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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion extends northward from Lake Laberge to the lower Stewart River in the central Yukon. The Yukon Plateau-Central ecoregion is composed of several groups of rolling hills and plateaus separated by deeply cut, broad valleys. The climate is cold and semiarid. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately -3.5°C with a summer mean of 12°C and a winter mean of -19°C. Mean annual precipitation varies from 250 mm in the southern areas near Carmacks to 400 mm at higher elevations in the north and east. White and black spruce form the most common forest types. Black spruce is usually dominant in wetter areas. Lodgepole pine frequently invades burnt-over areas and very dry sites. Alpine fir occasionally forms the treeline but is sparse and is usually associated with white spruce and occasionally with paper birch. Sedge tussocks and/or sphagnum are common in wetlands. Scrub birch and willow occur in subalpine sections that extend up to the treeline. A significant vegetative feature of this ecoregion is the presence of extensive grasslands on all low-elevation, south-facing slopes. The forests suffer frequently from recurring natural fires such that seral communities are most common. Elevations are above 1000 m asl, except for major river valleys, which lie below 600 m asl in the northwestern portion. Several mountains reach heights of 1500 m asl. Eutric Brunisols developed on steeply-sloping, ridged to hummocky, loamy morainal and sandy fluvioglacial material are dominant in the ecoregion. Much of the ecoregion is covered by a veneer of recent volcanic ash 10-30 cm thick. Permafrost is discontinuous to sporadic with high ice content associated with fine-textured valley deposits. Turbic Cryosols are confined to wet depressions and beneath mature forests on lower, north-facing slopes. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, grizzly and black bear, moose, beaver, fox, wolf, hare, raven, rock and willow ptarmigan, and golden eagle. Land uses reflect recreational, tourism, hunting, and trapping values as well as some forestry activities and mining. Major communities in the region are Carmacks and Pelly Crossing. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 600.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Cordillera ecozone.