only 14 native mammals found on the island.Footnote459 The Newfoundland marten is part of the natural biological diversity of the boreal forest and functions as both a predator and prey species. Harvested by European settlers, marten were scarce by the early 1900s and their commercial harvest ended in 1934. Despite this harvest restriction, numbers continued to decline and, by 1960, the distribution of marten across west-central Newfoundland was no longer contiguous.Footnote460

Loss of habitat and accidental snaring and trapping are the primary threats to marten in Newfoundland. Newfoundland marten are a forest-dependent species. Thus loss of forest cover from resource extraction activities (timber harvesting, mining), human development (road construction, agriculture, townsite expansion) or natural disturbance events (e.g., forest fire) have a direct influence on the capacity of an area to support marten.Footnote461

Accidental snaring and trapping is currently viewed as a significant threat impeding recovery. HearnFootnote462 monitored 95 marten in an area open to snaring and trapping in south-central Newfoundland and reported that accidental captures accounted for 92% of juvenile mortality and a minimum of 58% of adult mortality. Incidental captures returned to the Newfoundland and Labrador Wildlife Division indicate that this problem is pervasive and occurs across the entire range of marten on the island. Other threats to individual survival include natural predation and disease.

Originally designated as Threatened by COSEWIC in 1985, Newfoundland marten were re-evaluated in 1995 and 2000 and subsequently listed as Endangered.Footnote463 The distribution of breeding animals was limited to Little Grand Lake/Red Indian Lake, the Main River watershed, and Terra Nova National Park. In 2007, the effective (breeding) population was estimated to be between 286 and 556 individuals. There was also qualitative information to suggest that the population was expanding; consequently, marten were down-listed to Threatened in 2007.Reference 463

Freshwater and diadromous fish

Two fish species that are found in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ have been assessed for listing under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). Banded killifish (Fundulus diaphanus) was designated as a Species of Special Concern in 2003 and was subsequently listed under SARA.Footnote464 Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) was designated as Threatened by COSEWIC in 20114Reference 45 but has not yet been listed under SARA.

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Plants

There are about 20,000 km2 of heath in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, comprising the largest tract of this type of vegetation in North America.Footnote465 Data on the condition and extent of these communities are limited. The six heath types include: alpine, empetrum, moss, kalmia, limestone, and serpentine (Table 22).

Table 22. Descriptions of heath types in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+
Heath TypeDescriptionLocation
AlpineDiscontinuous vegetation consisting of bare soil alternating with cushions of Empetrum eamesii. The vegetation is characterized by the occurrence of arctic-alpine species.Highest mountain ridges or extremely exposed headlands of the south coast.
EmpetrumDominated by vegetation carpets of rockberry and crowberry (Empetrum spp.). Woody species are compressed into vegetation cushions. Grasses and herbs, when present, project 10–20 cm above ground.Footnote465Coastal headlands and inland ridges.
MossSimilar to Empetrum heath except that Racomitrium lanuginsum is the dominant vegetation.Extreme southeast coast of the ecozone+ as well as locally on the Isthmus of Avalon.Footnote92
KalmiaThese heaths are dominated by dwarf ericaceous dwarf shrubs, primarily sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia), which form dense closed thickets approximately 30–50 cm high. Mosses and lichens dominate the ground surface.Footnote92 Small areas of Kalmia heath occur naturally in tree-line ecotones.Footnote465 Most large areas of Kalmia heath originated following repeated low intensity fires and local cutting around coastal communities has contributed to expansion of smaller Kalmia heaths.Sheltered inland areas throughout the ecozone+.
Limestone

The limestone barrens are composed of a series of terraces which extend, from just behind the beach berm, inland 300–400 m to a maximum elevation of 40 m.Footnote92 Soils are basic or ultrabasic.Footnote92 These unique heaths consist of numerous calcicolous species which form a sparse vegetation cover over calcareous boulder pavement.Footnote465

Of the 271 vascular plant species considered rare on the island, 114 occur on the limestone barrens. Twenty-nine of these grow only on the barrens.Footnote466 Long's braya (Braya longii) and Fernald's braya (Braya fernaldii) are listed as Endangered and Threatened, respectively, under SARA.Footnote467, Footnote468

Restricted to a narrow coastal strip along the west side of the northern peninsula, with the most extensive heaths occurring along the Strait of Belle Isle.Footnote92
SerpentineVegetation cover on the boulder talus is sparse and is composed of a few specialized species adapted only to serpentine substrates as well as species which favour basic substrates.Footnote92 The effects of frost action can be seen in the large sorted boulder polygons, common throughout the level terraces, and in the solifluction terraces on the slopes.Footnote92Serpentine mountains in the western part of the island.

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Braya

Long's braya (Braya longii) and Fernald's braya (Braya fernaldii) were listed as Endangered and Threatened, respectively, under SARA and the Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act in 2002. Both species are small (1–10 cm and 1–7 cm, respectively), herbaceous perennials in the family Brassicaceae endemic to exposed limestone barrens along the northwest coast of  Great Northern Peninsula on the Island of Newfoundland.Footnote469

Long's braya is distributed into six populations in a range of 25 km and Fernald's braya is distributed into 16 populations in a range of 150 km.Footnote469, Footnote470 The 1998–2000 censuses of these species revealed that 75% of the global Long's braya population (7235 individuals) and 57% of the global Fernald's braya population (3,434 individuals) were growing on anthropogenically disturbed substrate. A 2008 census confirmed that both braya species declined as a result of anthropogenic disturbance and pest and pathogen pressure. There were 5,549 Long's braya and 3,282 Fernald's braya, 90% of which were found on anthropogenically disturbed substrate.Footnote470 Biotic threats, such as insect herbivory and pathogens, also threaten plant reproductive output and survival.Footnote471

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Erioderma

Boreal felt lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) occurs in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and has recently been discovered in Alaska. In 2002, the boreal (Newfoundland) population was listed as Special Concern under the federal SARA and as Vulnerable under the Newfoundland and Labrador Endangered Species Act. All other known populations from Sweden, Norway, and    New Brunswick are believed to be extirpated.Footnote472

In the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, two major population concentrations of the boreal felt lichen have been documented from the central Avalon Peninsula and the Bay D'Espoir area. Smaller populations have also been found on the western Avalon Peninsula, the Avalon Isthmus, the area north of the Burin Peninsula, several areas along the south coast as far west as Burgeo, and on the western side of the Great Northern Peninsula.Footnote473 Due to the scattered distribution of this lichen and the large areas of unsurveyed potential, it is very difficult to determine how many relatively isolated populations there are in Newfoundland. In 2002, approximately 6900 thalli were reported in the COSEWIC status report for this species.Footnote472 With the recent discovery of two locations with approximately 1,000 thalli each, and several other finds of hundreds of thalli, it is believed that the number of thalli in Newfoundland exceeds 10,000 with most of these located in the Bay D'Espoir area.

Data on population trends are not yet conclusive. During population revisits at several sites on the Avalon Peninsula population declines of 60–80% over a five-year period have been documented.Footnote474 In the Bay D'Espoir area, both population increases and declines have been observed.Footnote475 Two Boreal felt lichen populations on the Avalon Peninsula have been intensively monitored for three years and the study was duplicated a year later in the Bay D'Espoir area. However, overall mortality rates have not yet been calculated.

A five-year management plan for boreal felt lichen was released by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006. The management goal is to maintain and enhance, where necessary, self-sustaining populations of the species within its current geographic distribution in Newfoundland. Several anthropogenic factors threaten or potentially threaten this lichen, singly or through complex interactions with each other and with natural forest processes that would not by themselves be considered threats. Threats and stress factors include stand senescence, blowdown, insect outbreaks, slug/mite herbivory, wood harvesting, land development, moose browsing of balsam fir, air pollution, forest fire, pesticides and climate change.Footnote473 The relative impact of these is difficult to assess, but it appears that more of these threatening factors are present in the Avalon Peninsula.

The amount of available habitat is expected to decline over time due to balsam fir forests being replaced by planted spruce and larch stands after cutting or by being converted to essentially treeless "moose meadows", where moose have killed all balsam fir seedlings in areas affected by blowdown. The impact of browsing by moose on balsam fir regeneration in Newfoundland has been amply documented,Footnote476 Footnote477 however, a detailed analysis of the magnitude of the problem relating to boreal felt lichen habitat has not been conducted.

On the Avalon Peninsula, pre-harvest surveys are performed on forest stands slated for commercial harvesting and following the recommendations by Robertson,Footnote478 20 m buffers have been employed around thalli found in these surveys. Due to a resource shortage, this is not done for domestic cutting blocks on the Avalon Peninsula, nor on commercial or domestic cutting blocks on crown land in the Bay D'Espoir area. The Miawpukek First Nation in Conne River is performing surveys and employing mitigations in their forest management area.

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Primary productivity

Key finding 18
Theme Habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes

National key finding
Primary productivity has increased on more than 20% of the vegetated land area of Canada over the past 20 years, as well as in some freshwater systems. The magnitude and timing of primary productivity are changing throughout the marine system.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Net primary productivity, as inferred from the Normalised-Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), significantly increased for 21% of the Ecozone+ area in 2006 compared to 1985 levels. Decreases were only significant for 0.9% of the area, mainly observed on the western ecozone+Footnote23 (Figure 91).

Figure 91. Map of change in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1985–2006.

Trends are in annual peak NDVI, measured as the average of the three highest values from 10-day composite images taken during July and August of each year. Spatial resolution is 1 km, averaged to 3 km for analysis. Only points with statistically significant changes (p<0.05) are shown.

map
Source: adapted from Pouliot et al., 2009Footnote390 by Ahern et al., 2011Footnote23

Long Description for Figure 91

This map of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ shows changes in net primary productivity, as inferred from the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), between 1985 and 2006. The map indicates that productivity has increased overall across the ecozone+, with concentrations of productivity in the centre and northeast of the ecozone+. Areas where productivity decreased are scattered throughout the ecozone+ and concentrated in the northwest.

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Increases to the east and south likely reflect forest composition changes following harvesting. Since broadleaf tree species register higher NDVI values than conifers, changes in forests from conifer-dominated stands to a higher proportion of mixed and deciduous stands would increase primary productivity.Footnote23 Trends in the northwestern part of the ecozone+, where fire cycles are more frequent, may be attributed to post-fire responses rather than directly to increases in ecosystem productivity.Footnote390 Trends in natural disturbance may also cause primary productivity to vary, although variations may simply reflect natural cycles. It is unclear how much of the overall increase in primary productivity can be attributed to climate change.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

At nearly 41%, the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ shows a greater portion of its area with a positive trend in NDVI from 1985 to 2006 than any other ecozone+ in Canada.Footnote23

Much of north-central Newfoundland shows an increase in NDVI over this period (Figure 92). This is an area of extensive shrub and poor forest cover. A warming climate may be enabling this vegetation to increase in density and vigour.Footnote23

This increase in NDVI could otherwise be the result of forest harvesting. When mature conifer-dominated boreal forests are harvested, early stages of succession have higher NDVI than the previous mature forests. Additionally, over-browsing by hyperabundant moose stalls forest regeneration in early successional stages,Footnote97 Footnote104 Footnote290 which may be responsible for the observed NDVI trends.

Figure 92. Map of change in the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1985 – 2006.

Trends are in annual peak NDVI, measured as the average of the three highest values from 10-day composite images taken during July and August of each year. Spatial resolution is 1 km, averaged to 3 km for analysis. Only points with statistically significant changes (p<0.05) are shown.

map
Source: adapted from Pouliot et al., 2009Footnote390 by Ahern et al., 2011Footnote23

Long Description for Figure 92

This map of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone shows the portion of the ecozone+'s area with positive Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) trends from 1985 to 2006. While positive change occurred across the majority of the ecozone+, it is concentrated in the north.

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Natural disturbance

Key finding 19
Theme Habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes

National key finding
The dynamics of natural disturbance regimes, such as fire and native insect outbreaks, are changing and this is reshaping the landscape. The direction and degree of change vary.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Natural disturbances in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ appear to be changing. Early warnings include increasing wildfire risk in some regions, northward range expansion of hemlock looper (Lambdina fiscellaria), and the threat of mountain pine beetle invasion from the northwest. The beetle has already expanded its range from the within the Montane Cordillera Ecozone+ through to the Boreal Plains Ecozone+.Footnote479 Footnote480 Footnote481 Fire and insects can interact to increase an ecosystem's vulnerability and decrease resilience. For example, higher wildfire risk, earlier fire occurrence, and severe insect defoliation events in the northeastern Boreal Shield Ecozone+ have caused closed-crown boreal forest stands to be replaced by lichen woodlands.Reference 69 Footnote70 In the western part of the ecozone+, increased wildfire risk and mountain pine beetle invasion could lead to decreased ecosystem productivity and significant releases of stored carbon, as observed for the Montane Cordillera Ecozone+.Footnote482 Caribou may also decline as a result of the reduced connectivity in their mature and dense boreal forest habitats (see the Woodland caribou section on page 132).

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Fire

Fire is the dominant natural disturbance in boreal forests of the ecozone+, especially north of managed areas. The area burned by large fires (>200 ha) over the entire ecozone+ increased until the 1980s then decreased into the 2000s.Footnote483 The most important factors explaining these apparent trends are better monitoring and increased temperatures in the 1980s, as well as increased fire suppression effectiveness in the past 20 years. Hence, the effect of natural changes is masked by anthropogenic influences. There were no significant changes in fire seasonality from 1959 to 2007 (Figure 93).

Figure 93. Total area burned by large fires (> 2km2 in size) per decade in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1960s–2000s.

Note: The 2000s decade value was pro-rate over 10 years, based on the 2000–2007 average.

graph
Source: Krezek-Hanes et al., 2011Footnote483 using data from 1959–1994 from the large fire database (Stocks et al., 2003)Footnote37 and data from 1995–2007 from remote sensing.

Long Description for Figure 93

This bar graph shows the following information:

Total area burned by large fires (> 2km2 in size) per decade in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+, 1960s–2000s.
YearsArea burned (km2)
1960s28,934
1970s47,780
1980s103,952
1990s83,371
2000s65,758

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Wildfire risk, as estimated from the Monthly Drought Code, was evaluated from 1901 to 2002.Footnote479 These trends are likely to represent changes in environmental conditions rather than influences of fire suppression or advances in monitoring methods. The trends presented below (Figure 94) illustrate regional variability, which would not be apparent in ecozone+ -wide data analyses. Over the 20th century, wildfire risk has increased in north-central Quebec and in the westernmost part of the ecozone+ due to drier conditions. Conversely, decreases in wildfire risk associated with wetter conditions have occurred from eastern Manitoba to western Quebec. Changes in temperature and precipitation from 1950 to 2007 support these trends (see the Climate change key finding on page 109).Footnote154

Figure 94. Spatio-temporal evolution of wildfire risk from 1901 to 2002 as modeled from the Monthly Drought Code of the Canadian Forest Fire Weather Index System.

Note: A "+" sign indicates increasing wildfire risk during that period; a "-" sign indicates decreasing wildfire risk; ecozone+ boundaries are in black.

map
Source: adapted from Girardin and Wotton, 2009Footnote479

Long Description for Figure 94

This map of Canada shows the spatio-temporal evolution of wildfire risk from 1901 to 2002. In the northern half of the country, three areas in the west, centre and east show trends of increasing wildfire risk. In the southern half of the country, five areas of decreasing wildfire risk are shown similarly in the west, centre, and east.

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Large scale native insect outbreaks

Large-scale native insect outbreaks have become more important than fire as drivers of ecosystem change in the southern portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.

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Spruce budworm

Spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) is the major defoliator of balsam fir and spruce trees in the boreal forest. The area covered by moderate to severe defoliation caused by spruce budworm outbreaks over the 20th century greatly increased for each of the three main events recorded (Figure 95). However, there is uncertainty regarding the severity of future spruce budworm outbreaks, mainly because stands of mature balsam fir, its favoured food, have been depleted during recent outbreaks. It is uncertain whether there were changes in outbreak duration and frequency for spruce budworm before the early 2000s, although both outbreak duration and frequency are expected to increase throughout the 21st century.Footnote484

Figure 95. Total annual area of moderate-to-severe defoliation by spruce budworm in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Maine, USA, 1909–2007.

The blue dotted and plain line from 1909 to 1981 was reported by Kettela in 1983.Footnote485 The brown dotted line was adapted from data provided by the National Forestry Database Program (2008) and by the Maine Forest Service (2008).Footnote486 Footnote487

Note: Amalgamated data should be interpreted with caution due to different aerial survey methods for each jurisdiction and reporting methods that have been modified in time, explaining the differences between lines from 1975 to 1981.

graph
Source: adapted from Kettela, 1983,Footnote485 the National Forestry Database Program, 2008,Footnote486 and Strubble, 2008Footnote487

Long Description for Figure 95

This line graph shows the total annual area of moderate-to-severe defoliation by spruce budworm in Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Maine, USA, 1909–2007. The area covered by moderate to severe defoliation caused by spruce budworm outbreaks over the 20th century greatly increased for each of the three main events recorded.

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Hemlock looper

Hemlock looper is another defoliator of balsam fir that primarily affects the eastern half of the ecozone+. Historically, the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ has been more at risk from hemlock looper outbreaks that the Labrador portion of the Boreal Shield Ecozone+.Footnote488 However, the range of outbreaks seems to be expanding north of its historical distribution and, for the first time in 2008, a biological insecticide treatment was applied over 15 to 17 km2 in Labrador.Footnote480

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Other insect defoliators

Other native insects that can cause large-scale forest damage in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+ are the jack pine budworm (Choristoneura pinus), the forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disstri), and large aspen tortrix (Choristoneura conflictana). No significant trends in outbreak duration, frequency, or extent have been reported for these species.Footnote486 The absence of detectable trends may be due to the cyclical nature of these outbreaks and the lack of accurate long-term data.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

Fire

Fire is not a significant natural disturbance in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ ; the contribution to area burned in Canada was less than 1% from 1959--2007.Footnote483 From 1959 to 2007, the average area burned by large fires (>2 km2 in size) was 123 km2/yr and the percent annual area burned was 0.13%.Footnote483 In the 1960s, the ecozone+ contributed 4.7% of the area burned in Canada due to an extreme fire year in 1961 when 3,962 km2 burned. The total annual area burned decreased dramatically since the 1960s (Figure 96). The decline was most likely due to successful government policies aimed at preventing and suppressing fires.Footnote37 The doubling in area burned from the 1970s to the 1980s may be related to warmer temperaturesFootnote489 Footnote490 that resulted in more fires escaping from suppression efforts. Area burned declined again significantly in the 1990s and has remained small into the 2000s. Similar to the Atlantic Maritime and Pacific Maritime ecozones+, these trends should be assessed with caution because they are based on a small number of fires, especially in more recent decades. Otherwise there was little variability in annual area burned and more commonly there were many years where there were no large fires in this ecozone+.

The active fire season is 35 days. Fire occurrence peaks in May but fires commonly occur between May and July. The dominant cause of fire is humans at 96%. Lightning ignitions have only been documented four times in the large fire database for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.

Figure 96. Total annual area burned by large fires (>2 km2 in size) for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1959–2007.

graph
Source: Krezek-Hanes et al., 2011Footnote483 using data from 1959–1994 from the large fire database (Stocks et al., 2003)Footnote37 and data from 1995–2007 from remote sensing.

Long Description for Figure 96

This bar graph shows the following information:

Total annual area burned by large fires (>2 km2 in size) for the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+, 1959–2007.
YearArea burned (km2)
1959126.53
1960121.56
19613961.64
19622.02
19635.18
196411.53
19652.59
19660
19673.23
196819.21
19695.18
19700
19719.46
19720
19730
19745.78
1975142.69
197637.95
19777.84
197844.74
1979308.53
19807.52
198148.43
19824.09
19832.03
198450.93
198523.16
1986964.75
198743.09
19880
198920.5
199025.9
19910
19920
19930
19949.59
19950
199617
19973
19980
19990
20004
20017
20020
20033
20044
20050
20060
20070

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Large scale native insect outbreaks

The three main native defoliating insects in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ are the eastern hemlock looper, eastern spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana), and balsam fir sawfly (Neodiprion abietis). Dendrochronological analyses have documented light to moderate infestations of spruce budworm and hemlock looper during the 19th and 20th centuries.Footnote491 Major outbreaks have been primarily restricted to the west and central regions of the ecozone+.

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Balsam fir sawfly

Balsam fir sawfly has been the most detrimental defoliator. As seen in the western portion of the ecozone+ (Figure 97), the extent and severity of outbreaks increased with time (Figure 98). The first recorded large outbreaks lasted three to four years (1944–1947, 1954–1956, and 1960–1963) and were relatively localized. The next large outbreak lasted eight years (1967–1975), and covered a larger area than the first three large outbreaks. The most recent sawfly outbreak started in 1991 and is unprecedented in severity, extent and duration.Footnote492

Figure 97. Map of plot locations and severity of balsam fir sawfly defoliation in Newfoundland from 1996 to 2008.

Six defoliation severity classes were based on levels of defoliation in up to 3 years, with 'M' denoting moderate (31–70%) and 'S' severe (71–100%) defoliation.

map
Source: Iqbal et al. 2011Footnote493

Long Description for Figure 97

These two maps represent two sections of Newfoundland, the western portion and eastern portion of the ecozone+. BFSS Defoliation Severity Classes range from 1-M to 6-SSS. While 1-M and 2-S are the dominant defoliation severity classes in the eastern portion of the ecozone, the western portion shown is dominated by severity class 4-SS.

 

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Figure 98. Annual estimates of the area severely defoliated by the balsam fir sawfly in western Newfoundland between 1940 and 2004.

Defoliation was less than 0.1 km2 in many years.

graph
Source: Moreau, 2006Footnote492 with updated data from the author

Long Description for Figure 98

This bar graph shows the following information:

Annual estimates of the area severely defoliated by the balsam fir sawfly in western Newfoundland between 1940 and 2004.
YearWestern Newfoundland - Area defoliated (km2)Newfoundland - Area defoliated (km2)
19400.10
19410.10
19420.10
19430.10
194431.080
194554.390
1946750
1947103.60
19480.10
19490.10
19505.180
19510.10
19520.10
19530.10
195425.90
195518.30
195664.750
19570.10
19580.10
19590.10
196010
196116.6550
1962129.50
1963410
19640.10
19650.10
19660.10
19672.590
196825.90
1969100
197028.490
1971103.60
1972543.90
1973100
19744.6910
197520
19760.10
19770.10
19780.10
19790.10
198020
198140
19820.10
19830.10
19840.10
19850.10
19860.10
19870.10
19880.10
19890.10
1990447.8
1991897
199211.347.2
199312.1817.1
19947.2712.18
199511443
1996197150
1997530303
1998165243.85
1999124184.45
2000220415
2001380477.59
20020686.98
20030497.83
20040393.66
20050573.15
20060672
20070394
20080394
2009089.45
2010047.09
20110129.37

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The impacts of balsam fir sawfly can be severe, even with only one year of severe defoliation.Footnote493 Because balsam fir sawfly feeds on multiple age-classes of foliage in one year, there is less time for managers to react than for other insect defoliators. For example, eastern spruce budworm typically feeds on current-year foliage. It can take up to four years for tree mortality to occur as a result of eastern spruce budworm. In contrast, one to three years of severe balsam fir sawfly defoliation can cause large long-term losses to stand growth and yield from both tree mortality in mature plots and slow growth recovery.Footnote493

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Spruce budworm

There have been numerous outbreaks of the spruce budworm in Newfoundland and these have all occurred as a result of an eastward movement of outbreaks that originated in eastern Canada.Footnote494 Footnote495 Three minor outbreaks were recorded for the period 1940–1970; these were sporadic, localized, collapsed within three years, and resulted in little or no damage to forest stands.Footnote32, Footnote494 A widespread and severe outbreak began in 1971 in the western region of the ecozone+. All mature and immature productive forests in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ were infested by 1977; budworm densities increased until 1985.Footnote32, Footnote496 Mean reduction of radial growth in damaged stands was approximately 80%;Footnote32 mean total volume lost was 112 m3 /ha, which equates to 45% of potential volume based on growth prior to defoliation.Footnote496 Budworm densities remained relatively high in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ until 1992.Footnote497 The total volume of forest stands with tree mortality due to spruce budworm infestation for the period 1971–1992 was greater than 50 million m3 (Figure 99).Footnote32, Footnote494, Footnote497

Damage caused by the spruce budworm can be severe and irrevocable. Host trees in the ecozone+ include balsam fir and white and black spruce.Footnote498 Of these, balsam fir is the most vulnerable; individual trees die four to five years after initial attack.Footnote32 Regeneration of dead balsam fir stands in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ is suppressed and succession to shrubs and competing hardwood species can occur. In pure stands, black spruce trees may survive, but some stands in the central region of the ecozone+ have been killed and replaced by kalmia heath vegetation.Footnote32

Figure 99. Area defoliated by eastern spruce budworm in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1975 to 2011.

No data were available from 1993 to 2005. These province-wide data exceed the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ boundaries.

graph
Source: National Forestry Database, 2008Footnote499

Long Description for Figure 99

This line graph shows the following information:

Area defoliated by eastern spruce budworm in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1975 to 2011.
YearArea defoliated (km2)
19751,899
19761,930
19771,300
1978800
19791,000
1980926
1981380
198242
198368
198415
19851
19862
19874
19882
19891
19901
19912
19922
20061
200712
200812
200948
201058
201122

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Hemlock looper

Prior to the severe spruce budworm outbreak of 1972–1985, the eastern hemlock looper was the ecozone's major forest pest.Footnote500 The recurrence of hemlock looper outbreaks in North America has been highest in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+.Footnote501, Footnote502 Recorded outbreaks have been cyclic, lasted six to nine years, and reached their peaks in three to seven years; the period between outbreaks has ranged from 7–18 years.Footnote301 Footnote501 Footnote503 Eight hemlock looper outbreaks have been recorded since 1910.Footnote301 Footnote501 Footnote504 Prior to 1966, infestations were local but varied in duration. The most widespread outbreak occurred between 1966 and 1972; 15,000 km2 and 8.6 million m3 of wood was lost, which represents more than twice the sum of that for all preceding hemlock looper outbreaks.Footnote301, Footnote501 Forests in the ecozone+ have also been infested with hemlock looper in the periods 1983–1995 and 1999–2006; total volumes of productive forest lost during these periods were approximately 877 km2 and 153 km2, respectively.Footnote301 The volume of trees lost to hemlock looper infestations from 1947 to 1991 was approximately 25 million m3, which is equivalent to a seven-year supply for the three paper mills in the ecozone+.Footnote505 Hemlock looper larvae feed on a range of conifers, but the primary host is balsam fir.Footnote506 Larvae consume only a portion of an individual needle and then forage on adjacent needles; partially-eaten needles die.Reference 32 Hemlock looper outbreaks generally occur where eastern spruce budworm densities have decreased.Reference 501

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Food webs

Key finding 20
Theme Habitat, wildlife, and ecosystem processes

National key finding
Fundamental changes in relationships among species have been observed in marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments. The loss or reduction of important components of food webs has greatly altered some ecosystems.

Boreal Shield Ecozone+

Among the most commonly known boreal forest producer-consumer relationships are the cone production fluctuations influencing seed-consuming boreal birds,Footnote507, Footnote508 mink and muskrat,Footnote509 the Canada lynx and snowshoe hare cycle,Footnote510 Footnote511 Footnote512 and caribou/wolf dynamics. Due to the fluctuating nature of predator-prey interactions, trend analyses can be difficult.

The primary proximate limiting factor for boreal caribou populations is predation, driven by human‐induced or natural landscape changes that favour early seral stages and higher densities of alternative prey.Footnote414 Footnote418 Footnote420-Footnote424 Footnote513Footnote514 Footnote515 Footnote516 Footnote517 Footnote518 Habitat disturbance, including logging, likely increased early seral-stage forests that typically support high densities of alternate prey such as moose and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). This in turn resulted in increased wolf and bear populations. When alternate prey populations decreased, the abundant predators turned to caribou as a food source.Footnote428, Footnote433

In addition to predator-prey relationships, community dynamics are affected by diseases and parasites. Those having the most significant impacts on wildlife of this ecozone+ are the West Nile virus, which especially affects native wild birds, and the brain worm of white-tailed deer (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis).Footnote519 Brain worm threatens woodland and barren ground caribou (Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus) populations as the white-tailed deer range expands northwards.

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Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+

There have been significant changes in the trophic dynamics of the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+. Wolves, the only native top predator, were extirpated in the 1920s. The introduction of moose, a dominant herbivore, has impacted the forest biome (see the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ key finding on page 35). The first confirmed coyote in the ecozone+ was in 1987.Footnote520 Coyotes compete for prey with lynx and red fox (Vulpes vulpes), and they may become a significant predator of caribou, arctic hare (Lepus arcticus) and American marten.

Figure 100. The number of coyotes harvested in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ from 1993 to 2009.

graph
Source: Statistics Canada, 2010Footnote395

Long Description for Figure100

This line graph shows the following information:

The number of coyotes harvested in the Newfoundland Boreal Ecozone+ from 1993 to 2009.
YearNumber of coyotes
19939
19947
19952
19963
19975
19980
199915
200018
200145
200296
2003264
2004308
2005282
2006244
2007324
2008212
2009379

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Changes in phenology have resulted in new predator-prey interactions. Historically, the residency of seals in rivers and estuaries did not coincide with salmon runs; however, seals have increased residence times by up to three months since the 1990s.Footnote521 Research is underway to determine if the increased time seals spend in estuaries has increased the rate of predation on salmon.Footnote521

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Footnote 4

Ermine, W., Nilson, R., Sauchyn, D., Sauve, E. and Smith, R.Y. 2005. Isi askiwan - the state of the land: Prince Albert Grand Council Eldersʹ Forum on Climate Change. Prairie Adaptation Research Collaborative. 40 p.

Return to Footnote 4

Footnote 6

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.

Return to Footnote 6

Footnote 11

Lee, P., Gysbers, J.D. and Stanojevic, Z. 2006. Canadaʹs forest landscape fragments: a first approximation (a Global Forest Watch Canada report). Global Forest Watch Canada. Edmonton, AB. 97 p.156

Return to Footnote 11

Footnote 12

Urquizo, N., Bastedo, J., Brydges, T. and Shear, H. 2000. Ecological assessment of the Boreal Shield Ecozone. Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. Ottawa, ON.

Return to Footnote 12

Footnote 18

Javorek, S.K. and Grant, M.C. 2011. Trends in wildlife habitat capacity on agricultural land in Canada, 1986-2006. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 14. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. vi + 46 p. http://www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=137E1147-0.

Return to Footnote 18

Footnote 23

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. http://www.biodivcanada.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=137E1147-0.

Return to Footnote 23

Footnote 32

Hudak, J. and Raske, A.G. 1982. Review of the spruce budworm outbreaks in Newfoundland: its control and forest management implications. Environment Canada. 320 p.

Return to Footnote 32

Footnote 37

Stocks, B.J., Mason, J.A., Todd, J.B., Bosch, E.M., Wotton, B.M., Amiro, B.D., Flannigan, M.D., Hirsch, K.G., Logan, K.A., Martell, D.L. and Skinner, W.R. 2003. Large forest fires in Canada, 1959-1997. Journal of Geophysical Research 108:8149-8161.

Return to Footnote 37

Footnote 70

Girard, F., Payette, S. and Gagnon, R. 2009. Origin of the lichen-spruce woodland in the closed-crown forest zone of eastern Canada. Global Ecology and Biogeography 18:291-303.

Return to Footnote 70

Footnote 76

Downes, C., Blancher, P. and Collins, B. 2011. Landbird trends in Canada, 1968-2006. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 12. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. x + 94 p .

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Footnote 79

Environment Canada. 2014. North American breeding bird survey - Canadian trends website, data-version 2012. [online]. Environment Canada.

Return to Footnote 79

Footnote 86

U.S. North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Committee. 2008. Bird Conservation Regions [online]. (accessed 13 March, 2009).

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Footnote 92

Meades, S.J. 1990. Natural regions of Newfoundland and Labrador. Protected Areas Association. St. Johnʹs, NL. 474 p.

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Footnote 97

McLaren, B.E., Roberts, B.A., Djan-Chekar, N. and Lewis, K. 2004. Effects of overabundant moose on the Newfoundland landscape. Alces 40:45-59.

Return to Footnote 97

Footnote 155

McAllister, D., Craig, J., Davidson, N., Murray, D. and Seddon, M. 2000. Biodiversity impacts of large dams. Background Paper No. 1. Prepared for IUCN / UNEP / WCD. 66 p.

Return to Footnote 155

Footnote 156

Finstad, A.G., Forseth, T. and Faenstad, T.F. 2004. The importance of ice cover for energy turnover in juvenile Atlantic salmon. Journal of Animal Ecology 73:959-966.

Return to Footnote 156

Footnote 157

Environment Canada. 2004. Threats to water availability in Canada. NWRI Scientific Assessment Report Series No. 3 and ACSD Science Assessment Series No. 1. National Water Research Institute. Burlington, ON. 128 p.

Return to Footnote 157

Footnote 158

Arthington, A.H. 1998. Comparative evaluation of environmental flow assessment techniques: review of holistic methodologies. Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation Occasional Paper No. 26/98. 46 p.

Return to Footnote 158

Footnote 159

Canadian Dam Association. 2003. Dams in Canada. International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD). Montréal, QC. CD-ROM.

Return to Footnote 159

Footnote 301

Hudak, J., OʹBrian, D.S., Stone, D.M., Sutton, W.J., Oldford, L., Pardy, K.E. and Carew, G.C. 1996. Forest Insect and Disease conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador in 1994 and 1995 No. Information Report N-X-299. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Newfoundland and Labrador Region.

Return to Footnote 301

Footnote 390

Pouliot, D., Latifovic, R. and Olthof, I. 2009. Trends in vegetation NDVI from 1 km Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) data over Canada for the period 1985-2006. International Journal of Remote Sensing 30:149-168.

Return to Footnote 390

Footnote 395

Statistics Canada. 2010. Fur statistics, vol. 8 [online]. (accessed 20 August, 2013).

Return to Footnote 395

Footnote 402

Global Forest Watch Canada. 2007. Canada Mines 2008.

Return to Footnote 402

Footnote 403

Saskatchewan Ministry of Economy. 2012. Saskatchewan exploration and development highlights 2012. Government of Saskatchewan. Regina, SK. 17 p.

Return to Footnote 403

Footnote 404

Province of Manitoba, Science, Technology, Energy and Mines. 2009. Exploration Activity Tracker [online]. (accessed 3 November, 2009).

Return to Footnote 404

Footnote 405

Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. 2009. Ontario mining status and trends in the Boreal Shield Ecozone+. Produced for the Ecosystem Status and Trends Report.

Return to Footnote 405

Footnote 406

Comité sectoriel de main-dʹoeuvre de lʹindustrie des mines. 2007. Comité sectoriel de main-dʹoeuvre de lʹindustrie des mines [online]. (accessed March, 2009).

Return to Footnote 406

Footnote 407

Statistics Canada. 2008. 2006 Census of agriculture [online]. Government of Canada. (accessed 8 August, 2008).

Return to Footnote 407

Footnote 408

Government of Canada. 1998. The State of Canadaʹs Ecosystems in Maps [online]. Government of Canada. (accessed 10 March, 2008).

Return to Footnote 408

Footnote 409

USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. 2010. The North American Breeding Bird Survey [online]. U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Return to Footnote 409

Footnote 410

Niven, D.K., Sauer, J.R., Butcher, G.S. and Link, W.A. 2004. Population change in boreal birds from the Christmas Bird Count. American Birds 58:10-20.

Return to Footnote 410

Footnote 411

Crins, W.J., Pond, B.A., Cadman, M.D. and Gray, P.A. 2007. The biogeography of Ontario, with special reference to birds. In Atlas of the breeding birds of Ontario, 2001-2005. Edited by Cadman, M.D., Sutherland, D.A., Beck, G.G., Lepage, D. and Couturier, A.R. Bird Studies Canada, Environment Canada, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ontario Nature. Toronto, ON. pp. 11-22.

Return to Footnote 411

Footnote 412

COSEWIC. 2002. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa, ON. xi + 98 p.

Return to Footnote 412

Footnote 413

Environment Canada. 2011. Scientific assessment to inform the identification of critical habitat for woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), boreal population, in Canada: 2011 update. Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. xiv + 103 p.

Return to Footnote 413

Footnote 414

Environment Canada. 2012. Recovery strategy for the woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), boreal population, in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recover Strategy Series. Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. xi + 138 p.

Return to Footnote 414

Footnote 415

Callaghan, C., Virc, S. and Duffe, J. 2011. Woodland caribou, boreal population, trends in Canada. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 11. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. iv + 36 p .

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Footnote 416

COSEWIC. 2002. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the woodland caribou Rangifer tarandus caribou in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa, ON. xi + 98 p.

Return to Footnote 416

Footnote 417

Festa-Bianchet, M., Ray, J.C., Boutin, S. and Gunn, A. 2011. Conservation of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) in Canada: an uncertain future. Canadian Journal of Zoology 89:419-434.

Return to Footnote 417

Footnote 418

Environment Canada. 2008. Scientific review for the identification of critical habitat for woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), boreal population, in Canada. Environment Canada. Ottawa, ON. 72 p. + appendices.

Return to Footnote 418

Footnote 419

Schaefer, J.A. 2003. Long-term range recession and the persistence of caribou in the Taiga. Conservation Biology 17:1435-1439.

Return to Footnote 419

Footnote 420

Vors, L.S., Schaefer, J.A., Pond, B.A., Rodgers, A.R. and Patterson, B.R. 2007. Woodland caribou extirpation and anthropogenic landscape disturbance in Ontario. Journal of Wildlife Management 71:1249-1256.

Return to Footnote 420

Footnote 421

Bergerud, A.T. and Elliot, J.P. 1986. Dynamics of caribou and wolves in northern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Zoology 64:1515-1529.

Return to Footnote 421

Footnote 422

Seip, D.R. 1992. Factors limiting woodland caribou populations and their interrelationships with wolves and moose in southeastern British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Zoology 70:1494-1503.

Return to Footnote 422

Footnote 423

Stuart-Smith, A.K., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Boutin, S., Hebert, D.M. and Rippin, A.B.

Return to Footnote 423

Footnote 199

7. Woodland caribou relative to landscape patterns in northeastern Alberta. Journal of Wildlife Management 61:622-633.

Return to Footnote 199

Footnote 424

Racey, G.D. and Armstrong, T. 2000. Woodland caribou range occupancy in northwestern Ontario: past and present. Rangifer 12:173-184.

Return to Footnote 424

Footnote 425

Wittmer, H.U., McLellan, B.N., Serrouya, R. and Apps, C.D. 2007. Changes in landscape composition influence the decline of a threatened woodland caribou population. Journal of Animal Ecology 76:568-579.

Return to Footnote 425

Footnote 426

Wittmer, H.U., Sinclair, A.R. and McLellan, B.N. 2005. The role of predation in the decline and extirpation of woodland caribou. Oecologia 114:257-267.

Return to Footnote 426

Footnote 427

Vors, L.S. and Boyce, M.S. 2009. Global declines of caribou and reindeer. Global Change Biology 15:2626-2633.

Return to Footnote 427

Footnote 428

Rettie, W.J. 1998. The ecology of woodland caribou in central Saskatchewan. Thesis . University of Saskatchewan. Saskatoon, SK.

Return to Footnote 428

Footnote 429

Bergerud, A.T. 1988. Caribou, wolves and man. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 3:68-72.

Return to Footnote 429

Footnote 430

Sorenson, T.C., McLoughlin, P.D., Hervieux, D., Dzus, E., Nolan, J., Wynes, B. and Boutin, S. 2008. Determining sustainable levels of cumulative effects for boreal caribou. Journal of Wildlife Management 72:900-905. doi:10.2193/2007-079.

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Footnote 431

Bergerud, A.T. 1974. Decline of caribou in North America following settlement. Journal of Wildlife Management 38:757-770.

Return to Footnote 431

Footnote 432

Mallory, F.F. and Hillis, T.L. 1998. Demographic characteristics of circumpolar caribou populations: ecotypes, ecological constraints, releases and population dynamics. Rangifer 10:49-60.

Return to Footnote 432

Footnote 433

Rettie, W.J. and Messier, F. 1998. Dynamics of woodland caribou populations at the southern limit of their range in Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Zoology 76:251-259.

Return to Footnote 433

Footnote 434

Bergerud, A.T., Butler, H.E. and Miller, D.R. 1984. Antipredator tactics of calving caribou: dispersion in mountains. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62:1566-1575.

Return to Footnote 434

Footnote 435

Rettie, W.J. and Messier, F. 2000. Hierarchical habitat selection by woodland caribou: its relationship to limiting factors. Ecography 23:466-478.

Return to Footnote 435

Footnote 436

Cumming, S.G., Burton, P.J. and Klinkenberg, B. 1996. Boreal mixedwood forests may have no ʹʹrepresentativeʹʹ areas: some implications for reserve design. Ecography 19:162-180.

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Footnote 437

Courtois, R. 2003. La conservation du caribou forestier dans un contexte de perte dʹhabitat et de fragmentation du milieu. Thesis (Ph.D.). Université du Québec.

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Footnote 438

Patterson, L.D., Drake, C.C., Allen, M.L. and Parent, L. 2014. Detecting a population decline of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) from nonstandardized monitoring data in Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario. Wildlife Society Bulletin .

Return to Footnote 438

Footnote 439

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. 2009. Ontarioʹs caribou conservation plan. 24 p.

Return to Footnote 439

Footnote 440

Gonzales, E.K., Nantel, P., Allen, M. and Drake, C. 2014. Application of a Bayesian belief network as decision-support for translocation of woodland caribou into a national park. Unpublished data.

Return to Footnote 440

Footnote 441

Manitoba Conservation. 2006. Manitobaʹs Conservation and Recovery Strategy for Boreal Woodland Caribou. Winnipeg, Manitoba. 22 p.

Return to Footnote 441

Footnote 442

Manitoba Conservation. 2011. Draft action plans for boreal woodland caribou ranges in Manitoba. Government of Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB. 53 p.

Return to Footnote 442

Footnote 443

Schmelzer, I., Brazil, J., Chubbs, T., French, S., Hearn, B., Jeffery, R., LeDrew, L., Martin, H., McNeill, A., Nuna, R., Otto, R., Phillips, F., Mitchell, G., Pittman, G., Simon, N. and Yetman, G. 2004. Recovery strategy for three woodland caribou herds (Rangifer tarandus caribou; boreal population) in Labrador. Department of Environment and Conservation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Corner Brook, NL. 51 p.

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Footnote 444

Sebanne, A., Courtois, R., St-Onge, S., Breton, L. and Lafleur, P.-É. 2003. Trente ans après sa réintroduction, quel est lʹavenir du caribou de Charlevoix? Le Naturaliste Canadien 127:55-62.

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Footnote 445

Jelks, H.L., Walsh, J., Burkhead, N.M., Contreras-Balderas, S., Díaz-Pardo, E., Hendrickson, D.A., Lyons, J., Mandrak, N.E., McCormick, F., Nelson, J.S., Platania, S.P., Porter, B.A., Renaud, C.B., Schmitter-Soto, J.J., Taylor, E.B. and Warren, Jr.M.L. 2008. Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous fishes. Fisheries 33:372-407.

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Footnote 446

Dextrase, A.J. and Mandrak, N.E. 2006. Impacts of alien invasive species on freshwater fauna at risk in Canada. Biological Invasions 8:13-24.

Return to Footnote 446

Footnote 447

Weinstein, M.S. 1977. Hares, lynx, and trappers. The American Naturalist 111:806-808.

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Footnote 448

Savage, D.W. 2003. The effects of forest management, weather, and landscape pattern on furbearer harvests at large-scales. Thesis (M.Sc.). Lakehead University, Faculty of Forestry and Forest Environment. Thunder Bay, Ontario. 109 p.

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Footnote 449

Banci, V. and Proulx.G. 1999. Impacts of trapping on furbearer populations in Canada. Alpha Wildlife. Edmonton, Alberta.

Return to Footnote 449

Footnote 450

Weaver, J.L., Paquet, P.C. and Ruggiero, L.F. 1996. Resilience and conservation of large carnivores in the Rocky Mountains. Conservation Biology 10:964-976.

Return to Footnote 450

Footnote 451

De Vos, A. 1964. Range changes of mammals in the Great Lakes region. American Midland Naturalist 71:210-231.

Return to Footnote 451

Footnote 452

COSEWIC. 2003. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the wolverine Gulo gulo in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa, ON. 41 p.

Return to Footnote 452

Footnote 453

Bowman, J., A.G.Kidd, R.M.Gorman and A.I.Schulte-Hostedde. 2007. Assessing the potential for impacts by feral mink on wild mink in Canada. Biological Conservation 139:12-18. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2007.05.020.

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Footnote 454

Basu, N., Klenavic, K., Gamberg, M., OʹBrien, M., Evans, D., Scheuhammer, A.M. and Chan, H.M. 2005. Effects of mercury on neurochemical receptor-binding characteristics in wild mink. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 24:1444-1450.

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Footnote 455

Newfoundland Wildlife Division. 2009. Insular Newfoundland Caribou population estimates. Unpublished data.

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Footnote 456

Dettmers, R. 2006. A blueprint for the design and delivery of bird conservation in the Atlantic northern forest. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 346 p.

Return to Footnote 456

Footnote 457

Ball, M.C., M.W.Lankester and S.P.Mahoney. 2001. Factors Affecting the Distribution and Transmission of Elaphostrongylus rangiferi (Protostrongylidae) in Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) of Newfoundland, Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 79:1265-1277.

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Footnote 458

Lankester, M.W. and Fong, D. 1989. Distribution of elaphostrongyline nematodes (Metastrongyloidea: protostrongylidae) in cervidae and possible effects of moving Rangifer spp. into and within North America. Alces 25:133-145.

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Footnote 459

Dodds, D.G. 1984. Terrestrial mammals. In Biogeography and Ecology of the Island of Newfoundland. Edited by South, R. Springer. The Hague. pp. 509-550.

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Footnote 460

Bergerud, A.T. 1969. The Status of the Pine Marten in Newfoundland. Canadian-Field Naturalist 83:128-131.

Return to Footnote 460

Footnote 461

Fuller, A.K., Harrison, D.J., Hearn, B.J. and Hepinstall, J.A. 2006. Landscape thresholds, occupancy models, and responses to habitat loss and fragmentation in Newfoundland and Maine. Wildlife Division, Department of

Return to Footnote 461

Footnote 193

Environment and Conservation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Corner Brook, NL. 92 p.

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Footnote 462

Hearn, B.J. 2007. Factors affecting habitat selection and population characteristics of American marten (Martes americana atrata) in Newfoundland. Thesis (Ph.D.). University of Maine. Orono, ME. 226 p.

Return to Footnote 462

Footnote 463

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. 2007. COSEWIC Assessment and Update status report on the American marten (Newfoundalnd population) Martes americana atrata in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa, ON. 65 p.

Return to Footnote 463

Footnote 464

COSEWIC. 2003. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the banded killifish Fundulus diaphanus, Newfoundland population in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa, ON. 21 p.

Return to Footnote 464

Footnote 465

Meades, W.J. 1983. Heathlands. In Biogeography and ecology of the island of Newfoundland. Edited by South, G.R. Junk Publishers. The Hague. Chapter 7. pp. 267-318.

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Footnote 466

Bouchard, A., Say, S., Brouillet, L., Jean, M. and Saucier, I. 1991. The rare vascular plants of the island of Newfoundland, Syllogeus No. 65. Canadian Museum of Nature. Ottawa, ON. 165 p.

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Footnote 467

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Footnote 468

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Footnote 469

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Footnote 470

Hermanutz, L., Squires, S. and Pelley, D. 2009. 2008 Limestone Barrens Research Report. Wildlife Division, Department of Environment and Conservation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Corner Brook, NL. 67 p. pp.

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Footnote 471

Squires, S.E., Hermanutz, L. and Dixon, P.L. 2009. Agricultural insect pest compromises survival of two endemic Braya (Brassicaceae). Biological Conservation 142:203-211.

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Footnote 472

Maass, W. and Yetman, D. 2002. COSEWIC Assessment and Status report on the Boreal felt lichen Erioderma pedicellatum in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. 50 p.

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Footnote 473

Keeping, B. and Hanel, C. 2006. A Five Year (2006 - 2011) Management Plan For the Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum) In Newfoundland and Labrador. Wildlife Division, Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.

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Footnote 474

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Footnote 475

Clarke, W.M. 2005. A Brief Report on the April 11 to 15, 2005 resurvey in Bay dʹEspoir. Department of Natural Resources, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. 4 p.

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Footnote 476

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Footnote 477

Thompson, I.D. and Curran, W.J. 1993. A Re-examination of moose damage to balsam fir - White birch forest in Central Newfoundland. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 23:1388-1395.

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Footnote 478

Robertson, A.W. 1998. The Boreal Felt Lichen in Newfoundland - Geographic Distribution and Dynamics of its Habitats in Forested Landscapes. Forestry, Wildlife and Inland Fish Branch, Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. 63 p.

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Footnote 479

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Kurz, W.A., Dymond, C.C., Stinson, G., Rampley, G.J., Neilson, E.T., Carroll, A.L., Ebata, T. and Safranyik, L. 2008. Mountain pine beetle and forest carbon feedback to climate change. Nature 452:987-990.

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Footnote 483

Krezek-Hanes, C.C., Ahern, F., Cantin, A. and Flannigan, M.D. 2011. Trends in large fires in Canada, 1959-2007. Canadian Biodiversity: Ecosystem Status and Trends 2010, Technical Thematic Report No. 6. Canadian Councils of Resource Ministers. Ottawa, ON. v + 48 p.

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Footnote 484

Gray, D.R. 2008. The relationship between climate and outbreak characteristics of the spruce budworm in eastern Canada. Climatic Change 87:361-383.

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Footnote 485

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Footnote 489

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Footnote 492

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Iqbal, J., Maclean, D.A. and Kershaw, J.A. 2011. Balsam fir sawfly defoliation effects on survival and growth quantified from permanent plots and dendrochronology. Forestry 84:349-362.

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Otvos, I.S. and Moody, B.H. 1978. The spruce budworm in Newfoundland: History, Status and control No. N-X-150. Environment Canada. 76 p.

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Footnote 497

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Raske, A.G. and Alvo, M. 1986. Vulnerability of forest types to spruce budworm damage in Newfoundland: An empirical approach based on large sample size. Forest Ecology and Management 15:31-42.

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Footnote 499

National Forestry Database. 2010. Forest insects - quick facts. Area of moderate to severe defoliation and beetle-killed trees by major insects, 2008 - spruce budworm [online]. Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. http://nfdp.ccfm.org/insects/quick_facts_e.php (accessed 7 July, 2010). Reports generated for spruce budworm and western spruce budworm.

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Footnote 500

van Nostrand, R.S., Moody, B.H. and Bradshaw, D.B. 1981. The forests of Newfoundland, their major pests and fire history. In Review of the spruce budworm outbreak in Newfoundland - Its control and forest management implications. Edited by Hudak, J. and Raske, A.G. Environment Canada, Canadian Forest Service, and Newfoundland Forest Research Centre. St. Johnʹs, Newfoundland. pp. 3-11. 280 pp.

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Footnote 501

Otvos, I.S., L.J.Clarke and D.S.Durling. 1979. A History of Recorded eastern Hemlock looper outbreaks in Newfoundland No. N-X-179. Environment Canada. 46 p.

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Footnote 502

Raske, A.G., R.J.West and A.Retnakaran. 1995. Hemlock looper, Lambdina fiscellaria. In Forest insect pests in Canada. Edited by Armstrong, J.A. and Ives, W.G.H. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service. Ottawa, ON.

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Footnote 503

Carroll, W.J. 1956. History of the hemlock looper, Lambdina fiscellaria fiscellaria (Guen.), (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) in Newfoundland, and notes on its biology. Canadian Entomologist 88:587-599.

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Footnote 504

Parsons, K.A. 2007. Measuring sustainable forest management indicators in Newfoundland and Labrador. Western Newfoundland Model Forest. Corner Brook, NL. 292 p.

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Footnote 505

Bowers, W.W. 1993. Impact of Eastern Hemlock Looper, Lambdina fiscellaria fiscellaria (Guen.), on Balsam Fir forests in Newfoundland. In Proceedings of 197 the Northeastern Forest Pest Council and 25th Annual Northeastern Forest Insect Work Conference, March 8-10. Latham, NY. pp. 17-18.

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Footnote 506

Berthiaume, R., E.Bauce, C.Hebert and J.Brodeur, J. 2007. Developmental polymorphism in a Newfoundland population of the hemlock looper, Lambdina fiscellaria (Lepidoptera: Geometridae). Environmental Entomology 36:707-712.

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Bergerud, A.T. and Mercer, W.E. 1989. Caribou introductions in eastern North America. Wildlife Society