Manitoba displays a large range of vegetation types that are arranged with a climatically determined north/south zonation. Grass-covered areas in the south give way to parkland and forested areas further north and eventually to shrub tundra in the extreme northeast.
In southern and west central Manitoba, agriculture, grazing, forestry and urban development have drastically altered the natural vegetation, but vast areas in the north and northeast are in near pristine state. Vegetation that often obscures the earth’s surface is clearly shown on air photos; particularly useful are colour infrared images that can detect stressed areas. Wetlands cover about 40 percent of Manitoba and do not conform to the climatically determined zonal distribution of vegetation. They occur in all parts of the province and provide distinctive ground cover well shown on air photos.
Individual animals are too small to appear on all except very large-scale images. However, some animals (e.g. beaver) profoundly affect drainage systems.
5.22: Part of Delta Marsh West of Delta Beach on the South Shore of Lake Manitoba
Delta Marsh extends for over 25 miles (40 km) along the south shore of Lake Manitoba 1. The marsh, which experiences large water level fluctuations, has never been reclaimed for agriculture, in contrast to land further south. This photo of the western end of the marsh shows a series of small streams 2 draining to the lake and several lakes 3. The distribution of open water and aquatic plant vegetation make this internationally famous delta marshland an ideal habitat for duck breeding. Ditch reed, bulrushes, and cattails are common aquatic plants. The beach is gentle with sand bars 4—often with a boulder barrier 5 at the back—driven into place by ice during the winter.
The University of Manitoba operates a research station on the delta, but the only indicator of human activity is a path along a levee 6 with offshoots to west 7 and east 8, the latter running along the south edge of the only woodland in the area 9.
Figure 5.22: Part of Delta Marsh West of Delta Beach on the South Shore of Lake Manitoba
Vertical air photograph: A18621-45
Flight height: 6775 a.s.l.; lens focal length: 152.13 mm