Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is the largest province by area and the second-largest by population. Located in Central Canada, the province shares land borders with Ontario to the west, Newfoundland and Labrador to the northeast, New Brunswick to the southeast, and a coastal border with Nunavut; in the south it borders Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York in the United States.
Given the geology of the province and its different climates, there are a number of large areas of vegetation in Quebec. These areas, listed in order from the northernmost to the southernmost are: the tundra, the taiga, the Canadian boreal forest, mixed forest and deciduous forest. On the edge of Ungava Bay and Hudson Strait is the tundra, whose flora is limited to lichen with less than 50 growing days per year. Further south, the climate is conducive to the growth of the Canadian boreal forest, bounded on the north by the taiga. Not as arid as the tundra, the taiga is associated with the subarctic regions of the Canadian Shield and is characterized by a greater number of both plant and animal species. The taiga covers about 20% of the total area of Quebec. The Canadian boreal forest is the northernmost and most abundant of the three forest areas in Quebec that straddle the Canadian Shield and the upper lowlands of the province. Given a warmer climate, the diversity of organisms is also higher: there are about 850 plant species and 280 vertebrate species. The mixed forest is a transition zone between the Canadian boreal forest and deciduous forest. This area contains a diversity of plant and vertebrates species, despite relatively cool temperatures. The ecozone mixed forest is characteristic of the Laurentians, the Appalachians and the eastern lowland forests. The third most northern forest area is characterized by deciduous forests. Because of its climate, this area has the greatest diversity of species, including more than 1600 vascular plants and 440 vertebrates.
The total forest area of Quebec is estimated at 750,300 km2, From the Abitibi-Témiscamingue to the North Shore, the forest is composed primarily of conifers such as the Abies balsamea, the jack pine, the white spruce, the black spruce and the tamarack. The deciduous forest of the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Lowlands is mostly composed of deciduous species such as the sugar maple, the red maple, the white ash, the American beech, the butternut, the American elm, the basswood, the bitternut hickory and the northern red oak as well as some conifers such as the eastern white pine and the northern whitecedar. The distribution areas of the paper birch, the trembling aspen and the mountain ash cover more than half of Quebec's territory.
Biodiversity of the estuary and gulf of Saint Lawrence River includes aquatic mammal wildlife, such as the blue whale, the beluga, the minke whale and the harp seal, The Nordic marine animals include the walrus and the narwhal. Inland waters are populated by small to large freshwater fish, such as the largemouth bass, the American pickerel, the walleye, the Acipenser oxyrinchus, the muskellunge, the Atlantic cod, the Arctic char, the brook trout, the Microgadus tomcod, the Atlantic salmon, and the rainbow trout.
Among the birds commonly seen in the southern part of Quebec are the American robin, the house sparrow, the red-winged blackbird, the mallard, the common grackle, the blue jay, the American crow, the black-capped chickadee, some warblers and swallows, the starling and the rock pigeon. Avian fauna includes birds of prey like the golden eagle, the peregrine falcon, the snowy owl and the bald eagle. Sea and semi-aquatic birds seen in Quebec are mostly the Canada goose, the double-crested cormorant, the northern gannet, the European herring gull, the great blue heron, the sandhill crane, the Atlantic puffin and the common loon.
The large land wildlife includes the white-tailed deer, the moose, the muskox, the caribou, the American black bear and the polar bear. The medium-sized land wildlife includes the cougar, the coyote, the eastern wolf, the bobcat, the Arctic fox, the fox, etc. The small animals seen most commonly include the eastern grey squirrel, the snowshoe hare, the groundhog, the skunk, the raccoon, the chipmunk and the Canadian beaver.