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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion covers the "Interior Wet Belt" of British Columbia. It extends from the northern end of the Cariboo Mountains south to the international border. The mountains, composed of a series of ranges and alternating trenches, contain many peaks higher than 3000 m asl and are ruggedly sculptured. These peaks are composed of glaciers and rock outcrops. The ecoregion is a complex of elevationally stratified montane to alpine ecosystems. The mean annual temperature for the ecoregion varies from north to south but an average of 5°C with a summer mean of 14°C and a winter mean of -5°C is typical for major valley systems. Mean annual precipitation ranges up to 1200 mm. In the major valleys precipitation is between 1000-1100 mm falling locally to less than 1000 mm in drier valleys. At elevations below 1200 m asl in major valleys are found mature forests of western hemlock and western red cedar, mixed with occasional Douglas-fir, western white pine, and western larch. The subalpine zone is characterized by Engelmann spruce and alpine fir and stands of lodgepole pine, which can develop after fire. The ecoregion incorporates the Columbia Mountains and the western portion of the Columbia Highlands, which are composed of folded sedimentary and volcanic strata and massive metamorphic rocks of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic age. All are intruded by small to large bodies of igneous and volcanic rocks. Humo-Ferric Podzols with Dystric Brunisolic soils developed on colluvial and morainal deposits are the dominant soils in the ecoregion. Characteristic wildlife includes grizzly and black bear, woodland caribou, mountain goat, grouse, and waterfowl; mule and white-tailed deer, and American elk (wapiti) in the south; and moose in the north. Forestry, mountain recreation, localized agriculture and grazing, tourism, mining, and hydroelectric power production are all uses of land. Several large provincial and national parks are included in this ecoregion. Some main communities are Revelstoke, Nelson, Blue River, Wells, and Creston. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 57 000.

This ecoregion is part of the Montane Cordillera ecozone.