Environmental Issues > Wildlands Main Page > All Wildlands Documents

Photo of the boreal forest

Photo: Bryan Evans

West of the Canadian Shield, the boreal forest runs through the Prairie Provinces and on into the mountainous landscape of the Pacific Northwest. In the Kaska region, straddling portions of British Columbia, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, glacier-clad peaks frame a huge boreal wilderness of high plateaus, lakes, rivers and lowlands. This area supports populations of alpine species such as grizzly bears, mountain goats, collared pikas and dall sheep, in addition to more typical boreal wildlife including moose, caribou and migratory songbirds.

Photo of northern Saskatchewan

Photo: Stewart Elgie

Another distinctive boreal "ecozone" is the Interior Plains. This landscape of low-lying valleys and broad flats runs through the midsections of Manitoba and Saskatchewan and much of Alberta. Soils here are much richer than in Shield country, and support a greater diversity of plants and wildlife. Dense stands of aspen and poplar cover much of the area, with a diverse understory of shrubs and herbs. Black spruce and tamarack cover areas that are poorly drained or colder. The Interior Plains are pockmarked with countless "kettle ponds" shaped by the last ice age; these waters provide breeding habitat for huge numbers of ducks, geese and other waterfowl during the summer.

last revised 7/20/2004

Get Updates and Alerts

See the latest issue >

Give the Gift That Will Make a Difference: Leader of the Pack

NRDC Gets Top Ratings from the Charity Watchdogs

Charity Navigator awards NRDC its 4-star top rating.
Worth magazine named NRDC one of America's 100 best charities.
NRDC meets the highest standards of the Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau.

Donate now >

Related Stories

Q&A: Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns on National Parks
Ken Burn spoke to OnEarth about his motivation for his new documentary series on America's national parks.
In the Canadian Boreal Forest, a Conservation Ethic at Work
After fighting successfully for years to keep destructive logging, hydropower and mining projects out of their traditional territory, the people of Poplar River are now working to secure permanent protection for their boreal forest homeland.
Shop Smart, Save Forests
Share | |
Find NRDC on