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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Atlantic Canada - More Information

Background information on DU's Atlantic Canada conservation priority area
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Arctic, Taiga and James/Hudson Bay Lowland Landscape

Landscape size Atlantic region 1,329,795 km 2 , Ontario 264,000 km 2
Proportion of the land base Atlantic region 60%, Ontario 27%
Wetland area

Atlantic region 22,796,900 ha, Arctic 2,070,000 ha, Taiga 18,300,000 ha, James Bay Lowlands 2,426,900 ha

Waterfowl breeding pairs Atlantic region 674,350, Lab 65,200 ducks, 29,150 Canada geese, Quebec 580,000 ducks and geese, Ontario 657,000
Waterfowl goals 1,331,350 breeding pairs

This landscape encompasses 60% of the Atlantic region and includes tundra and lowland habitat as well as taiga that represent a transition zone between the boreal forest and tundra. In Ontario, this region represents 27% of the total land base, and contains the most extensive continuous wetland ecosystem in the world. There is limited human activity in this area. Wetlands are abundant but of limited productivity, with the exception of the relatively productive James Bay Lowlands. The land is owned either by the crown or aboriginal people.

Breeding waterfowl typically occur at low densities. However, significant areas of greater density occur adjacent to the coast and on the Ungava peninsula. Critical staging and breeding habitats occur within a 100 km band along the James and Hudson Bay. Common species include black ducks, Canada geese and scoters. Waterfowl production from this area makes a significant contribution to the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways. Canada Geese of the Southern James Bay population have experienced significant population decline since the late 1980s. Breeding snow geese in the region have shown remarkable growth during the same period, resulting in concerns for breeding ground integrity and the future of the breeding populations. Low human activity results in little direct threat to wetlands or waterfowl. However, activities in this area are typically at a large scale and can potentially have significant consequences for waterfowl and wildlife. In addition, climate change may result in extreme long-term impacts.


  • Maintain the existing diverse habitat quality and quantity needed to sustain the current waterfowl numbers.


  • Wetland quantity is generally not limiting, but due to low naturally occurring nutrient levels, the quality is.
  • Waterfowl populations have been stable.
  • Current wetland densities are adequate to support the existing population level.


  • Monitor human activities and waterfowl and wildlife population trends.
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