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The Mixedwood Plains extends along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor,
including the densely-populated region of southern Ontario.
Smallest of the ecozones, the Mixedwood Plains is nonetheless home to
half of Canada's population. Its cool winters (average temperature -5șC)
and warm summers (average temperature 17șC) are prone to highly changeable
weather, as the ecozone is in one of the major storm tracks of North
Plains and gently rolling hills are found here. Several major waterways
and lakes, from three of the great lakes to the St. Lawrence river and
its tributaries, dominate much of the region. Deposits from ancient
water bodies and glaciers make the soil here the most productive in
Canada. Carbonate-rich Paleozoic bedrock characterizes the geology of
the Mixedwood Plains.
Urbanization and agriculture have reduced the ancient forests drastically.
A mix of coniferous and deciduous trees are found here. Some of the
coniferous trees include white
red cedar, and eastern
white cedar. Sugar
maple, red maple, striped maple, silver maple, red
oak, chestnut oak, chinquapin
ash, sassafras, tulip
tree, sycamore, cucumber-tree,
and Kentucky coffee-tree are some of the deciduous trees. Other plants
include the downy serviceberry.
The largest carnivores in the ecozone are the black
while the large herbivores are the moose
deer. The smaller carnivores that can be found include coyote,
fox, and river
otter. Some of the smaller herbivores here are the grey
flying squirrel, eastern
bog lemming, and groundhog
(woodchuck). The only marsupial is the opossum.
Various whales, including the beluga,
can be seen in the waters of the St-Lawrence seaway.
Characteristic birds of prey include red-shouldered
saw-whet owl, short-eared
owl, and turkey
vulture. Among the numerous songbirds are the red-winged
jay, brown creeper,
and sedge wren.
Some of the birds of the forest include ruffed
grouse, wild turkey, northern
woodpecker, and pileated
woodpecker. Waterfowl include Canada
blue heron, American
black duck, wood
teal, and mallard.
Some of the shorebirds are the spotted
and yellow rail.
Reptiles and Amphibians
Many species of reptiles and amphibians are found here. The frogs
and toads that live in the Mixedwood Plains include the tetraploid
gray treefrog, striped
chorus frog, northern
leopard frog, wood
and spring peeper.
Several salamander and newt species, such as the mudpuppy,
and eastern redback
salamander, live here. Eight species of turtles are common to the
area, including stinkpot,
turtle, and painted
turtle. The most common snake is the eastern
garter snake, but other snakes include eastern
ribbon snake, Butler's
garter snake, northern
water snake, redbelly
green snake, ringneck
hognose snake, massasauga,
and queen snake.
The sole lizard is the five-lined
The large number of introduced fish is largely the result of shipping
and canals, which have allowed invasive species to move through the
area. Lampreys are the most famous of the invasive fish in the Great
Lakes. Predatory fish in the waters of the area include lake sturgeon,
longnose gar, walleye, bowfin, white perch (introduced), brown trout,
brook trout, lake trout, common carp (introduced), Atlantic tomcod,
northern pike, muskellunge, and largemouth bass. They prey on such fish
as the cisco (lake herring), lake whitefish, central mudminnow, and
golden shiner. The anadramous fish, who live in the ocean but come into
freshwater to breed, include kokanee (sockeye) salmon, rainbow smelt
(introduced), alewife, sea lamprey (introduced), American brook lamprey,
silver lamprey, and northern brook lamprey.
The molluscs include the brown
mystery snail, valve
spire snail, river-bank
looping snail, great
lakes horn snail, oval
elliptio, and olive
hickory-nut. The zebra mussel, a relatively recent invader, has
caused widespread damage to natural and human systems in the Great Lakes.
Some of the insects found here are the German
metallic green wood borer, red
turpentine beetle, European
skipper, spring azure, american
copper, monarch butterfly, mourning
black swallowtail, European
grasshopper, and walking
Half of Canada's population lives here, and it contains the country's
two largest cities, Toronto and Montreal. Agricultural land is steadily
being covered by cities, and the population density has led to some
of the highest levels of pollution in the country. Ecological degradation
is extensive, due to industry and the population size. Many species
have been introduced to the ecozone and some, most notably the sea lamprey
and zebra mussel, are very detrimental to other species.