This map, with a few exceptions, shows the geographical boundary (in red) for the Arctic Flora of Canada and Alaska. The Flora boundary follows the limits of the arctic ecozone as defined by the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map Team (CAVM 2003), with a few modifications. Western Alaska is excluded from the Flora region, and Wapusk National Park is outside the main boundary line (but within the HBC zone defined below).
The Flora region includes the north slope of Alaska, arctic northern Yukon, about one third of the Northwest Territories, most of Nunavut, extreme northeastern Manitoba, northern Quebec, and a small portion of northern Newfoundland and Labrador. Within Hudson Bay, the Sleeper Islands, Belcher Islands, Ottawa Islands, Hopewell Islands and the northern Nastapoka Islands — all part of Nunavut — are part of the Flora region.
The Hudson Bay coastal region (HBC) in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. The HBC south of the main boundary line of the Flora is an arctic-boreal borderline region that comprises a complex mix of arctic, boreal, and intermediate vegetation types; determining a "cut-off" line in the region defining what is and is not Arctic is difficult. Portions of the Hudson Bay lowlands have variously been considered to be part of the Canadian Arctic (e.g., Pointe Louis XIV in Quebec, Long Island in Hudson Bay, Nunavut, part of Wapusk National Park in northern Manitoba, and Cape Henrietta Marie in Ontario). The HBC area was not included in the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map, with the exception of a small portion of Wapusk National Park (from Cape Churchill south to the Owl River and inland 10 km from Hudson Bay) that was included without explanation.
The HBC will be given special consideration in the Flora. All arctic species (i.e., all species that occur north of the main Flora boundary line) in the HBC will be treated and mapped in the Flora. The HBC will be defined for the purposes of this Flora as including the mainland coast to 20 km inland and the coastal islands that are south of the main Flora boundary (i.e., all of the Hudson Bay coast in Ontario, most in Manitoba, and the southern one third in Quebec). This arbitrary 20 km zone encompasses all the arctic vegetation communities in the Hudson Bay lowlands and is thus appropriate for mapping arctic species in this region. The Hudson Bay coastal region is not shown in red on the map. A small portion of Wapusk National Park is included in red on the map, but this region is outside the main Flora boundary.
Boreal species that are found in the HBC but not within the main Flora boundary will not be treated in the Flora. Authors are encouraged to mention HBC boreal species in taxon discussion sections as they see appropriate.
The following areas are not part of the Flora region:
- Western Alaska, equivalent to the Western Alaska floristic province of the Panarctic Flora (Elven et al. 2011): This region is excluded from the Flora because it comprises a distinct Beringian element that is floristically very different from the rest of the North American Arctic.
- Greenland: Greenland is excluded primarily because of difficulties in accessing collections (most are in Denmark) and their lack of digitization.
- An upland region in northern Quebec (Plateau du Lac Nedlouc) surrounding Lake Nedlouc: This region is transitional between the boreal forest and the arctic tundra and has a strong arctic floristic element. This region is classified as tundra–forest tundra by Payette (1976, 1983), and is considered to be part of the boreal zone (Brandt 2009). It is not included in the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map, and is not part of the Flora region. However, this plateau is an important part of the distribution range of many Arctic taxa, similar to the Hudson Bay Lowland region (above). Therefore the Flora will include distributional and, where pertinent, other data (e.g., ecological, taxonomic, etc.) from the plateau regions for Arctic species that extend into them. Taxa that occur on the Plateau du Lac Nedlouc but not elsewhere in the Flora region will not be treated.
The image above is a modified (by P. Sokoloff) version of the Circumpolar Arctic Vegetation Map (CAVM Team 2003) floristic provinces shapefile (cp_florprov.kmz), displayed in Google Earth. The original map data file is available at http://www.arcticatlas.org/maps/catalog/index.
To view the map dynamically in Google Earth, download our modified shapefile here: goo.gl/fsHr1.
Full details on the development of the Circumpolar Arctic vegetation map are given in Walker et al. (2005).
Want to know more about Arctic vegetation? Explore the (many) papers by D.A. Walker and colleagues.
The Flora region includes several protected areas:
- Ivvavik National Park of Canada (Yukon)
- Part of Vuntut National Park of Canada (Yukon) -- the British Mountains in the northeastern and northwestern Park
- Herschel Island-Qikiqtaurk Territorial Park
- Tuktut Nogait National Park of Canada (Northwest Territories)
- Aulavik National Park of Canada (Banks Island, Northwest Territories)
- Pingo Canadian Landmark (Northwest Territories)
- Auyuittuq National Park of Canada (Nunavut)
- Quittinirpaaq National Park of Canada (Ellesemere Island, Nunavut)
- Sirmilik National Park of Canada (Baffin Island, Nunavut)
- Ukkusiksalik National Park of Canada (Nunavut)
- Torngat Mountains National Park of Canada (Newfoundland and Labrador)
- Part of Wapusk National Park (Manitoba) - a small portion along the Hudson Bay Coast