Climatic Change

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 121-134

First online:

Historical evidence and climatic implications of a shift in the boreal forest tundra transition in central Canada

  • Timothy F. BallAffiliated withDepartment of Geography, University of Winnipeg

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The line that marks the boundary between the boreal forest and the tundra regions is a relatively abrupt line in central Canada and appears to reflect a clearly defined climate boundary. Research suggests that relatively small changes in the climatic conditions should result in a movement of the treeline. Such a movement was apparently reported in 1772 by Samuel Hearne based upon the observations of generations of Indians who had lived in the area. A map of his voyages indicates a tree limit that was further west in the north/south section of western Canada and further south in the east/west section of central Canada. This location and subsequent movement appears to be logical in relation to the climatic conditions that occurred in the region as a result of the Little Ice Age and the warmer conditions thereafter.