Protected Areas, by Ecological Region

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EcozonesFootnote [1] are regions with characteristic ecological features, such as climate and vegetation. The highest percentage of protected areas is found in the Tundra Cordillera ecozone (38%), while five ecozones have less than 1% of their area protected.

Terrestrial ecozones with a high proportion of their area protected tend to be remote or prized for recreation. This is in contrast to regions with high levels of urbanization and development. For example, ecozones in the western mountain ranges have 17% or more of their area protected, but the Mixedwood Plain in southern Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River has only 1.8% of its area protected. Marine areas have not benefited from as long a tradition of protection, and smaller proportions are protected, ranging from 0.02% to 6.9%. Almost 13% of the area of the Great Lakes that is within Canada is protected.

Percentage of ecozones protected, Canada, 2014

Map

Long description

The map shows the percentage of each ecozone that is protected. The Pacific Maritime, the Arctic Cordillera and the Tundra Cordillera ecological regions have the largest proportion of protected area. The Arctic Basin, the Arctic Archipelago, the Hudson Bay Complex, the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves, and the Scotian Shelf marine bioregions have less than 1% of their total area protected.

Data for this map
Percentage of ecozones protected, Canada, 2014
Map labelEcozone nameEcozone area
(km2)
Area protected
(km2)
Percentage of region protected
L01Arctic Cordillera239 09353 56122.4
L02Northern Arctic1 438 05095 6056.6
L03Southern Arctic895 797150 75916.8
L04Taiga Plains522 16840 8217.8
L05Taiga Shield1 261 98996 5407.6
L06Boreal Shield1 868 510172 3239.2
L07Atlantic Maritime115 23473486.4
L08Mixedwood Plains120 39821191.8
L09Boreal Plains750 57758 0637.7
L10Prairies459 59826 0715.7
L11Montane Cordillera426 25279 99518.8
L12Pacific Maritime207 29852 34925.3
L13Boreal Cordillera526 80397 28618.5
L14Taiga Cordillera217 46219 2378.8
L15Hudson Plains339 20843 76212.9
L16Tundra Cordillera27 37310 33637.8
L17Atlantic Highlands94 52135793.8
L18Semi-Arid Plateaux55 92752629.4
W01Strait of Georgia99284514.5
W02Southern Shelf28 0357812.8
W03Offshore Pacific312 70962002.0
W04Northern Shelf102 97771386.9
W05Arctic Basin788 3171730.02
W06Western Arctic522 23497221.9
W07Arctic Archipelago260 55422730.87
W08Eastern Arctic744 34686311.2
W09Hudson Bay Complex1 183 38988560.75
W10Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves1 045 4942300.02
W11Scotian Shelf436 01223990.55
W12Gulf of Saint Lawrence247 27047181.9
W13Great Lakes90 80011 66612.8

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How this indicator was calculated

Note: Ecozones are elements of a framework delineating broad areas with distinctive biophysical characteristics and similar sets of species. For map labels, ecozones are numbered and coded with an "L" for terrestrial regions and "W" for aquatic regions.
Source: For Canada, except Quebec: Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (CCEA) (2015) Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS). For Quebec: Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (2015) Registre des aires protégées au Québec. Data are current as of 31 December, 2014. For Ecozones, Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (2014) Canada Ecozones V5b.

Each ecozone is unique and varied, meaning that protection needs to be carefully planned to include areas representative of different parts of the ecozone and to capture sites of special value.

It is much more challenging to establish protected areas in places that are already used for other purposes, such as agriculture, fishing, industry or living space. There are fewer ecologically intact areas remaining and the existing areas have often been fragmented into many small parcels.

Related information

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