The distribution of vegetation on Quebec’s land area is mostly determined by climatic factors. In the St. Lawrence lowlands, the climate changes gradually from south-west to north-east. In the south of Québec, altitude variations, if important, can result in a level of vegetation comparable to the changes caused by latitude. The soil nature, the relief and the disturbance factors like forest fires, epidemics, and cutting, also affect vegetation distribution.
Québec is divided in three vegetation zones:
- Northern Temperate Zone, is dominated by mixed and deciduous forests,
- Boreal Zone, characterized by coniferous forests;
- Arctic Zone, characterized by low-growth bush, grass, moss and lichen formations.
Forests are everywhere in Québec. Vast, majestic, intersected by thousands of lakes and watercourses, they play a major economic, social and environmental role. Québec’s forests account for 20 % of the total Canadian forest and 2 % of the world’s forests. In Québec, dense forests cover an area of 761,100 km2, equivalent in size to the territories of Norway and Sweden combined. Some 70 % of the total area is productive (commercial) forest.