Protected Areas, by Ecological Region
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EcozonesFootnote  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
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
|Map label||Ecozone name||Ecozone area|
|Percentage of region protected|
|L01||Arctic Cordillera||239 093||53 561||22.4|
|L02||Northern Arctic||1 438 050||95 605||6.6|
|L03||Southern Arctic||895 797||150 759||16.8|
|L04||Taiga Plains||522 168||40 821||7.8|
|L05||Taiga Shield||1 261 989||96 540||7.6|
|L06||Boreal Shield||1 868 510||172 323||9.2|
|L07||Atlantic Maritime||115 234||7348||6.4|
|L08||Mixedwood Plains||120 398||2119||1.8|
|L09||Boreal Plains||750 577||58 063||7.7|
|L10||Prairies||459 598||26 071||5.7|
|L11||Montane Cordillera||426 252||79 995||18.8|
|L12||Pacific Maritime||207 298||52 349||25.3|
|L13||Boreal Cordillera||526 803||97 286||18.5|
|L14||Taiga Cordillera||217 462||19 237||8.8|
|L15||Hudson Plains||339 208||43 762||12.9|
|L16||Tundra Cordillera||27 373||10 336||37.8|
|L17||Atlantic Highlands||94 521||3579||3.8|
|L18||Semi-Arid Plateaux||55 927||5262||9.4|
|W01||Strait of Georgia||9928||451||4.5|
|W02||Southern Shelf||28 035||781||2.8|
|W03||Offshore Pacific||312 709||6200||2.0|
|W04||Northern Shelf||102 977||7138||6.9|
|W05||Arctic Basin||788 317||173||0.02|
|W06||Western Arctic||522 234||9722||1.9|
|W07||Arctic Archipelago||260 554||2273||0.87|
|W08||Eastern Arctic||744 346||8631||1.2|
|W09||Hudson Bay Complex||1 183 389||8856||0.75|
|W10||Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves||1 045 494||230||0.02|
|W11||Scotian Shelf||436 012||2399||0.55|
|W12||Gulf of Saint Lawrence||247 270||4718||1.9|
|W13||Great Lakes||90 800||11 666||12.8|
Download data file (Excel/CSV; 1.54 KB)
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.
- Canada's Protected Areas
- Protected Areas, by Province and Territory
- Marine Protected Areas
- Global Trends in Protected Areas
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