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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion lies along the Yukon-Alaska border extending southeastward to include the Dawson Range. The ecoregion is dominated by low-elevation terrain and includes the Wellesley Basin and portions of the Kluane and Klondike plateaus. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately -5.5°C with a summer mean of 10.5°C and a winter mean of -23°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 300-450 mm. Mean monthly air temperature ranges are extreme under this continental climate. The short, warm summers are in sharp contrast to the long, very cold winters. The official lowest temperature recorded in North America was at Snag in the southern end of the ecoregion.  On February 3, 1947 a temperature of -63°C was observed. Open black and white spruce forests with aspen and occasionally lodgepole pine are most prevalent in the warmer boreal sections. Black spruce and paper birch prevail on slopes underlain by permafrost. Balsam poplar occurs along floodplains. Scrub birch and willow form extensive stands in subalpine sections from valley bottoms to well above the treeline. Characteristic terrain features include smooth, unglaciated, rolling plateau topography with moderate to deeply incised valleys and large structural basins composed of level to undulating glaciated terrain. Most of the terrain lies 1000-1500 m asl elevation, the highest peak being 2148 m asl. Major drainage channels extend below 1000 m asl. The unglaciated Klondike Plateau is dissected by deep, narrow, V-shaped valleys. Permafrost is extensive and discontinuous with medium ice content in fine-textured valley deposits. Turbic Cryosols associated with permafrost and Eutric Brunisols developed on irregular, steeply-sloping, loamy colluvial materials are dominant in the region. Regosols occur on sandy floodplains. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, grizzly and black bear, Dall's sheep, moose, beaver, fox, wolf, hare, raven, rock and willow ptarmigan, and golden eagle. Land uses include wilderness recreation, tourism, hunting, and trapping values. Placer mining has historically been active in this ecoregion since the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. The major community is Dawson. The western-most community in Canada, Beaver Creek, lies within this ecoregion on the Alaska-Yukon border at 141° W latitude. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 1600.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Cordillera ecozone.