Fisheries and Land Resources

Forestry and Agrifoods

Northern Peninsula Subregions


This ecoregion differs from most other forested parts of the island by the shortness of the vegetation season, 110-150 days compared to 145-170 days for other areas. The frost-free period is comparable to most other areas and somewhat better than in Central Newfoundland. Precipitation is lower, however, because of low summer temperatures and shorter vegetation season, soil moisture supply is probably adequate at most times.

The soils are comparable to those of Western Newfoundland. Limestone underlies most of the region, with acidic rocks more common on the eastern side of the peninsula.

Balsam Fir is the dominant forest cover except at high elevations (300-400m) on the eastern side of the peninsula where Black Spruce appears to be a natural component of the stands. There is very little fire history in this ecoregion. White Pine, Red Maple, Yellow Birch and Trembling Aspen are conspicuous by their absence. There are approximately 100 species of plants that are excluded from this ecoregion presumably because of the difference of climate (Damman 1965, 1976, and 1983). One of the most conspicuous changes is the replacement of Alnus rugosa by Alnus crispa, Salix pellita and Salix planifolia in swamps. Tall shrubs such as Nemopanthus mucronata, Viburnum cassinoides and Rhododendron canadense are sparse or lacking in the scrub bog-border forests. Silviculturally, they are similar to Western Newfoundland with hardwoods rather than ericaceous shrubs being the most common brush problem on understocked cutovers. Ribes glandulosum, Ribes triste and Cornus stolonifera appear to be a much more conspicuous component of seral vegetation on cutovers. Raspberry is also very abundant in the early years of succession.

A. Coastal Plain Subregion

This includes the western side of the Great Northern Peninsula to the lower slopes of the Long Range Mountains. Most of the coastal plain is dominated by bogs and scrub forest. The area around Hawkes Bay and the foothills of the mountains are important exceptions to this generalisation.

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B. Beaver Brook Limestone Subregion

This subregion occupies the central lowlands north of the Highlands of St. John on the Great Northern Peninsula. This sheltered outlier maintains the most productive forests in the ecoregion, comparable in productivity to parts of Western Newfoundland. Limestone, shale and sandstone bedrock types occur in this area.

The limestone landtype occurs predominantly on the east side of the peninsula between Roddickton and Main Brook. As in Western Newfoundland, the limestone landtypes are characterized by marl deposits around ponds and in valleys. The soils have a distinct dark greyish brown layer in contact with bedrock, compacted till or large boulders. The landscape is gently rolling with Rubus-Balsam Fir and Taxus-Balsam Fir the most common forest types and Pleurozium-Balsam Fir occurring on shallow till.

On the western side of the peninsula, east and south of Ten Mile Pond, the till is formed from sandstone. The landscape is undulating to hilly in the extreme west. The Dryopteris-Balsam Fir and Clintonia-Balsam Fir types are most common on moderate to deep tills. On shallow tills the Pleurozium-Balsam Fir and Black Spruce-Feathermoss on bedrock are dominant. Soil textures in these types are generally sandy loam to loamy sand.

In the centre of the peninsula, between Route 432 and Salmon River, shale is the dominant bedrock type and the gently rolling topography is formed from till with a loam to silt loam texture. Rubus-Balsam Fir and Clintonia-Balsam Fir types are dominant.

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C. Northern Coastal Subregion

This subregion is dominated by exposed, rocky dwarf shrub barrens with local areas of unmerchantable forest.

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D. Eastern Long Range Subregion

This subregion includes the productive but inaccessible forest on the eastern slopes of the Long Range Mountains up to 450m in elevation. The forests tend to be somewhat open Balsam Fir-Black Spruce mixtures. Treeline decreases towards the northern end of the subregion.

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