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Ecological Framework of Canada
Taiga Cordillera Ecozone

The Taiga Cordillera Ecozone is a land of magnificent beauty. It is a mountain stronghold of towering peaks, untamed rivers slicing their way between sheer rock walls, broad windswept uplands dominated by alpine and arctic shrubs and flowers, plus vast wetlands and spruce-lined valleys that support many kinds of wildlife. This land hosts some of Canada's largest waterfalls, deepest canyons, and wildest rivers.

Straddling the Yukon-Northwest Territories border, this ecozone contains the northernmost arc of the Rocky Mountain chain. To the northwest are expansive wetlands and rolling hills that stretch to the Beaufort coast. Treeless arctic tundra dominates its northern reaches and gives way to a mix of alpine tundra and lowland forests farther south. "Cordillera" refers to the series of mountain ranges and valleys that form this ecozone's rugged interior. Here the mark of forces that create and destroy mountains can be clearly seen in the record of the rocks.

The diverse habitats, from valley bottoms to mountain tops, support a wide range of mammals, including two kinds of caribou and bears. The birds that nest here include a mixture of species typical of the Arctic and Subarctic, as well as eastern and western Canada.

The earliest human inhabitants of this area migrated across the Bering land bridge during the decline of the last ice age about 12 000 years ago. An ice-free corridor paralleling the Mackenzie Mountains allowed early colonization by the Athapaskan ancestors of today's Slavey, Mountain Dene, and Gwich’in peoples. Industrial developments related to this area's rich oil, gas, and mineral reserves are few, and the northwestern rim of the country remains a vast wilderness area.