Home | Ecozones
Ecological Framework of Canada
Montane Cordillera Ecozone

The Montane Cordillera Ecozone is the most diverse of Canada's 15 terrestrial ecozones, exhibiting some of the driest, wettest, coldest, and hottest conditions anywhere in the country. The ecosystems are variable, ranging from alpine tundra and dense conifer forests to dry sagebrush and grasslands. Much of the region is rugged and mountainous.

The ecozone covers 473 000 square kilometres of Canada, stretching from north-central British Columbia south to the United States border. It encompasses the Alberta Foothills as well as the interior mountain ranges and valleys of B.C., including the Okanagan and the East and East Kootenay valleys.

The Montane Cordillera encompasses two of the four significant agricultural areas of the province; the Creston Valley and the Okanagan Valley. In the latter, orchards, vineyards and cash crops take advantage of favourable soil conditions. Cattle ranching is dominant throughout much of the other interior plateau and valley lands.

Forestry is the major industry of the lower and middle slopes, while the interior wet belt is the most productive fibre production area in the inland of B.C. Mining is an important activity within the ecozone -- five of B.C's eight coal mines and three of Alberta's 11 are located within its boundaries.