Canada's Vegetation

Canada's Vegetation: A World Perspective

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 404
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  • Book Info
    Canada's Vegetation
    Book Description:

    Canada's Vegetation includes comprehensive sections on tundra, forest-tundra, boreal forest and mixed forest transition, prairie (steppe), Cordilleran environments in western North America, temperate deciduous forests, and wetlands. An overview of each ecosystem is provided, and equivalent vegetation types throughout the world are reviewed and compared with those in Canada.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6509-8
    Subjects: Geography

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-x)
  3. Figures
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Tables
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  6. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xix-2)
  7. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 3-31)

    In 1993 the world’s human population approached the 5.7 billion mark. While numerous species can boast that they surpass this figure by many fold, many can not, and still many more will soon become extinct. Recent calculations indicate a minimum of anywhere from 30 to 50 million plant and animal species on our planet, but of these, perhaps only 1.75 million have been scientifically classified and given binomials (Wilson, 1992). We have only recently discovered that this biological diversity is primarily due to the vastness of species variety, particularly among insects such as the microarthropods, in the more humid tropics....

  8. CHAPTER TWO Tundra
    (pp. 32-64)

    Tundra vegetation consists of the low moss-herbaceous and sometimes shrubby ecosystems characteristic of areas between ice deserts and forest. The term “tundra” is derived from the Finnish wordtunturimeaning “completely treeless heights” (Chernov, 1985). Primarily a circum-Arctic formation, tundra (ZB IX) extends across the northern edge of North America and Eurasia, with major areas in Alaska, the Northwest Territories, and northern Russia. An area close to nearly three million square kilometres is found in Siberia alone. Smaller areas are located in Quebec, Greenland, and Iceland and in some of the sub-Antarctic islands such as Kerguelen, Macquarie, South Georgia, and...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Forest-Tundra or Boreal-Tundra Ecotone
    (pp. 65-81)

    The term “boreal-tundra ecotone” (ZE VIII–IX) is defined in a number of different ways in the literature (Timoney et al., 1992; Larsen, 1989; Payette, 1983). As used here, it describes that environment found between areas of tundra (usually shrub tundra, where the true tree growth form is absent) and, on its warmer side, continuous boreal forest (Figure 1.3). Many authors consider this whole region as an ecotone or transitional zone between tundra and true boreal forest, because throughout the region is found a mosaic or matrix of tundra-like communities coexisting with stands of coniferous trees (Sirois, 1992; Larsen, 1989;...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Boreal Forest (Taiga) and Mixed Forest Transition
    (pp. 82-120)

    As with the forest-tundra, the boreal forest is a northern hemisphere vegetation formation (Zonobiome VIII). Because these forests are dominated by conifers from thePicea, Pinus, Larix,andAbiesgenera, this zone can also be called the boreal coniferous forest (Greller, 1989). The term “taiga” is frequently used interchangeably with that of boreal forest, and it is derived from the Russian word for coniferous forest. Some authors give a narrower definition for “taiga,” considering it to include only those portions of the boreal forest between the southern boundary of the foresttundra and the closed crown coniferous forest to the south...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Prairie (Steppe)
    (pp. 121-156)

    The prairie, or steppe, environment consists of grasslands and parklands in middle latitudes where climate is semi-arid to subhumid (Figure 1.1). This is the equivalent of the arid-temperate climate of Walter (Zonobiome VII in Figure 1.2). “Prairie” is the most frequently used term for describing this North American environment, although some authors prefer “steppe” (Daubenmire, 1978). The term “steppe” is most commonly used in eastern Europe and western Asia. In addition to these better known Holarctic grasslands, this vegetation type is often extended to include grasslands in Mongolia, northern China, the Middle East, the High Veldt of South Africa, the...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Cordilleran Environments in Western North America
    (pp. 157-189)

    Cordilleran, or mountain, systems present a major problem when vegetation is discussed on a continental or world scale, primarily because even a single mountain system presents a mosaic of vegetation types which may show little in the way of physiognomic similarity. When two mountain systems are under discussion, the differences of geographic location compound the problem. Take, for example, a transect across the Andean cordillera in central Peru or the Canadian cordillera. In Peru the transect may include desert, alpine tundra, temperate evergreen forest, cloud forest, savanna, and rain forest, none of which includes conifers; in Canada the transect includes...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Temperate Deciduous Forest
    (pp. 190-217)

    Temperate deciduous forests conjure up visions of soft green foliage, bright orange fall leaves, and scraggy grey winter branches - they in fact constitute one of the most beautiful vegetation formations worldwide and have been immortalized both in painting and on film since the dawn of either medium. With perhaps the exception of fall colours, no particular seasonal condition is remarkable in itself, but it is the variety of phenological conditions which gives this formation its attraction and holds our attention. Unlike the lush tropical rain forest of Brazil or the rugged spruce forests of the Canadian Shield, this vegetation...

  14. CHAPTER EIGHT Wetlands
    (pp. 218-260)

    The term “wetland” can be defined as “land that has the water table at, near, or above the land surface or which is saturated for a long enough period to promote wetland or aquatic processes as indicated by hydric soils, hydromorphic vegetation, and various kinds of biological activity that are adapted to the wet environment” (Tarnocai, 1980, p. 10). This broad definition therefore includes those environments inherent in other, narrower traditional descriptive terms such as “moor,” “muskeg,” “mire,” and “peatland.” In effect, wetlands are “neither ֹ‘firm’ lands in the conventional sense nor bodies of water; hence they occupy a transitional...

  15. CHAPTER NINE Conclusion
    (pp. 261-266)

    The word “conclusion” has a very final ring to it. It is almost like suggesting that the analysis is done and that the truth can now be revealed. When it comes to the discussion of Canada’s vegetation cover, however, this is far from being realistic.

    One misconception the preceding chapters might leave is that our vegetation mosaic can be viewed as something static. This interpretation is incorrect for a number of reasons, the first being the constant cycle of natural disturbance and successional renewal brought about by such agencies as fire, flood, insect attack, and windthrow. Biogeographical and ecological studies...

    (pp. 267-286)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 287-332)
  18. Index
    (pp. 333-361)