The most northerly part of the province, the Hudson Bay Lowlands, is an area of subarctic barrens with black and white spruce and willow trees. This forest has a large low-relief expanse of wetland, one of the largest in the world. With an area of 26 million hectares, (one quarter of the province), is dominated by both treed and open muskeg (over two-thirds of its area) and is dotted with thousands of small lakes and pond. The area contains bogs and fens (which are also referred to as muskeg). Bogs and fens contain a water-absorbent, peat-based soil made up of dead decomposing plants, muck, and sphagnum moss.
Productive forest cover is less than 25 percent, and is generally made up of stunted tamarack and black spruce growing along river banks and other well-drained areas. White birch, dwarf birch and willow are the common deciduous trees in this forest region.
The Hudson Bay Lowlands are greatly affected by the cold northern climate, and contain all of Ontario’s tundra (284,000ha). This forest region also contains Ontario’s largest protected area, Polar Bear provincial Park, at 2.3 million hectares.
- The Hudson Bay Lowlands contains 20 percent of Ontario's forests.
- This forest region is home to woodland caribou, polar bear, arctic fox, and arctic hare.
- During the summer, millions of migratory birds nest here, such as Canada geese, snow geese, willow ptarmigan and various species of sea ducks.
Aerial view of the Hudson Bay Lowlands