St. Lawrence Lowlands


Natural Region 29

VEGETATION AND WILDLIFE:

Of all the natural regions in Canada, this region encompasses the greatest biodiversity. Five biogeographic zones are found in this region: Carolinian forest, deciduous forest and mixed wood forest in the western and central units; mid-boreal and high-boreal forests in the eastern unit.

The Carolinean zone, restricted in Canada to the western unit of Region 29, is characterized by flora and fauna whose ranges extend far to the south. The most diverse flora and fauna in Canada are found here.

Wood Duck
Wood Duck
© Parks Canada

Although the vegetation is typified by a broadleaf forest of sugar maple, American beech, basswood, white oak, red oak, shagbark hickory, black walnut and butternut, farm fields and man-altered sites are the norm today. Wildlife that thrives in this zone today must be able to take advantage of agricultural crops and suburban habitats. Many common species, such as white-tailed deer, grey squirrel, coyote, starling, house sparrow and ringbilled gull, are recent arrivals to this region. Reptiles include several endangered species (eastern spiny soft-shelled turtle, Blanding's turtle, box turtle, and fox snake, among others) and eastern Canada's only lizard, the five-lined skink.

Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warbler
© Parks Canada

The climax forest in the deciduous forest zone is dominated by sugar maple and American beech, with hemlock dominant on shady north-facing slopes. White pine, red pine and red oak dominate the dry ridge tops.

In the mixed wood forest zone, undisturbed sites consist of sugar maple, yellow birch, eastern hemlock and white pine.

Boreal species such as white spruce, black spruce and balsam fir dominate in cool, damp habitats. Moose, wolf, snowshoe hare, martin, spruce grouse and other boreal species intermix with species more typical of southern areas such as the cardinal, white-tailed deer and raccoon.


National Parks System Plan, 3rd Edition

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