Nature & Geography | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article


    The nuthatch (Sittidae) family consists of small, tree-climbing birds with a short tail, pointed bill and long, sturdy toes and claws

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  • Article


    The Oak (Quercus) is a genus of trees and shrubs of the beech family (Fagaceae). Of the estimated 200 species found worldwide, 75-80 occur in North America and 10 in Canada.

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  • Article


    Oats (Avena sativa), member of the grass family (Gramineae), are grown for cereal grains.

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  • Article


    Octopus is the common name for all 8-armed cephalopod molluscs; it more properly refers to the largest genus in order Octopoda (over 100 species).

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  • Article

    Oilseed Crops

    Oilseed Crops are grown primarily for the oil contained in the seeds. The oil content of small grains (eg, wheat) is only 1-2%; that of oilseeds ranges from about 20% for soybeans to over 40% for sunflowers and rapeseed (canola).

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  • Article

    Old Crow Plain

    The vegetation is of the tundra type, with outliers of the boreal spruce forest; willow thickets line the course of the Old Crow River.

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  • Article

    Oldman River Society Case

    Several decisions of the Supreme Court relate to environmental protection: Dryden Chemicals, Crown Zellerbach and Friends of the Oldman River Society.

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  • Article


    The onion (Allium cepa), is a biennial, herbaceous plant of the Amaryllidaceae family. It is Canada's most important condiment crop. (Multiplier Onion) and A.

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  • Article


    The Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is Canada’s only marsupial. It belongs to one of three marsupial families native to the Americas. The Virginia opossum’s northernmost range reaches into Southern and Southeastern Ontario, Southern Quebec and the lower Fraser Valley in British Columbia. However, this range is slowly expanding north, likely due to climate change.

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  • Article


    Calypso bulbosa has similar but smaller, delicate pink flowers. Some Spiranthes and Habenaria species have small, whitish, fragrant flowers in a spike. Two genera, Eburophyton (plant is white) and Corallorhiza (plant is yellow to purple), live on decaying vegetable matter.

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  • Article

    Organic Agriculture

    Organic agriculture is defined as the sustainable cultivation of land for food production that nourishes soil life, nurtures animals in their natural environment and feeds them according to their physiology.

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  • Article


       Oriole is the common name for members of 2 families of birds. The Old World family Oriolidae occurs from Europe through Africa and Asia to Australia.

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  • Article


    The osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a large, cosmopolitan bird of prey characterized by a crested head and contrasting black, white and grey plumage.

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  • Article


     The river otter (Lutra canadensis) occurs throughout North America except in desert and arid tundra regions. In Canada it is scarce, except along the BC coast, where it is abundant and often wrongly identified as a sea otter.

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  • Macleans

    Our Dying Seas

    This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on October 5, 1998. Partner content is not updated.

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