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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion is composed of a complex of ecosystems covering alternating mountain ridges and valleys within the rain shadow of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains. The Chilcotin Ranges are high and somewhat rounded, reaching 2700 m asl. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately 3.5°C with a summer mean of 12°C and a winter mean of -5.5°C. Mean annual precipitation follows a strong gradient with the western edge of the ecoregion receiving 1200 mm and the eastern flanks receiving 600 mm. Alpine tundra vegetation communities are found at elevations above 1900 m asl. Engelmann spruce, subalpine fir, and lodgepole pine dominate the subalpine zone. Lodgepole pine and pine grass understory with some aspen, white spruce, and Douglas-fir make up the montane forests of the ecoregion. Steeply-sloping veneers and blankets of coarse colluvium and glacial till form the dominant soil parent materials. Regosolic soils are common in alpine zones, Dystric Brunisols and Humo-Ferric Podzols are found in subalpine and montane zones, and Gray Luvisols and Eutric Brunisols occur on increasingly drier sites at the lowest elevations. Characteristic wildlife includes California bighorn sheep, mountain goat, mule deer, grizzly and black bear, coyote, and blue grouse. Land uses reflect high recreational and wildlife values, as well as mineral exploration and development in alpine and subalpine zones. Forestry activities occur in lower, warmer elevations. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 300.

This ecoregion is part of the Montane Cordillera ecozone.