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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion covers the Interior Plateau and interior foothills of the Coast Mountains of central British Columbia, from François Lake in the northwest to Bonaparte Lake in the southeast. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately 3°C with a summer mean of 12.5°C and a winter mean of -7°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 250-600 mm. The highest values occur at higher elevations in the west along the Chilcotin Ranges and the lowest values (250-300 mm) occur in the area around the junction of the Chilcotin and Fraser rivers. The ecoregion is dominated by white spruce, lodgepole pine, trembling aspen, and Douglas-fir forests. Open-growing lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir occur on drier mid-elevation sites. Engelmann spruce and alpine fir are found at subalpine elevations, usually above 1250 m asl. In addition, bunchgrass-dominated grasslands occur at valley bottom elevations along the Fraser and Chilcotin rivers. Localized alpine tundra vegetation occurs on the summits of the Quanchus Range south of Ootsa Lake and the shield volcanoes of the Ilgachuz and Itcha ranges. This broad, rolling plateau generally lies 1150-1800 m asl. Surface deposits include glacial till with well-developed drumlinoid features, pitted terraces, simple and compound eskers, and areas of glacial lake (lacustrine) deposits. Gray Luvisolic and Dystric Brunisolic soils are dominant in the region. Numerous depressions in the landscape are occupied by Organic soils. Dark Gray to Brown Chernozemic soils occur on sites at the lowest elevations. Characteristic wildlife includes California bighorn sheep, moose, mule deer, caribou, wolf, coyote, black bear, blue and sharp-tailed grouse, waterfowl, and sandhill crane. Forestry and ranching are the main land uses, along with outdoor recreation including hunting and fishing. Five percent of the ecoregion is farmland. Major communities include Williams Lake, Anahim Lake, Smithers, Vanderhoof, and 100 Mile House. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 69 400.

This ecoregion is part of the Montane Cordillera ecozone.