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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This foothills ecoregion covers a somewhat drier section of the "Interior Wet Belt" than the adjacent Columbia Mountains and Highlands (ecoregion 205). It extends from the south-central part of eastern British Columbia south to the international border. The ecoregion embraces the southwestern flank of the Columbia Mountains and the southeastern portion of the Columbia Highlands. It is a complex of subalpine and moist montane vegetation zones. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately 5.5°C with a summer mean of 14.5°C and a winter mean of -3.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 500 mm in the cedar-hemlock forested valleys to greater than 800 mm in the upland areas. The subalpine is characterized by forests of Engelmann spruce and alpine fir which predominate at 1200-2150 m asl. Open stands of alpine fir, larch, or whitebark pine may be found at higher elevations. In lower valleys, mature forests consist of western hemlock and western red cedar, and seral stands consist of lodgepole pine and Douglas-fir with some western white pine and western larch. The ecoregion is underlain by 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. The mountains in this ecoregion are somewhat lower and less rugged than the series of ranges to the north. Humo-Ferric Podzols with Dystric Brunisolic soils developed on irregular, steeply-sloping colluvial and morainal deposits are dominant at the upper elevations, while Dystric Brunisols are most common at the lower elevations. Characteristic wildlife includes mule and white-tailed deer, woodland caribou, grizzly and black bear, and grouse. Forestry, mining, outdoor recreation, tourism-related activities, and a limited amount of agriculture and grazing are the main land uses. The main communities are Trail, Castlegar, and Rossland. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 33 700.

This ecoregion is part of the Montane Cordillera ecozone.