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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

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