Taiga Shield
Kit Simmons

Map of Ecozone
The Taiga Shield is the red shaded region

As you can see in the map above, the Taiga Shield fans out on either side of the Hudson Bay. It stretches all the way along from Labrador and Quebec, across to Manitoba, Sasketchewan, Nunavut, and some of the Northwest Territories. It is approximately 612 000 kilometres squared-it is quite a large region, and its most defining characteristic is that it is quite diverse.

Landform Region
The Taiga Shield is a part of the Subarctic region of Canada, and it also straddles the borders between Canada’s Arctic and Boreal zones. The shield is a very diverse land, with swampy marshland and bigger bodies of water (glacial lakes), but also plenty of forests, hills and mountains. It is very rocky, with lots of scattered gravel and boulders. It could be argued that, because the Shield is so close to the middle of Canada, which itself is very diverse, that the Taiga Shield takes on many characteristics of all the land around it. So, for instance, it is a part of the Arctic zone, which could help to explain the glaciation-affected landforms and the permafrost that covers a fair amount of the Shield for a good majority of the year.

Rock types and Minerals
The Taiga Shield has, as it seems to in everything else, a good variety of rocks and minerals. It has igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock, caused by: volcanoes that formed it originally, the settling that came after the eruptions, and the glaciations, respectively. Copper, nickel, uranium, and diamonds are all mined in the Taiga Shield.

Vegetation and Soil
Because this area is so cold most of the time (as I mentioned above, it is a subarctic region, with large amounts of permafrost), there is some vegetation, but it is not nearly as healthy as that of the regions just south of it. There are trees, such as the coniferous species black and white spruce, tamarack, and dwarf pines. However, most of them are stunted and do not reach full growing capacity, hence the Shield’s nickname, “Land of the Dwarf Trees”.

Climate and Climograph
It is in the subarctic region, so it has long, quite cold winters (reaching a low of –30 degrees Celsius). However, it is also a part of the Boreal zone, which is considerably warmer than the Arctic, so it still does have very brief, but moderately warm summers (reaching a high of 30 degrees Celsius). Not unlike those which we experience in Burlington, but the summers are shorter and the winters longer in the Shield.

Trivia and Fun Facts
The Taiga Shield was formed about 40 billion years ago, in the Precambrian era. This was when all the volcanoes were bringing magma to the Earth’s surface.

The Taiga Shield has a population of about 33, 000 people.
The population density is approximately 0.0539 people per kilometres squared.

Test Questions
What two zones are the Taiga Shield a part of?
What are the two extreme temperatures (Celsius) of the summers and winters?
Why (possibly) is the Shield so diverse (in landform, climate, species, etc.)?
What would be a good describing word for the Taiga Shield?
What four minerals are mined in the Taiga Shield?