Common menu bar links

Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada

Principal Habitats within the Park

Forest area: 13,407 ha (54% of Park area)
Map showing the Park principal habitats. Each habitat is represented by a different color. A caption allows the user to click on any of the six habitats and obtain details on the chosen habitat.Map showing the Park principal habitats. Each habitat is represented by a different color. A caption allows the user to click on any of the six habitats and obtain details on the chosen habitat.Map showing the Park principal habitats. Each habitat is represented by a different color. A caption allows the user to click on any of the six habitats and obtain details on the chosen habitat.
Map showing the Park principal habitats. Each habitat is represented by a different color. A caption allows the user to click on any of the six habitats and obtain details on the chosen habitat.
© Parks Canada
Click here to view a larger version
The forests of Kouchibouguac National Park are part of the Acadian Forest which characterizes the Maritime Plain Natural Region. Forest and forest regrowth cover all upland areas of the Park except where soils are too wet or unstable (bogs an barrier dunes) to sustain tree growth. Twenty-four tree species are distributed in a mosaic of stands. Near roads and old settlements, there are many small mixed stands grading from one to another in response to pre-park logging, fire and successive reforestation of previously cultivated lands. In the Park's more remote areas, larger, more uniform stands, relatively undisturbed by human activity, alternate with peat bogs and fens. Thirty-seven forest types have been identified in the Park. Coniferous forests dominate, accounting for about 70% of the wooded area of the Park, while hardwoods occupy about 23% and mixed forests 7%.
Peat Bogs: 4970 ha (21% of Park area)

The bogs of Kouchibouguac are typical of the Maritime Plain Natural Region, caused by peat accumulation in wet depressions. Eventually theses depressions could no longer hold all the rainwater attracted by the sponge-like peat. Forest at the edges of these soggy areas drowned, allowing the bogs to grow. The peat deposits have been measured up to six metres deep at the domed centres of the bogs. Ericaceous heath plants usually form the predominant ground cover, with trees being very sparse. Kouchibouguac's bogs are about 5000 years old.

Salt marshes: 688 ha (3%)

Salt marshes are found on low, wet shores of estuaries and lagoons under tidal influence. The vegetation here is particularly well adapted to survival in a habitat with high salt concentrations. Seventy-two plant species have been identified in the Park's salt marshes, eight of which are shrubs, three are mosses and 61 are herbaceous. While the Park is not recognized as a particularly important breeding area for waterfowl, most of those that breed here do so in the salt marshes.

Barrier Island System: 495 ha (2% of Park area)

The Barrier Islands are the Park's most distinctive coastal feature. North Kouchibouguac Dune, South Kouchibouguac Dune and North Richibucto Dune from a system of wave-built islands and spits backed by lagoons and estuaries. Barrier Islands are among the most dynamic of coastal land forms, undergoing continual changes caused by wind and wave activity, ice scour and tidal currents and circulation. Plants well adapted to the stresses of blowing sand, excessive dryness, wind and salt only sparingly colonize them. Marram grass (Ammophila brevigulata) is the only plant that can stabilize sand initially and it dominates the vegetation on the active sand dunes.

Estuarine System: 4275 ha (18% of Park area)

The lagoons and estuaries of the Park form a rich, dynamic ecosystem. The diverse wildlife found here includes gaspereau, tomcod, black duck, teal, osprey, mussels, crabs and oysters. Flora includes widgeon grass and eelgrass. Tides: 1.15 m (average tidal range). Tidal changes lag one to three hours behind those in the Northumberland Strait depending upon wind speed and direction. Salinity: 27%-30%. Water Temperature: 7.5o C June 10, 24.5o C August 6, 20.0o C August 29. Currents: max. (river and lagoon channels) 1.25m/sec. (very fast), min. (on lagoonal flats) .05-.025m/sec. (slow).

Freshwater Habitats: (1% of Park area)

Freshwater habitats are not a significant park feature. They comprise small rivers, brooks and numerous ponds all located in bogs. Livain Lake and Jardine Lake are the only two lakes, and they are shallow and quite acid. All freshwater is highly coloured with organic matter seepage from bogs and fens.

View a detailed description of this map in accessible text format