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The Canada Land Inventory (CLI) for the Quebec City Map 21 L

The Canada Land Inventory provides one of the most comperhensive digital map sources for resource planning ad management in Canada. The area covered by the CLI is indicated in the index map. For each of the map sheets areas land capability is mapped at 1:250'000 scale and usually at a 1:50'000 scale. This is an example for Mapsheet 21 L, Quebec. The index map on the right shows the areas mapped for land capability under the CLI. The left image shows an example of a number of overlays displayed on Google Earth.

Each of the 1.250'000 scale maps has an extensive description of the lanscape ecosystem and capability perspectives. Below is an example for the Quebec City map area.


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The area covered by the Quebec mapsheet is in southeastern Quebec. It includes parts of three physiographic regions, the Laurentian Highlands, Central St. Lawrence Lowland, and Appalachian Highlands. The Appalachian Region and the Central St. Lawrence Lowland parts of the area are an extension of the mast intensively used tourist regions in the province, the Eastern Townships and the north of Montreal.

The Laurentian Highlands, northeast of the city of Quebec, have an elevation of 500 to 2000 feet above sea level. Past glaciation in this region has resulted in the creation of numerous lakes, which swarm with trout. The Central St. Lawrence Lowland lies northeast to southeast acrass the area, between the Laurentian Highlands and the uplands of the Appalachian Region. This region has slightly undulating topography and an elevation up to 500 feet. The land, which has been deeply sculptured by the St. Lawrence River, is often poorly drained.

Mast of the area lies in the Eastern Quebec Uplands and Notre Dame Mountains divisions of the Appalachian Region. The high, rocky ridges on the south share of the St. Lawrence River are the beginning of the Eastern Quebec Uplands. About 60 miles from the river, the land rises to about 2000 feet above sea level in the Notre Dame Mountains, which extend southwest to northeast acrass the southeastern part of the area. The abundant mineral resources in this region have resulted in a unique mining landscape.

The area lies in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Section of the Bareal Forest Region. In the lowlands.the original Forest has almost completely been cleared. The Forested parts of the area have a large proportion of hardwood species, especially in the Appalachian Region.

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The area has a continental climate, slightly modified by the marine influence of the St. Lawrence River. The mean July and January temperatures are 640 F and 80F on the plateaus and 680 F and 120F on the lowland. At an average elevation on the plateaus, the growing season is from April 25 to October 18, and the frast-free period is about 110 days. On the lowland, the growing season is from about April 20 to October 20, and the frast-free period is 120 days. The average number of degree-days over 420 F is about 2500 on the plateau sand 30000 on the lowland.

The average annual precipitation in the vicinity of Quebec City is about 46 inches, 20 inches of which falls from May through September. In the eastern part of the area, the average annual precipitation is 38 inches, 18 inches of which falls from May to September. Heavy snowfall generally protects the ground from deep frast during the winter.

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The first European colonies in Canada were established on the site of historic Quebec. From this strategic point, agricultural settlement moved inland. Today, despite rapid urbanization, a large percentage of the population still lives in rural areas where the economy is based almost solely on dairying, although beef cattle and certain special crops are also raised locally.

On the Eastern Quebec Uplands and Laurentian Highlands, agriculture has declined because factors such as topography, stoniness, drainage, and climate severely limit the range of crops that can be grown. However, on the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the soils on water-modified glacial material and thase formed on marine and alluvial sediments have a wider range of agricultural capability. Although the dairy industry is still the main agricultural activity on the lowland, hog and poultry raising are also carried on in several centers. In the outskirts of metropolitan Quebec City, market gardening and strawberry and apple growing diversify agricultural operations to some extent. The maple products Industry is also important, and is widespread throughout the area. Cranberries are grown on some of the Organic soils of the St. Lawrence Lowlands.

Except for a few wide, sandy expanses in the plateau region that have marginal agricultural capability, the soils with capability for agriculture are located mainly in St. Lawrence Lowlands physiographic region. Family and mixed agriculture Operations still exist, but there is a growing trend toward specialization.

land use map

Capability classification by R· Marcoux, Soils Division, Ougbec Department of Agriculture and Colonization.

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The vegetation of the area is characteristic of the Central St. Lawrence, Eastrn Townships and Temiscouata - Restigouche sections of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Forest Region.

The Central St. Lawrence Section covers the northwest and is characterized by Bareal mixed Forest. The main Forest species are white spruce (Picea glauca), balsam fir (Abies balsamea), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), yellow birch (Betula lutea), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), red maple (Acer rubrum), and gray birch (8etula populifolia). Red oak (Ouercus rubra), beech (Fagus grandifolie), white ash (Fraxinus americana), elm (Ulmus americana), and red pine (Pinus resinasa) are found mixed with the dominant species in some locations. On the lower hillsides, black ash (Fraxinus nigra), eastern white cedar (Thuia occidentalis), and black spruce (Picea mariana) grow on wet sites. Stands of cottonwood (Populus deltoides) and red maple are found on the riverbanks.

The eastern Townships Section in the southeast is mainly in the Appalachian Highlands. On well-drained sites sugar maple, yellow birch, white spruce balsam fir, white pine, eastern hemlock, and red spruce (Picea rubens) are found. White spruce, balsam fir, and white birch (Betula papyrifera) are the dominant spades on expased sites with shallow soils. eastern white cedar, tamaracle (Lerix laricina), and blade spruce are abundant in poetly drained depressions. Stands of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) and gray birch are the transitional growth in regions devastated by Forest fires.

The Temiscouata - Restigouche Section covers a small part of the northeast. The Forest stands are mainly compased of sugar maple, beech, and yellow birch on the hilltops and balsam fir and white spruce in the valleys. Eastern white cedar is the predominant species on the lower hillsides. On the slopes balsam fir, yellow birch, white birch, white pine, and red pine mixtures occur. Balsam poplar (Populus belsamifera), black ash, white elm, and white spruce grow on the alluvial plains and black spruce and tamarack occur on poorly drained sites.

These stands support many ungulates. During the winter, ungulatas shelter beneath the conifers and feed on various Forest spades. Shrubs included in their diet are mountain maple (Acer spicatum), striped maple (Acer pensylvenicum), viburnums (Viburnum spp.), cherries (Prunus spp.), honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis), red-berried elder (Sambucus pubens), Canada yew (Taxus canadensis), and hazel (Corylus cornuta).

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and moase (Akes alces) are the ungulate species found in the area. The range of the white-tailed deer now covers the Forest regions that have not been extensively cleared. The southem and eastern parts of the area provide mota suitable winter habitats. Moase are only found in some regions such as the high Appalachian plateaus and along the Maine border.

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Except for the St. Lawrence River and its immediate vicinity, the good waterfowl habitat is spotty in the area. In the south, the shallowness of the soil is the main limitation, along with the rockiness and the unsuitable topography. Mast of the available habitat consists of bog lakes, where the main plant genera are waterlilies (Nuphar), leather-leaf (Chamaeedaphne), sweet gale (Myrica), sedges (Carex), and cattail (Typho).

In the true marshy lakes, common plant species are bulrushes (Scirpus), spikerushes (Eleocharis), three-way sedges (Dulichium), duckweeds (lemma, Wollfia), Arrowhead (Sarittaria), Wild Celery (Valisneria), Water-weeds (Anacharis), pondweeds (Potamogeton), and grasses.

The undulations of the terrain diminish as the altitude decreases to the lowlands, where the extensive sand deposits usually covered by peat bogs are found. These are the only wetlands found in the region, but there are few water arear.

The St. Lawrence River has a value mainly as a migration stop: the large mud flats covered by luxuriant aquatic vegetation are a natural feeding place during spring and autumn migration. The main vegetation of tne river marshes is made up of bulrushes. pondweeds, water plantain (Alisma), cresses (Neobeckia), flowering rush (Butomus), water-weeds, mud plantain (Heteranthera), and mare's tail (Hippvris). Among the semiaquatic plants are cottails, sedges, arrowheads and horsetails (Equisetum).

The mountainous region in the northwest section is characterized by bog lakes or steep-sided lakes. Waterfowl hunting is confined to the St. Lawrence River. and to occasional inland marshes.

Capability classificotion by C. A. Drolet, Canadian Wildlife Service.

waterfowl capability map

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The area has good potential for ungulate production. Class 2 lands cover about 55 percent of the area and are limited by climatic conditions such as the variable depth d the snow cover and the degree of moisture. Class 3 lands in the northwest and southwest cover a small part of the area. Poor drainage, adverse topography, and shallow soil over bedrock are the main limitations.

Class 3W lands comprise about 5 percent of the area in regions where the duality of food and shelter is sufficient. Excessive soil moisture limits the capability of these lands as winter ranges. Class 4 lands cover 25 percent of the area and are found mainly in the northwest. Limitations are low fertility in deep sands, excessive or deficiant soil moisture, shallow soils over bedrock and adverse topography.

Small Class 5 and 6 regions are found, particularly in the north. The habitat here is limited by excessive soil moisture and low fertility. There are no Class 1 or 7 lands in the area

At present the area is not being used to its fullest potential for ungulates. The natural balance of the stands has beendestroyed by tilling the soils for farming and by the devastation of the Forests by fires. Except on the farmlands of the St. Lawrence Lowlands the potential of the area to support ungulates could be improved by an appropriate development program.

ungulate capability map

Capability classification by R. Bouchard end J.-M. Brassard, Ouebec Department of Tourism, Fish end Game, 1972.

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Surface deposits of variable depth and glaciofluvial materials cover the Eastern Quebec Uplands and the Laurentian Highlands. At the higher elevations, the tills are generally thin and the bedrock is expased in places. Podzols are found in the Highlands and Uplands; a few Brunisols and Gelysols are also found in the Uplands region. The upland tills are of a finer texture and mare noticeable compactness than the Laurentian Highland tills. The plateaus have only limited agriculture capability because of topography (T), stoniness (P), or poor drainage (W). The soils on glaciofluvial deposits, such as eskers, kames, and outwash plains, are generally limited by low water-holding capacity (M) and, in some cases, topography (T). Mast of them have been rated Classes 5 and 7. The soils that have a loamy-textured arable layer have been rated Class 4. The main limitations are low fertility (F), low water-holding capacity (M), and topography (T). The recent alluvial deposits along the banks of waterways have been rated 4W, 5W, 7 1, 4T, and 5T, depending on their topographical pasition.

At altitudes of 250 to 500 feet, a transition zone occurs between the St. Lawrence Lowlands and the Eastern Quebec Uplands. This relatively large region, which is mast extensive in the southwestern part of the area, consists of Podzols and Brunisols formed on glacial material that has been slightly modified by water. Relief is mare moderate and the soils of this zone are less stony and are better drained than thase of the plateau region The soil fertility is average to good. These soils have been rated Classes 3, 4, and 5, with limitations of stoniness (P), topography (T), poor drainage (W), and in some places low water-holding capacity (M)

The soils of the lowland, which were formed on marine sediments, have a generally level surface from west to east and are visibly staged at increasing elevations toward the plateaus. The heavy-textured Gleysols, located mainly on the lower levels of the south bank of the river downstream from Quebec, are Class 2 and 3 soils with slight limitations of plastic consistence (D) or impermeability to water (W). In the ravines, the clays have been rated 4T and 5T because of the steep incline. Other clays, originating from soft, calcareous shale, and found in the vicinity of Quebec City, belong to the Brunisol Great Group and have been rated 2X and 3T.

Light-textured Podzols anf Brunisols occupy a large part of the lowland. They have formed on medium- to coarse-textured sediments, depasited by the pastglacial Champlain Sea and are underlain by clay, shaly rock, or glacial materials. Except for dunes and terraces, the light soils are characterized by a lack of relief. The main limitations of these soils are low natural fertility (F) and poor internal drainage (W). Other limitations, which include ruggedness of terrain (T), stoniness (P), low water-holding capacity (M), and wind erasion (E), lower the agriculture capability of this part of the area. Organic soils are designated as 0 and their limitations have not been indicated. The deeper deposits are Fibrisols anf the shallower deposits are usually Mesisols.

agriculture capability map

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In the Laurentian Highlands and Appalachian Region, the swift-flowing rivers with many rapids have a good capability for fishing, whereas the slower, meandering rivers of the Lowland often have capability for boating. The St. Lawrence River has a majestic surrounding landscape and many cottaging facilities, but some parts of it are polluted. Twice a day in these places, its water leaves large, muddy strands dotted with weeds and pebbles.

Lakeshares in the area are generally rocky or gravelly. Because of the short summer, swimming is passible only in July and August. During winter, the deep ice sheet that covers the lakes from mid-January makes them very suitable for snowmobiling.

In general, the recreation capability of the Laurentian Highlands, especially the belt adjacent to the Central St. Lawrence Lowland, is distinct from that of the other regions in the area. In the Highlands, St. Jaseph, St. Charles, Sept-Iles, Sergent, and Beauport lakes are large enough to permit water-oriented recreational activities and have varied sharelines that range from rocky bluffs to fine sandy beeches. The capability of Beauport Lake is enhanced by the nearby skislopes. This highland fringe, which has several mountains higher than 1500 feet, is also very attractive for skiing. The best skiing is in the part of the area between Beauport Lake and the Montmarency River, where facilities are already installed. In addition, this region, especially from Laretteville toward the northeast, offers several viewpoints overlooking the city of Quebec and the St. Lawrence. In many places, frequent breaks of slopes have resulted in fine waterfalls, such as at Montmarency and Sault-à-la-Puce.

The recreation capability of the Lowland is restricted to the shares of the St. Lawrence. Swimming is poor almost everywhere, but the majestic aspect of the river, oceanliner traffic, and yachting passibilities make the shares ideally suited for cottaging. Elsewhere in the Lowland, there are relatively few points of interest. These include the waterfalls on the Chaudière River near Charny and on the Etchemin River near Pintendre, the fortresses at Quebec and Lévis, and boating passibilities on the Beaurivage, Bécancour, and du Sud rivers. Deer are hunted on the poorly drained, wooded lands on the edge of the Appalachian Region.

The Appalachian Region is ideally suited for skiing along such large rivers as the Chaudière and the Etchemin. Lakes are few and small. The highest elevations in the Notre Dame Mountains are generally too steep for skiing, but skiing is passible on the mare gentle slopes of the smaller mountains near Victoriaville, Thetford Mines, St-Sylvester, and Beauceville.

The rich mineral formation that extends to the northeast from Black Lake yields steatite and serpentine. Gold can be found in the tributaries of the Chaudière River and the Black Lake -Thetford vicinity is the mast important asbestas mining center in the world. The longest covered bridge in Quebec, which is 495 feet long,spans the Chaudière River at Notre-Dame-des-Pins.

recreation map

Capability classification by G· Robitaille, Canada Land Inventory Section, Quebec Department of Tourism, Fish and Game.

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The Middle St. Lawrence Forest Section is characterized by many different surface deposits and drainage classes. Forest types are described in association with particular drainage classes, beginning with well-drained soils. Sandy soils with rapid to good drainage generally support red and white pines. These soils are Orthic Humo-Ferric Podzols and have a rather low natural fertility. Finer sands are more fertile and support highly productive Forest species. Fine sands are rated Class 1, medium sands are rated Class 2F, and coarse sands are rated Class 2M/F.

Sugar maple beech tracts occur in association with yellow birch on shallow, well to moderately drained tills with an acidic pH level. These soils are Lithic Humo-Ferric Podzols and occasionally, Orthic Humo-Ferric Podzols. They have a rather low productivity and are rated Class 4M/R.

Maple - basswood tracts occur on well to moderately well-drained outwash tills and some fine soils that are composed of clayey or silty sand derived from limestone parent rock. These deposits generally form fairly fertile Orthic Melanic Brunisols and are rated Class 3c.

Maple - yellow birch stands are prominent on moderately well drained soils. These stands are characterized mainly by sugar maple and yellow birch associated with beech, some balsam fir, and occasionally hemlock. They are found on deep tills at the edges of the Laurentian and Appalachian plateaus on sandy silts, on loamy sands and on some clay loams in the St. Lawrence Plain. The soils are generally Orthic Dystric Brunisols or Orthic Humo-Ferric Podzols rated Class 3c. Sites of acidic outwash tills under similar drainage conditions are rated Class 3f .

Fir - yellow birch stands associated with some sugar maple, a few red maple, and scattered hemlock and cedar occupy imperfectly drained tills and outwash tills. Soils are generally Gleyed Humo-Ferric Podzols. Deep tills are rated Class 4w and outwash tills are rated Class 4w/f.

Elm - red maple tracts are the main site types on imperfectly drained sandy and loamy deposits. Black ash, cedar, and balsam fir are scattered throughout the predominating growth of white elsm and red maples. The soils are usually Gleyed Brunisols and are rated Class 4w .

Fine-textured deposits such as imperfectly to poorly drained loams over clay or clay, support elm-ash stands where elm and black ash are the main species in association with some red maple and cedar. Soils are usually Gleysols. Imperfectly drained sites are rated Class 3w and poorly drained sites are rated Class 4w/f. Soils that are periodically inundated and support these tracts are rated Class 3i.

Fir - red maple tracts compased essentially of balsam fir, red maple, and occasionally black ash, cedar, and hemlock occur on moderately well drained to poorly drained deposits of fine to medium sand. These soils are generally Orthic or Gleyed Humo-Ferric Podzols. These sites are rated Class 4x/f for medium sands with moderate to poor drainage, Class 4w for imperfectly drained, fine to medium sands, and Class 5w/f for poorly drained, fine textured sands. Fir - cedar sites compased almost exclusively of fir and cedar grow on till and clay deposits and on poorly drained organic soils. These sites are rated Class 4w . Fir-cedar tracts growing on poorly drained outwash tills are rated Class 5w .

Black spruce and tamarack growing in almost equal proportions form the black spruce - tamaracle tracts found mainly in peaty bogs. Because of very poor soil fertility and very poor drainage, annual productivity is very low and these sites are rated Class 5w for well-decomposed organic soils and Class 6w for poorly decompased organic soils. Some unproductive bog sites are rated Class 7w . Rock outcrops on some upland sites support stands of white pine and red spruce. These sites have low productivity and are rated Class 6m/r.

Most of the Appalachian region in the area is included in the eastern Townships Forest Section. Maple groves dominate the landscape and conifers are restricted to a few high hilltops where surface deposits are extremely shallow, to hilltops in the serpentine (asbestos) zone, to some very wet low-lying regions. Upland sites are usually covered with shallow till over bedrock and drainage is generally good. Maple and beech grow on these hilltop sites that have elevations of about 2000 feet and soils rated Class 4m/r. Soils that developed on well to moderately well drained, deep tills on flat hilltops, steep slopes or middle slopes are rated Class 3c. Maple - yellow birch stands and maple groves typical of mare southerly regions are found on these soils. Some white ash, ironwood, beech, and occasionally basswood also occur.

forestry capability map

On imperfectly drained tills located on the lower slopes or on gentle slopes, mare diversified maple groves occur. On these sites, basswood, white ash, ironwood, yellow birch, white elm, black cherry, and often butternut occur in association with maple. These soils have developed on silty till and often have very compact horizons at the base of the solum and in the parent material. These sites are rated Class 3w/d. Maple stands also thrive in sandy soils with good to moderate drainage. These stands include yellow birch, beech, and red maple on sites rated Class 4m/f. Imperfectly drained sandy soils support fir red maple stands on sites rated Class 4w/f. Black spruce grows on poorly drained soils, rated Class 5w . Fir and cedar are found on lower slopes and in low-lying regions. On these sites, a shallow layer of well-decomposed organic matter, one to two feet thick, covers the till or sand. These sites are rated Class 4w

Boggy soils in low-lying regions are rated Class 6w for eastern white cedar or black spruce, depending on whether the water was flowing or stagnant. Alluvium sites are rated Class 4w . On uplands higher than 2000 feet, fir - white birch tracts occur. Rock outcrops rated Class 7r are found in small sites adjacent to rapidly drained shallow tills. These sites are rated Class 6r and support white and red pine. Rapidly drained shallow tills, old wooded talus slopes, or barren talus slopes are rated Classes 3m/r, 6m/p, and 7p. respectively. Mining chips are rated Class 7n . The Temiscouata-Restigouche Forest Section lies in the northeastern part of the area. The sugar maple stands are less abundant and have mare northerly characteristics. The terrain, climate, and soil deposits favor the growth of evergreens. Maple-beach tracts occupy hilltops that are less than 2000 feet in elevation. The soil is well-drained shallow till over bedrock and the site rating is Class 4m/r. Maple - yellow birch stands dominate on upper and middle slopes mantled with a well to moderately well drained, deep till. These sites are rated Class 3c. Fir - yellow birch stands occur on the imperfectly drained tills of lower slopes. These sites are rated Class 4w.

Fir and cedar associations occur on poorly drained tills or sandy soils that are generally covered by a shallow layer of peat. These sites are rated Class 51 . Very poorly drained bogs supporting cedar or black spruce are rated Class 6w and unproductive bogs are rated Class 7w. Sandy soils with good to rapid drainage that support white and red pine are rated Class 2m/f. Sandy soils with moderate to imperfect drainage that support fir - red maple tracts are rated Class 4w . Black spruce and red spruce grow on the poorly drained tills and sandy soils of the flatlands adjacent to black spruce bogs. These sites are rated Class 5w . Fir-white birch stands grow on hilltops exceeding 2000 feet in altitude that have some surface deposits which are unfavorable to the growth of maple and beech. These upland sites where the elevation is sufficiently high that fir rather than maple has a dominant position, are located especially in the Saint-Philémon upland and in the southem part of Metgermette Township. The soil is shallow, moderately drained till rated Class 3r.

Yellow birch - fir stands are the intermediate link between the fir stands on the summits and the maple stands growing lower on the slopes. This imperfectly drained till is rated Class 4w and often extends over regions that are too small to be mapped.

Capability classification and general description by J.L. Brown and G. Gagnon, Research Section, Department of Lands and Forests, Quebec, 1973.

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