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Ecological Framework of Canada

Levels of Generalization

The Ecological Framework for Canada defines four levels of ecosystems as a nested hierarchy of areas. Definitions and the number of map units for the four levels of generalization are outlined below.



At the top of the hierarchy, it defines the ecological mozaic of Canada on a sub-continental scale. They represent an area of the earth's surface representative of large and very generalized ecological units characterized by interactive and adjusting abiotic and biotic factors. Canada is divided into 15 terrestrial ecozones.


A subdivision of an ecozone characterized by major assemblages of structural or surface forms, faunal realms, and vegetation, hydrology, soil, and macro climate. For example, the Newfoundland ecoprovince (no. 6.4) is one of six ecoprovinces within the Boreal Shield Ecozone.


A subdivision of an ecoprovince characterized by distinctive regional ecological factors, including climate, physiography, vegetation, soil, water, and fauna. For example, the Maritime Barrens ecoregion (no. 114) is one of nine ecoregions within the Newfoundland ecoprovince.


A subdivision of an ecoregion characterized by a distinctive assemblages of relief, landforms, geology, soil, vegetation, water bodies and fauna. For example, the Jeddore Lake ecodistrict (no. 473) is one of five within the Maritime Barrens ecoregion.

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