In this part we return to a point made in the Foreword to this volume: the Quaternary is the geological time period in which we live. In particular, we look at some aspects of the development of the present environment of Canada, noting that this environment is unique in several ways. Man’s interactions with this environment, the resources available to him, the geological hazards he is exposed to, and the use he makes of the environment are reviewed.
The discussions are presented in six chapters, each covering one aspect of the subject. The first chapter, on Quaternary paleoenvironments, looks at how the present environment developed in postglacial time and also considers earlier Quaternary environments resulting from cooling and warming of climate. The information is presented in the form of seven paleobotanical case histories, and the emphasis of the chapter is on the development of the present vegetation of Canada and, by inference, the present climate of Canada. One case history, by McAndrews and Boyko-Diakonow, shows the influence of man on the vegetation of a small area of southern Ontario over the last thousand years.