Manitoba’s endangered alvars: an initial description of their extent and status

Rebekah Neufeld, Cary Hamel, Chris Friesen


Alvars are rare in Canada and uncommon globally. This study represents the first formal attempt to describe and delineate the extent of alvars in Manitoba. A systematic examination of the Interlake region’s edaphic and biological characteristics, using a geographic information system, resulted in the identification of 67 sites warranting further field study. Of these sites, 61 were surveyed and information was collected on vegetation composition and structure, soil characteristics, land ownership, and land use. Alvar was confirmed at 28 sites, extending over approximately 3930 ha in five geographically distinct clusters. Four putative types of alvar communities are described: grassland, shrubland, savannah, and wetland. Livestock grazing is the dominant land use and occurs across more than three-quarters of Manitoba alvar. Approximately 12% coincide with mining claims or quarry leases. Two-thirds occur on publicly owned land.


Alvar; karst; endangered ecosystem; Manitoba; Interlake; limestone; dolomite

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