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List of Plants with a Salt, Freshwater, or Brackish Habitat—Continued.


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List of Plants with a Salt, Freshwater, or Brackish Habitat—Continued.


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FORESTS.

Barren Zone. The sub-Arctic climate, which the southward-moving ice-fields bring as far south as the strait of Belle Isle, extends only a short distance inland from the coast. When crossing the eastern threshold of Labrador peninsula by way of lake Melville, it is found that there are two Labrador— “ the Labrador ” of the cod fisherman, chilled by the ice-floes and nearly or quite treeless, is the one best known. Farther inland where salmon and trout fishing take the place of cod fishing, a pleasant summer climate replaces the ice-chilled coastal climate, and forests cover both mountains and valleys.
Along the eastern coast of Labrador, bare, rocky slopes without timber form the background of the southward-moving procession of bergs and floe-ice which continues throughout most of July.
The bleak, time-eaten, rocky shores of the islands, and mainland to which the mirage often gives a variety of aspects are, with a few trifling exceptions, barren of trees from the western end of the strait of Belle Isle to the vicinity of Sandwich bay. A few islands in or near Sandwich bay have considerable patches of black spruce on shores which do not face the

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open sea. In general, however, forests are either absent on the sea-coast or confined to the sides of ravines or small valleys where the topography affords some protection to the timber, which is always dwarfed.
Even in the more protected areas near the seacoast, where the forests have become established, the trees are invariably small. The dwarfed character of some of the forests nearest the seacoast is very clearly indicated by the following quotation from Townsend which refers to the Cape Charles region in southeastern Labrador “ Our passage through these rugged woods is slow and painful. The stiff and crooked branches of the trees interlock for self-protection. One great advantage in many of these regions is that when one is uncertain about the way, by standing on tiptoes one can generally overlook the forest.”1

Hamilton Inlet. Probably nowhere on the coast of Labrador can the transition from the barren outer islands to the forested interior be better seen than on Hamilton inlet. This bay has a length of about 40 miles in an east-west direction, and is dotted with numerous rocky islands. The eastern or outermost of these are clothed only with lichens, emerald green moss, and a variety of flowering plants. Trees are entirely absent, if we except a variety of arctic willow and a dwarfed birch, which grow prostrate upon the ground, their branches seldom rising more than 2 or 3 inches above the rock crevices that protect their roots.
At Indian Harbour the small islands are entirely destitute of forest. Fifteen miles to the westward the shores of the mainland and the islands begin to show patches of black spruce of a dwarfed type. These show at a distance on the hill-slopes as blotches of dark green on the light green of the moss-covered surrounding areas. The stunted spruce becomes somewhat larger and the areas covered by it are more extensive as the head of the inlet is approached.
It is clear that floating ice is the main factor in keeping the outer shores deforested. Great fields of ice persist in the outer parts of the inlet until the latter part of July. The ice, however, is seldom, if ever, seen in mid-summer within many miles of Rigolet.
At the head of Hamilton inlet the trees, though small, make up dense forests that clothe a large part of the land surface.

Interior.The dwarfed spruce forests about the head of Hamilton inlet (Plate IV A), with trees 15 to 35 feet high, give way to forests with much larger trees in the area around lake Melville. At Rigolet, squared timbers used for hauling out vessels were observed which would be considered creditable representatives of any Canadian forest. One of these pieces measured : length, 59 feet butt dimensions, 1 foot 4 inches by 9 inches ; dimensions at small end, 9½ inches by 6½ inches. The log was cut near the head of the lake and is much larger than any seen near the seashore.
Black spruce (Picea mariana) is the dominant tree throughout the Lake

1Townsend, C. M., “ Along the Labrador Coast,” 1907, p. 26.



 

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