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Ecological Framework of Canada
Taiga Shield Ecozone


  1. Yellow Pond Lily
  2. Cat tail
  3. Sedge
  4. Water Parsnip
  5. Water Smartweed
  6. Water Horsetail
  7. Water Arum
  8. Marsh Five-finger
  9. Willow
  10. Ground Juniper
  11. Kinnikinick
  12. Fruticose Lichens
  13. Dwarf Birch
  14. Goldenrod
  15. Grass of Parnassus
  16. Shrubby Cinquefoil
  17. Sweet Gale
  18. Green Alder
  19. Paper Birch
  20. Black Spruce
  21. Layering in Black Spruce
  22. Labrador Tea
  23. Northern Commandra
  24. Wild Rose
  25. Wood Horsetail
  26. Wild Chives
  27. Twinflower
  28. Feathermoss
  29. Fire-charred log
  30. Soapberry
  31. Crowberry
  32. Cupidberry
  33. Bearberry
  34. High-bush Cranberry
  35. Cotton-grass
  36. Fireweed
  37. Tamarack
  38. Tree Lichens
  39. Fire Snag
  40. Trembling Aspen
  41. White Spruce
  42. Jack Pine
  43. Crustose Lichens
  44. Rock Harlequin
  45. Fragrant Shield Fern
  46. Creeping Juniper
  47. Prickly Saxifrage
  48. Mountain Cranberry
  49. Gooseberry

Cool temperatures, a short growing season, frequent forest fires, and thin, acidic soils covering permafrost are among the many challenges faced by plants in this ecozone. The open, stunted forests of the Taiga Shield are dominated by a few highly adaptable tree species such as Black Spruce and Jack Pine. These forests are mixed with innumerable bogs and other wetlands, scattered stands of Paper Birch and Trembling Aspen, and bare rock outcrops dominated by colourful lichens and ground-hugging shrubs.

Forest fires add to the distinctive mosaic of the Taiga Shield by creating a patchwork quilt of plant communities that vary widely in species composition and age. Although fire often destroys large areas of forest and occasionally threatens human activities or property, it also has a renewing effect on the landscape by triggering new growth, purging forests of insect pests and disease, and increasing the variety of habitats available to wildlife.

Permafrost is another major influence, especially in low areas where the soggy ground or active layer above the permafrost regularly freezes and thaws. As trees grow in these ever-shifting soils, they often tip in random directions, giving the impression of a "drunken forest."