Historically, most authors recognized the Canada hawthorn (Crataegus canadensis Sargent [Rosaceae]), which occurs in the Montréal area (Québec, Canada), as a distinct species. Recently, however, it has been considered simply a distinct local form and taxonomic synonym of the Quebec hawthorn (Crataegus submollis Sargent). The two species are similar and share some morphological characteristics, but observations made over the last 15 years, together with field and herbarium measurements taken in 2015, 2016 and 2017, highlight clear distinctions between them. The differences in leaf blade size and lower sinus incisions, stamen number, sepal length and position, and fruit shape and size, are described. The restricted geographical distribution of the Canada hawthorn, which is endemic to the greater Montréal region, is also presented.
Species at risk are among the most sensitive to climate change. The present study investigated the potential impacts of climate change on the 409 vascular plant species at risk found in Québec (Canada). A vulnerability index was used to evaluate their susceptibility to climate change, and ecological niche models were used to quantify potential changes in the distribution of 131 of them. Results suggest that climatic conditions in Québec could become suitable for many of the plant species at risk, and that the province could serve as a climate refuge for those for which conditions become unsuitable in the United States of America. However, the study revealed that the ecological niche of plant species may move faster than their capacity for dispersal. Thus it may be impossible for many plants to naturally expand their distribution range within the province. In total, 57.7% of the studied species were found to be susceptible to climate change, with the most vulnerable being those with a southern peripheral distribution, and those associated with arctic-alpine habitats or with the St. Lawrence gulf and estuary. Recommendations are made to incorporate climate change mitigation strategies into the management of plant species at risk and their habitats.
There is a growing understanding of the positive economic impacts of national parks
in Québec (Canada) on surrounding communities; however, the entire suite of benefits
provided by these protected areas, especially those of non-financial value, has yet to be
defined. This study reveals the sociocultural and monetary values of approximately 70
ecosystem services and benefits provided by the 23 national parks of southern Québec,
including the values linked to indirect use and non-use. Each service or benefit is
described qualitatively and quantitatively. In some cases, monetary values were estimated.
Based on the value of their ecosystems, the total economic value of the 23 national parks is
estimated at CAD 1 billion per year, which represents a natural capital of CAD 31 billion.
This total economic value is about three times that of the financial advantages to the
surrounding communities. The values obtained in this study are slightly lower than those
produced for national parks in Ontario and the United States of America.
The aim of the national park network in Québec (Canada) is to permanently conserve and protect zones that are representative of the natural regions found within the province, or outstanding natural areas. However, due to the limited size of certain parks, some, mostly located south of the 50th parallel, face challenges in responding to the habitat needs of species with large home ranges. Moreover, certain land-use activities within the peripheral zones of the parks may contribute to a degradation of their ecological value. To help accomplish the mission of the parks, the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec has undertaken to mobilize neighbouring stakeholders. To achieve this, it set itself the objectives of characterizing the peripheral zones; organizing discussion forums with local and regional stakeholders active within them; and rallying the latter to realize concrete conservation actions. Maintaining the ecological value of the parks relies partially on the engagement and participation of peripheral zone stakeholders in conservation efforts to reduce the impact of human activities on these protected lands. Their actions will help ensure that these areas can continue to fulfill essential ecological services.
A gyne (queen) of the parasitic ant Myrmica lampra was captured in the Lac-Saint-Jean region (Quebec, Canada) during a research project on forest insects. This discovery extends the known range of this rarely reported species.
The hydrological regime of Lac Saint-Jean (Québec, Canada) was drastically altered following the installation of dams along its drainage channels in 1926. This article examines the impact of water level management on the spawning success of yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and northern pike (Esox lucius). An analysis of water levels over the past 100 years shows a decrease in the amplitude of spring flooding since 1926, which has likely contributed to a reduction in the effective size and quality of spawning sites. It also highlights a delay in the time taken to reach the maximum spring high water level. Historical temperatures of the lake and associated wetlands allowed the spawning period between 1991 and 2015 to be estimated, and underlined the impact of low spring water levels on wetland accessibility. Presently, spawning sites for the study species are only partially flooded during the breeding season. It is recommended that a water level management plan be adopted that allows higher water levels to be reached earlier in the spring; that keeps the spring level stable to promote hatching and to ensure the survival of fry during early life stages; and that increases the difference between spring and summer water levels.
To help complete the picture of the pressures affecting the diverse aquatic habitats of the Lake St-Pierre floodplain (Québec, Canada), an advanced geomatics analysis was used to assess the effects of the adjacent road network on the connectivity of spawning and nursery grounds of the northern pike (Esox lucius). The results revealed adverse effects on high potential habitat when the water flow at Sorel exceeded 12,000 m3.s−1 (recurrence interval of 1 to 2 years). Once this flow rate was reached, there was a direct habitat loss along roads (maximum: 142 ha) and fragmentation of habitat transected by roads (maximum: 39 ha). These effects, which were most marked around the northwestern part of the lake, depended largely on the hydrological conditions between spawning and the first week of larval life. Connectivity measurements highlighted the importance of functional culverts and of the hydrologic network of the littoral zone as being essential for habitat connectivity. The effects of the road network, although smaller than those caused by intensive agricultural practices or by the regulation of water flow, remained non-negligible. This study identified high-potential habitats and connectivity corridors as priority areas for protection or restoration.