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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion covers the Kluane, Ruby, and Nisling ranges, Shakwak Valley (Trench), and Kluane Plateau. The climate is characterized by short, cool summers and long, cold winters. Winter temperature inversions are common, giving milder temperatures at higher elevation. Maritime air from the Gulf of Alaska periodically invades the ecoregion during the winter to produce mild spells with near-thawing temperatures. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately -3°C with a summer mean of 10°C and a winter mean of -17°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 250-300 mm. Northern boreal forests occupy lower slopes and valley bottoms. Open white and black spruce in a matrix of dwarf willow, birch, ericaceous shrubs, and, occasionally, lodgepole pine form extensive forests. Black spruce, scrub willow, birch, and mosses are found on poorly drained sites. Alpine fir and lodgepole pine occur in higher subalpine sections, whereas at highest elevations sparsely vegetated alpine communities consist of mountain avens, dwarf willow, birch, ericaceous shrubs, graminoid species, and mosses. The terrain consists of rolling to undulating hills above 900 m asl, and the highest peak is 2304 m asl. The most common soils in this ecoregion are Eutric Brunisols on sandy loam morainal or colluvial materials. West of the Nisling Range, there is an area of Turbic Cryosols on sandy loam morainal material. Regosolic soils are associated with active deposition of gravelly fluvioglacial outwash materials on braided floodplains. Volcanic ash from the 1300 year old White River eruption is up to 100 cm thick on lower slopes. In these cases, the soils are classified as either Regosols or Regosolic Turbic Cryosols, depending on the presence or absence of permafrost. Permafrost is extensive and discontinuous over most of the ecoregion decreasing to sporadic along the western side of the ecoregion. 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 reflect high recreational, tourism, and hunting values in alpine and subalpine sections. Mining potential is locally high. Forestry resources are significant in lower slopes and valley bottoms. The main community in the region is Haines Junction. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 700.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Cordillera ecozone.