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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion extends from the Alaska boundary southeastward to the Taiga Ranges. The ecoregion occupies the northern portions of the unglaciated Ogilvie and Wernecke mountains and associated intermontane basins. Except for a few higher mountain summits, the terrain consists of flat-topped and rounded hills, which are eroded remnants of a former plain. The climate is strongly continental. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately -6°C with a summer mean of 9°C and a winter mean of -21.5°C. Strong temperature inversions exist through the winter. Some of the coldest temperatures in Canada are experienced in valley bottoms in winter, where values of -50°C are not uncommon. Mean annual precipitation ranges 300-400 mm. Open white spruce grows in a matrix of ericaceous shrubs, dwarf willow, birch, and a ground cover of moss and lichen in more protected subalpine sections of this  ecoregion. Paper birch can form extensive communities on lower-elevation and mid-slope terrain. Many of the mountain slopes are largely devoid of vegetation, particularly steeply-sloping calcareous rock outcrops. The bedrock is dominated by Palaeozoic limestones and marine shales. Most elevations are 900-1350 m asl, and the highest peak is 1803 m asl. River valleys are frequently wide and flat-bottomed. Turbic and Static Cryosols developed on coarse rubbly to fine colluvium are dominant in the region. Inclusions on permafrost-free sites support Eutric Brunisol and Melanic Brunisol soil development. Permafrost is continuous with low to medium ice content. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, grizzly and black bear, Dall's sheep, moose, beaver, fox, wolf, hare, raven, rock and willow ptarmigan, and bald and golden eagle. Land uses include recreation, tourism, hunting, and trapping values. Potential reserves of mineral and hydrocarbon resources exist.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Cordillera ecozone.