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Mixed Wood Shield

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Map Legend & Subregion List

This list will help you navigate the regions in case you have problems with viewing or clicking the interactive map above.

NameColor on MapCEC Code*
Northern Minnesota Wetlands5.2.2
Northern Lakes and Forests5.2.1
Algonquin/Southern Laurentians5.2.3

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

About the Mixed Wood Shield

The Mixed Wood Shield is region stretching east-west in the northermost parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, into Canada and east to about Quebec City. This region represents the portion of the continent covered by the Canadian Shield bedrock that is covered by mixed (hardwood-coniferous) forest.

This region has a humid continental climate with warm summers and very cold winters, and no dry season. It represents a transition between the northern coniferous forests and the more southerly hardwood forests. Coniferous, hardwood, and mixed forests can all be found in this region. There are also more open swampy forests and peatlands.

The human population is low, but this area has been heavily altered by humans, both due to logging and slash-and-burn practices, and (often-failed) attempts at agriculture. This region represents the northern margins of where traditional Western society's agriculture can be carried out. Clearing of forests in this region may have resulted in more hardwoods, as aspen is one of the dominant early successional species here. This region has also been shaped by fire suppression. There is significant forestry and mining here, as well as oil and natural gas extraction.

To the north lies the softwood or boreal shield, dominated by coniferous forest, and to the south the Mixed Wood Plains, the beginning of the Eastern Temperate Forests region. At the far west of this region lie the Temperate Prairies.