The flora of the entire northern part of Canada is arctic and subarctic. A substantial part of the Maritime provinces is covered by forests of mixed hardwoods and softwoods. The Prairie provinces were in their natural state grasslands and are thus comparatively treeless as far north as the Saskatchewan river system; prairie grasses, herbage, and bunchgrasses are the chief forms of vegetation. North of the Saskatchewan a broad belt of rather small and sparse trees extends from Hudson Bay to Great Slave Lake and the Rocky Mountains. Spruce, tamarack, and poplar are the principal species. The dry slopes and valleys of the Rocky Mountains support thin forests, mainly pine, but the forests increase in density and the trees in size westward towards the region of greater rainfall. On the coast ranges, especially on their western slopes, are dense forests of mighty evergreen trees. The principal trees are the spruce, hemlock, Douglas and balsam firs, jack and lodgepole pines, and cedar.
AThe animals of Canada are very similar or identical to those of northern Europe and Asia. Among the carnivores are several species of the weasel subfamily, such as the ermine, sable, fisher, wolverine, and mink. Other representative carnivores include the black bear, grizzly bear, lynx, wolf, coyote, fox, and skunk. The polar bear is distributed throughout the arctic regions; the puma is found in British Columbia. Of the rodents, the most characteristic is the beaver.
The Canadian porcupine, the muskrat, and many smaller rodents are numerous, as are hare, and in the Interior Plains a variety of burrowing gopher is found.
Several varieties of Virginia deer are indigenous to southern Canada; the black-tailed deer occurs in British Columbia and parts of the plains region. This region is also the habitat of the pronghorn antelope. The woodland caribou and the moose are numerous and widely distributed, but the Barren Ground caribou is found only in the more northern areas, which are also the habitat of the musk ox. Elk and bison are found in various western areas. In the mountains of British Columbia bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goats are numerous. Birds are abundant and diverse, and fish are numerous in all the inland waters and along all the coasts. Reptiles are scarce except in the far south, as are insects, except for mosquitoes, which occur in vast numbers in the mainland Northwest Territories and Nunavut during the brief summers. "Canada" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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