Natural Vegetation Regions
Plants need both heat and moisture in order to survive. The relative amount of heat and moisture in an area will determine which plants will be able to grow there. For example, tropical rainforests grow where the temperatures are warm and the climate is moist; and, cacti grow in warm, dry climates. Areas with distinct types of natural vegetation are classified as different natural vegetation regions.
Natural vegetation is the type of vegetation that we get in a region without human disturbance. The vegetation we find cultivated from humans is quite different from that of natural vegetation because Natural Vegetation depends on the Climatic and Soil condition. Climate, fauna and soils affect natural vegetation. In turn vegetation affects each of them. Plants must have moisture and heat to a certain degree of growth the level of this is how we determine the vegetative regions. There are various types of vegetative regions: Desert (warm no vegetation and very little precipitation), Tundra (cold temperature with little precipitation and shrubs), short grasslands (warm and little rain), Tall grasslands (warm temperatures and little rain), Boreal Forest (semi cold and coniferous trees), Mixed Forest (moderate temperature with coniferous and deciduous trees and medium precipitation), Deciduous forest (fairly hot temperature with fair amount of rain and only deciduous trees) and Rainforest (any temperature, any type of vegetation and extreme precipitation).
widespread across the eastern United States and extending into southwestern Ontario between Lakes Huron, Erie and Ontario. Some southern deciduous trees have their northern limits in this region: tulip tree, cucumber tree, pawpaw, red mulberry, Kentucky coffee tree, sassafras, black oak and pin oak. Conifers are few but there is a scattered distribution of eastern white pine, Tamarack, eastern red cedar and eastern hemlock.
Mixed Forest surrounds the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River Valley. It is the most densely populated part of Canada and also the most intensely used area. Once heavily forested, very little of the original forest remains today. Centuries of agriculture, logging, and urbanization have fragmented the landscape into isolated pockets of forests. Originally, eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, yellow birch, red pine, sugar maple, red oak, basswood, and white elm were widely distributed.
West Coast Forest
The West Coast Forest is located along the west coast of British Columbia.
It makes up the second largest vegetation region of the three regions within B.C.
The West Coast Forest has many regions classified as rainforest and the rest are very close to it. The trees are lush and thick, they include Douglas fir, Sitka, Spruce, Red Cedar, and Western Hemlock. There is obviously heavy rainfall within this region. The Climate is moderated by the ocean and made warmer by the ocean current around it. The soils are also very poor within the A horizon due to excessive leaching. Thus only trees could grow in this region and not many plants are found.
14 Canada's Soil & Natural Vegetation Connections (p. 159-171)
Tundra is the dominant land type of the Arctic and subarctic regions. Tundra also exists above the timberline in the Western Cordillera, but the discussion here is generally confined to the northern tundra. With long, cold winters, short, cool summers, and low precipitation, the soils are thin or absent, and the vegetation is sparse. The tundra is highly susceptible to environmental damage. Because of the small number of plant and animal species and the fragility of the food chains, damage to any element of the habitat may have an immediate chain reaction through the system. The permafrost (persistently frozen ground) is easily damaged by heavy equipment and by oil spills. The Inuit, who fish, hunt, and trap for a living, are directly affected by abuses of the ecology.Considering the climatic conditions, tundra vegetation is quite varied. The long daylight periods of spring and summer contribute to sudden, rapid growth. Although the rock deserts are almost devoid of vegetation, relatively fast-growing mosses often surround large rocks. In rock crevices such plants as the purple saxifrage survive, and the rock surfaces themselves may support lichens, some of the orange and vermilion species adding colour to the landscape. Lichen tundra is found in the drier and better-drained parts. Mosses are common, and some species may dominate the landscape to such an extent that it appears snow-covered. The heath and alpine tundra support dwarf, often berry-bearing, shrubs, and the ground between usually is covered with a thick carpet of lichens and mosses.
The distinctive animals of the tundra are seals and polar bears, the latter feeding on seals, and musk oxen, caribou, arctic hares, and lemmings, which feed on the tundra vegetation and are prey for wolves and white Arctic foxes. Few birds make the tundra their year-round habitat, great snowy owls and ptarmigan being exceptions. Numerous birds that normally live in mild climates, however, often fly to the tundra for nesting. Two large birds that do this are the snow goose and the Canada goose
Boreal and Taiga Forest
The Boreal and Taiga Forest make up the largest vegetative region within Canada, but it is the smallest one within B.C. The Region is located in a small space in the northeast part of B.C.
Within this region we only have coniferous trees, this includes trees such as white and black spruce, balsam fir and pine. This region receives a fair amount of precipitation to survive off of as they receive a little more precipitation than the tundra region does receive just above them. The soil in this region is grey coloured as result of there not being very much humus in its top layer. The soil is very acidic because of the needle trees. The needles from the trees are acidic and as they decompose they leave behind the acid in the soil. Thus this region is very infertile for agriculture. This region also has a very short growing season due to little precipitation and a cold climate.
The Cordilleran Vegetation makes up most of B.C.’s vegetative regions. It makes up the entire province except for the small rectangular shaped division of the Boreal and Taiga Forest located in the north east and the sliver of the West Coast Forest running along the coast.
The climate in the Cordilleran Vegetation varies depending on elevation. The valleys tend to have warmer temperatures than the high mountains. Because of the ocean and the mountains there is heavier rainfall on the west side than on the east side because of relief precipitation. The vegetation is greatly affected by this. The grasses and cactuses tend to grow in the dry, hot valleys on the east side and the Forests are located on the west. In addition sometimes the steep slopes allow nothing to grow on them. Also Forests in this region tend to be coniferous. The kind of vegetation also greatly depends on elevation. The Forests are located on the bottom of the mountains whereas when it gets higher we get above the tree line and we start to see tundra-like vegetation. Soils of all types can be found on the mountains of the Cordilleran Vegetation region. The type of soil once again depends on slope, rainfall, and vegetation within the Cordilleran Vegetation.