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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion extends northwestward from the southeastern corner of Manitoba to the Saskatchewan boundary north of the Porcupine Hills (Mid-Boreal Uplands 152). The climate is marked by warm summers and cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately 1°C. The mean summer temperature is 15.5°C and the mean winter temperature is -14.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 425 mm in the northwest to 575 mm in the southeast. The ecoregion is classified as having a subhumid low boreal ecoclimate. It is part of the dominantly deciduous boreal forest that extends from southeastern Manitoba to the Peace River in north-central Alberta. It presents a mosaic of farmland and forest, marking the southern limit of closed boreal forest and northern extent of arable agriculture. Its native vegetative cover consists of a closed cover of tall to low trembling aspen with secondary quantities of balsam poplar, an understory of tall shrubs, and a ground cover of mixed herbs. White spruce and balsam fir are the climax species but are not well represented. Open stands of tall jack pine occur on dry, sandy sites. Depressions are water-filled or are covered with sedges, willow, some black spruce, and tamarack. Underlain by flat-lying Palaeozoic limestone, the region is covered by broadly ridged, extremely calcareous, glacial till and by shallow, level lacustrine sands, silts, and clays. Predominant soils are Dark Gray Chernozems. Peaty Gleysols and Mesisols are usually associated with poorly drained depressions. The ecoregion includes habitat for white-tailed deer, black bear, moose, beaver, coyote, snowshoe hare, and eastern cottontail, as well as for waterfowl and colonial water birds like cormorant, gull, tern, heron, American white pelican, and grebe. Approximately 40% of the ecoregion is in farmland. Growing season length, available heat, and precipitation permit production of spring wheat, other cereal grains, oilseeds, and hay on the more suitable lacustrine soils. Native hay used for pasture is more prevalent on the stony, glacial till soils. The major communities include Swan River, Gypsumville, Winnipegosis, Riverton, Steinbach, and Selkirk. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 84 600.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Plains ecozone.