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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion in northeastern Alberta includes the lower reaches of the Peace and Athabasca rivers, the Peace-Athabasca delta, and the Slave River drainage up to Great Slave Lake in the Northwest Territories. The climate is characterized by short, cool summers and long, cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately -2°C. The mean summer temperature is 13°C and the mean winter temperature is -17.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 300-400 mm. The ecoregion is classified as having a subhumid mid-boreal ecoclimate. Its boreal vegetation is typically medium to tall, closed stands of trembling aspen, balsam poplar, and jack pine with white and black spruce, and balsam fir occurring in late successional stages. Cold and poorly drained fens and bogs are covered with tamarack, black spruce, ericaceous shrubs, and mosses. Underlain by relatively flat, low-relief Palaeozoic carbonates, and except for the delta, the region is mainly an undulating sandy plain with some eolian features. Up to 50% of the area is covered by peatlands. Sporadic discontinuous permafrost with low ice content is prevalent, mainly in the organic deposits. Dystric Brunisols are the main soils with some Gleysols and some saline inclusions along the Slave River. Regosols and Gleysols are the most common soils on the alluvial materials of the Slave River delta. Characteristic wildlife includes moose, black bear, wolf, lynx, beaver, muskrat, snowshoe hare, waterfowl, sandhill crane, ruffed grouse, and other birds. This region contains most of Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest park in Canada (44 840 km2). It is also the home of the world's largest bison herd. Other land uses include hunting, fishing, trapping, and some mineral exploration. The major communities include Pine Point, Fort Resolution, and Fort Smith. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 5600.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Plains ecozone.