Protected Areas, by Ecological Region

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EcozonesFootnote [1] are regions with distinct or characteristic ecological features, such as climate and vegetation. Three ecozones, the Tundra Cordillera, the Pacific Maritime and the Arctic Cordillera have more than 20% of their area protected, while less than 1% of the area of five ecozones is protected.

Terrestrial ecozones with a high proportion of area protected tend to be remote or have high recreation value. This is in contrast to regions with high levels of urbanization and development, which tend to have small proportions of area protected. For example, ecozones in the western mountain ranges have 17% or more of their area protected, but the Mixedwood Plains, in southern Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River, has only 1.8% of its area protected.

While marine areas have not benefited from as long a tradition of protection, 7.0% of the Northern Shelf off the coast of British Columbia is protected. In the other marine ecozones, much smaller proportions, ranging from 0.02% to 4.7%, are protected. Thirteen percent (13%) of the Canadian area of the Great Lakes is protected.

Percentage of ecozones protected, Canada, 2015


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. Less than 1% of the Arctic Basin, the Arctic Archipelago, the Hudson Bay Complex, the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelves, and the Scotian Shelf marine regions are protected.

Data for this map
Percentage of ecozones protected, Canada, 2015
Map labelEcozone nameEcozone area
Area protected
Percentage of region protected
L01Arctic Cordillera233 61853 69923.0
L02Northern Arctic1 481 480106 2917.2
L03Southern Arctic957 139150 76015.8
L04Taiga Plains554 01438 1606.9
L05Taiga Shield1 322 786105 7638.0
L06Boreal Shield1 897 362183 7669.7
L07Atlantic Maritime110 59077127.0
L08Mixedwood Plains116 20620921.8
L09Boreal Plains779 47158 0457.4
L10Prairies465 99027 2465.8
L11Montane Cordillera437 76180 00618.3
L12Pacific Maritime216 94252 44924.2
L13Boreal Cordillera557 93797 31117.4
L14Taiga Cordillera231 16119 3028.4
L15Hudson Plains350 69343 77412.5
L16Tundra Cordillera28 980715924.7
L17Atlantic Highlands93 01735523.8
L18Semi-Arid Plateaux56 43452639.3
W01Strait of Georgia89694254.7
W02Southern Shelf28 1587832.8
W03Offshore Pacific315 72462002.0
W04Northern Shelf101 66371417.0
W05Arctic Basin752 0531650.02
W06Western Arctic539 80796971.8
W07Arctic Archipelago268 79222670.84
W08Eastern Arctic782 63686561.1
W09Hudson Bay Complex1 244 67088570.7
W10Newfoundland-Labrador Shelves1 054 2402150.02
W11Scotian Shelf416 29623990.6
W12Gulf of Saint Lawrence246 64846881.9
W13Great Lakes88 25011 67213.2

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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. Ecozones are numbered and coded with an "L" for terrestrial regions and "W" for aquatic regions.
Source: Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (2016) Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System (CARTS). Data are current as of December 31, 2015. For Ecozones, Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (2014) Canada Ecozones V5b.

Each ecozone is unique and protection involves the inclusion of areas that are representative of different parts of the ecozone and sites of special value. Challenges to establishing protected areas include competition from other uses, such as agriculture, fishing, industry or living space, and may be limited by the extent of ecologically intact areas within the ecozone.

Related information

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