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Softwood (Boreal) Shield

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Map Legend & Subregion List

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NameColor on MapCEC Code‡
Athabasca Plain and Churchill River Uplands5.1.1
Lake Nipigon and Lac Seul Uplands5.1.2
Central Laurentians and Mecatina Plateau5.1.3
Newfoundland Island5.1.4
Hayes River Uplands and Big Trout Lake5.1.5
Abitibi Plains and Rivière Rupert Plateau5.1.6

† Status: ✓ = Complete ○ = Needs Image … = Incomplete ∅ = Stub Only

This code refers to the CEC's Level 3 ecoregion codes for North America, see here.


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About the Softwood (Boreal) Shield

The Softwood Shield is a Level II Ecoregion of the US EPA; in Canada it is called the Boreal Shield Ecozone. This region is the largest ecozone in Canada. It represents the overlap or intersections of the boreal forest by the region covered by Canadian Shield bedrock.

Vegetation in this region consists mostly of coniferous forest; the forest cover is denser and more consistent than in the Taiga regions to the north. Owing to the dominance of conifers and the cold temperatures, the soil is acidic and nutrient availability is low.

There are abundant lakes, small and large, and many rivers begin in this area.

Although not heavily populated, this region is heavily subjected to forestry, and to some degree, mining and other uses. Only a small portion of this area is protected. Much of the area has been subject to fire suppression, insect control, logging (often clear-cutting), and planting of monoculture tree plantations.

To the north, this region is bordered by the more sparsely-forested Taiga Shield and the even-more-open Hudson Plain, and to the south by the Mixed Wood Shield, where hardwoods become more common, except in the west, where it instead opens up to the Boreal Plain. At the westernmost limit of this region, it also borders the Taiga Plain.