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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion lies within the Stewart, Macmillan, and Pelly plateaus and the southern foothills of the Selwyn Mountains. The terrain includes rolling uplands, small mountain groups, and nearly level tablelands dissected by deeply cut, generally broad, U-shaped valleys. The Tintina Trench, a straight, steep-sided valley 5-22 km wide, traverses the ecoregion from southeast to northwest. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately -4°C with a summer mean of 10.5°C and a winter mean of -20°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges from 300 mm in the major valleys up to 600 in the mountains to the northeast. Northern boreal forests exist at elevations up to 1500 m asl. White spruce in a matrix of dwarf willow, birch, ericaceous shrubs, and, occasionally, lodgepole pine forms extensive open forests, particularly in the northwestern portion of the ecoregion. Black spruce, scrub willow, birch, and mosses are found on poorly drained sites. Alpine fir and lodgepole pine occur in higher subalpine sections, whereas alpine vegetation consists of mountain avens, dwarf willow, birch, ericaceous shrubs, graminoid species, and mosses. Extensive discontinuous permafrost with a medium ice content is widespread decreasing to sporadic discontinuous permafrost along the southwestern edge of the region. Turbic Cryosolic and Eutric Brunisolic soils predominate, and occasional pockets of Dystric Brunisols occur on coarse-textured morainal and fluvioglacial materials. 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 mining, recreation, hunting, and trapping values. Major communities in the area are Keno Hill, Mayo, and Ross River. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 2100.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Cordillera ecozone.