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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion is a complex band of plateaus separated by lower-elevation uplands and lowlands that stretch across northern Nova Scotia from Chignecto Bay to Cape Breton Island. The climate is marked by warm, rainy summers and mild to cold, snowy winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately 6°C. The mean summer temperature is 14.5°C and mean winter temperature is -2.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 1000-1600 mm. The mixedwood forest is composed of sugar and red maple, yellow birch, red and white spruce, and balsam fir. This ecoregion is distinguished from others by the abundance of yellow birch at higher elevations. Other species such as eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, balsam fir, and red and black spruce also occur. The region includes the Cobequid Mountains to the west, the dissected Antigonish Highlands in the centre, and the dissected Cape Breton Hills to the northeast. These highland plateaus are remnants of a Cretaceous peneplain surface, composed of Palaeozoic metamorphics and Proterozoic intrusives and volcanics, and range in elevation 120-300 m asl. The highland plateaus are incised with deep valleys. Undulating to rolling stony glacial till blankets, underlain by Palaeozoic shale, sandstone, and conglomerate, characterize the uplands and lowlands. Loamy Humo-Ferric Podzols predominate, but Ferro-Humic Podzols are common under hardwood stands at higher elevations. Inclusions of Gleysols, Gray Luvisols, Fibrisols on bogs, and Mesisols on fens are significant. The region provides habitat for white-tailed deer, moose, black bear, snowshoe hare, fisher, coyote, and porcupine. Forestry, farming on the lowlands (7% of the ecoregion), and localized blueberry and maple syrup production characterize land use. The major communities include Sydney, Glace Bay, and Antigonish. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 198 700.

This ecoregion is part of the Atlantic Maritime ecozone.