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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada

FRASER BASIN

This ecoregion covers the plateaus and plains of north-central British Columbia. The region occupies the Nechako Lowlands, the northern portion of the Nechako Plateau, the southern portion of the Northern Rocky Mountain Trench, and the western flank of the MacGregor Plateau. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately 3°C with a summer mean of 12.5°C and a winter mean of -8°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 600-800 mm. Forests are characterized by mixed stands of trembling aspen, paper birch, lodgepole pine, and the climax species, white and black spruce. The subalpine zone that occurs above 1200 m asl, supports forests of lodgepole pine, which develop after fires, as well as Engelmann spruce and alpine fir. The ecoregion is underlain by flat-lying Tertiary and volcanic bedrock that generally lies below 1000 m asl. It has a gently rolling surface covered by thick glacial drift into which the Fraser River and its major tributaries are commonly incised. The glacial deposits include moraine with well-developed drumlinoid features, glaciofluvial terraces, eskers, and large areas of glacial lake deposits. Gray Luvisolic and Dystric Brunisolic soils are dominant in the region. Isolated patchy permafrost occurs in the northern part of the ecoregion. Characteristic wildlife includes moose, mule deer, wolf, muskrat, lynx, black bear, migratory waterfowl, and spruce and ruffed grouse. Forestry is the predominant land use. Ranching, hunting, some trapping, tourism, and forage-based agriculture are also common land uses. Major communities include Prince George, Fort St. James, and Quesnel. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 110 600.

This ecoregion is part of the Montane Cordillera ecozone.