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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion extends from southern Manitoba to central Alberta. The ecoregion is characterized by warm summers and cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately 1°C. The mean summer temperature is 14°C and the mean winter temperature is -13.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 450 mm in the west to 550 mm in the east. The ecoregion is classified as having a subhumid low boreal ecoclimate. As part of the dominantly deciduous boreal forest, it is characterized by a mix of forest and farmland. It marks the southern limit of closed boreal forest and northern advance of arable agriculture. A closed cover of tall, trembling aspen with secondary quantities of balsam poplar, a thick understory of mixed herbs, and tall shrubs is the predominant vegetation. White spruce and balsam fir are the climax species, but are not well represented because of fires. Poorly drained sites are usually covered with sedges, willow, some black spruce, and tamarack. Underlain by Cretaceous shale, this hummocky to kettled plain is covered by calcareous, glacial till and significant inclusions of relatively level lacustrine deposits. Associated with the rougher morainal deposits are a large number of small lakes, ponds, and sloughs occupying shallow depressions. The region drains northeastward via the Saskatchewan River system. Well- to imperfectly drained Gray Luvisols and Dark Gray Chernozemic soils are predominant. Local areas of Black Chernozemic, peaty Gleysolic, and Mesisolic soils also occur. The region also provides habitat for white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, beaver, coyote, snowshoe hare, and cottontail. It also provides critical habitat for large numbers of neotropical migrant bird species, as well as ruffed grouse and waterfowl. Over 70% of the ecoregion is farmland, spring wheat and other cereals, oilseeds, and hay are the dominant crops. Other land uses include forestry, hunting, fishing, and recreation. The major communities include Athabasca, Lac la Biche, Meadow Lake, Prince Albert, Melfort, Hudson Bay, and Kamsack. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 298 100.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Plains ecozone.