The higher elevations and cooler temperatures of the Algonquin Highlands in the northeastern part of Muskoka support species with a distinct northern flavour, and spruce conifer swamps and meadow marshes become more common.
The coastal climate of the low elevation bedrock barrens and pine-capped ridges along the Georgian Bay shore on the west
side of Muskoka support the highest diversity of reptiles and amphibians in the province.
The Severn River corridor in southwest Muskoka is part of the "Land in Between", the contact zone between the Shield region and the northern edge of the limestone bedrock characteristic of southern Ontario, and contains one of the richest diversities of aquatic plants in Canada.
The dry sand plains and Pine-Oak barrens interspersed with abundant wetlands, characteristic of the Torrance Barrens and portions of southeast Muskoka, host a number of plant and animal species with a definite southern affinity.
The thin soils of the rocky shores, bays, and islands of the three major lakes that characterize the central portions of Muskoka support upland deciduous and mixed forests.
To the north and east
of this area is the former shoreline of the glacial Lake Algonquin, with extensive and sometimes deep deposits of sand, gravel, and clay, and large areas cleared for agriculture.
For more detailed information about these unique biophysical zones, read the Natural Heritage Areas Evaluation Report, prepared as part of the Muskoka Heritage Areas Program, available at Muskoka Water Web