Pacific Maritime Ecozone


Located on the beautiful west coast of Canada is the Pacific Maritime ecozone - a small area with a wonderfully mild climate. There is a wide variety of trees in the temperate forests, ranging from the alder to the Douglas fir, and many species of animals live there - some of which are endangered, possibly caused by humans. Should the government step in and help preserve the wildlife and the environment? Read through and judge for yourself.

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The Pacific Maritime ecozone is located on the western coast of Canada, spanning the entire length of British Columbia. It is bordered by the two Canadian terrestrial ecozones, the Boreal and the Montane Cordillera, to the north and east and by the Pacific Ocean and the United States to the west and south. The approximate centre of the ecozone is Prince Rupert, located at 54.19N 130.19W.

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The Pacific Maritime ecozone has a variety of landforms - providing a wide variety of habitats for the wide range of wildlife that resides there. Despite its small size (196,000km) compared to other ecozones, it has mountains, coastal plains, glacial valleys, rivers, and fjords.

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Since this ecozone is situated on the western coastline of Canada, its climate is mild all seasons. Climograph of Prince Rupert, B.C. Click to enlarge. On average, temperatures during July ranges from 12C to 18C and averages to 13C and during January, from 4C to 6C and averages -1.5C, literally the warmest winter average throughout Canada. The level of precipitation in this region is very high due to the coastal mountains that block the rain clouds from going towards the interior regions. Hence the precipitation can range from 600mm to over 4000mm per year, depending on the region, but averages to 2000mm per year on the whole.

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The Sitka spruce is one of the many species of vegetation in this ecozone.

Canada's tallest trees reside in this ecozone. Along with that are a wide variety of trees such as the Douglas fir, alder, mountain hemlock, western red cedar, and much more. 45% of the entire ecozone is forested, with temperate forests covering ten million hectares.

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The soils or surface materials found in this ecozone is mainly composed of acid and well-weathered soils (also known as podzols), rock, rock debris, and moraine, which is a build-up of boulders, stones, or other debris carried and deposited by a glacier.

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Grizzly bears are marked as special concern species in the Pacific Maritime ecozone.

The Pacific Maritime ecozone is inhabited by a vast range of wildlife. Some distinguished animals of this region include the grizzly bear, black-tailed deer, tufted puffin, chestnut-backed chickadee, bald eagle, killer whale, cutthroat trout, northern spotted owl, and sea otter, the last two being some of the endangered species that resides there.

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Drainage patterns

Part of the Pacific Ocean drainage basin.

The Pacific Maritime ecozone is part of the Pacific Ocean drainage basin area, so Fraser River and Skeena River are its major sub-drainage basins. Another sub-drainage basin is Vancouver Island; most drainage basins are located outside of this ecozone (in the Montane Cordillera).

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Human Activities

Extensive logging.

The great variety of trees, however, are also the focus of the logging industry. Over the past 120 years, two million hectares of the temperate coastal rainforest in the Pacific Maritime ecozone has been clear-cut. Also, because of its wide variety of landforms, warm climate, and coastline, another major industry is tourism, which leads to some amount of pollution from transportation and littering. Fishing was once one of the most important industries, but due to overfishing, it is now less significant.

Urbanization is a big issue, proven by the fact that the population in the Gulf Islands rose 58% between 1971 and 1985. A section of the coastline in B.C., Canada. The population of British Columbia is mainly concentrated in Victoria (pop. 77,538) and Vancouver (pop. 1,986,965) - both located in the Pacific Maritime ecozone - making the population of the ecozone 2.5 million, or 75% of the population of British Columbia.

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