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Canada is a vast country comprised of a multitude of very different landscapes: Atlantic provinces, the Appalachians, St. Lawrence and Great Lakes lowlands, Canadian Shield, The Prairies, mountain ranges and high plateaus of the Canadian Cordillera, and northern Canada.
In Canada, there are 20 ecozones, consisting of 15 terrestrial and 5 marine units. The vegetation varies from one ecozone to another. Forests cover totally or partially nine ecozones: Pacific Maritime, Montane Cordillera, Boreal Cordillera, Taiga Plains, Boreal Plains, Prairie, Boreal Shield, Mixedwood Plains, and Atlantic Maritime.
A geological province is an extensive region characterized by rocks and structures of varying types and ages. Canada has seventeen geological provinces consisting of a shield, platforms, orogens and continental shelves. Nunavut includes four of the geological provinces: Innuitian Orogen, Arctic Platform, Hudson Bay Lowlands, and Bear Province.
Ecozones are one of several levels of ecological regions that cover all of Canada. An ecozone is a discrete system, which has resulted from the mesh and interplay of geology, landform, soil, vegetation, climate, wildlife, water and human factors. Four of the fifteen terrestrial ecozones of Canada are found in Nunavut: Northern Arctic, Arctic Cordillera, Southern Arctic, and Taiga Shield.
This map shows the location of the eastern physiographic regions which include the Appalachian Region and the St. Lawrence Lowlands.
This map shows the average maximum snow depth in centimetres computed over 18 winter seasons (1979 to 1997). Over southern Canada this usually occurs in January or February, while the time of maximum accumulation occurs much later in mountain areas and in the Arctic. The main features of the map are the pronounced maximum in snow accumulation over the western Cordillera, where snow depths can exceed several metres, with a secondary maximum over Quebec and Labrador. These maxima are related to their proximity to oceans, which act as sources of moisture and winter storms, and to the orographic effect of the mountains in the case of western Canada.
The sensitivity of peatlands to climate warming is shown on this map. Peatlands are massive deposits of peat, a material consisting largely of organic residue that acts as a natural sink for carbon. With global warming, however, they have the potential to become immense sources of greenhouse gases, and contribute significantly to further warming. The geographic areas where peatland will be most affected are the Hudson Bay lowlands, the Mackenzie River valley region and the northern parts of Alberta and Manitoba.
Forty-five percent of the Canadian territory is forested corresponding to 417.6 million hectares. There are 234.5 million hectares of commercial forests and 0.4% is harvested each year. The forested areas managed for timber production are mostly located in the Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime, Montane Cordillera and Pacific Maritime ecozones.
The map shows the mean total precipitation in the month of July. Throughout much of the continental interior of Canada, precipitation reaches its annual maximum in the summer months and falls as rain. On the Prairies, the maximum monthly precipitation is usually in June or July, but this shifts to August at more northerly latitudes and in Ontario and Quebec. On both the west and east coasts, summer is the driest time of the year, particularly on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast of southwestern British Columbia.
The Atlantic Provinces have a higher proportion of low birthweight births than most other areas in Canada. As one moves west through the Prairies, then to British Columbia, and finally to the territories, the low birthweight births decrease by region. Low birthweight (LBW) is a health status indicator, and is defined as babies born with weight under 2500 grams. The proportion of low birthweight babies born to mothers 15 years of age and older indicates the health and well-being of a population.