A Very Challenging Environment
Our limestone barrens present many challenges to their plant and animal inhabitants.
New Ferrole Lighthouse. North American Rock Garden Society field trip, 2005. Photo:
John Maunder. [CLICK image to enlarge.]
1. Limestone Soils:
2. Barren Habitat:
The flora is generally exposed to damaging and drying winds,
and must survive in poor rocky soils that are often overly-well drained and unstable.
3. Frost Action:
The soils of our limestone barrens are subjected to dramatic cycles of freezing and thawing, that greatly
disturb the soil, and present unique challenges.
4. Proximity to Human Habitation:
Most of the barrens are located within, or very close to, human habitation. As a result, the flora and fauna is
constantly under the threat of damage or complete destruction by everyday human use of their habitat.
5. Climate Change:
The limestone barrens of Newfoundland and Labrador occupy a very restricted area. Thus, most of the
limestone organisms that live there are quite rare, at least in our region.
The worry is that climate warming may both diminish the already small size of our barrens (through natural reforestation),
and cause cold-loving arctic and alpine species at
the limit of their ranges here to perish from our shores.
[Page last updated: February 29, 2012]