Boreal Plains Ecozone (CEC)

Athabasca oil sands Whooping Crane Summer Range Wood Buffalo National Park

The Boreal Plains Ecozone, as defined by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), is a terrestrial ecozone in the western Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. It also has minor extensions into northeastern British Columbia and south-central Northwest Territories.[1][2] The region extends over 779,471 km2, of which 58,981 km2 is conserved (7.6 percent).[3]

Wood Buffalo National Park, the largest national park in Canada, and Whooping Crane Summer Range, the only nesting and breeding area for the critically endangered whooping crane, are both located in the northern portion of this ecozone.[4]

Industry in this ecozone once consisted primarily of forestry and agriculture, but in 1967 the Great Canadian Oil Sands Limited began extracting bitumen from the Athabasca oil sands. Operations there have expanded significantly since 2003, and the oil sands are becoming an increasingly significant economic factor in the region.

Geography

Overlaying a bedrock of Cretaceous shale and Tertiary sediments are thick deposits of soil that form a flat terrain in the Interior Plains.[5] It borders the Montane Cordillera to the west, closely following the border between Alberta and British Columbia. To its south is the Prairies ecozone for its entire extent, while to the north are the Taiga Plains, with its northeastern periphery adjacent to the Taiga Shield. 20 sub-region are located within the ecoregion.[6]

Covering 650,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi), it is a region of subdued relief with few lakes. However, meltwater from glacial retreat between 11,000 and 8,000 years ago resulted in extensive deltas and dunes, forming Lake Winnipegosis at the eastern end of this zone.[7] It is a remnant of Lake Agassiz, a large glacial lake.[7] Most rivers originate in the Rocky Mountains, flowing eastward through the zone.[7]

Oil, Forestry, and agriculture are the largest industries. The region is nearly covered by timber, about 84% of the region,[8] The Athabasca oil sands area around 141,000 square kilometres (54,000 sq mi) of land. Agriculture takes place mainly in the Peace River Country in Alberta and British Columbia. This can employ up to 20% of the land area, though it is typically less than that. Large communities include, Fort St. John, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Hayriver, La Ronge, and The Pas.

Climate

Lying east of the Rocky Mountains, the region experiences low precipitation, averaging 450 millimetres (18 in) annually,[7] with 300 millimetres (12 in) in the west and 650 millimetres (26 in) in the east. However, this is greater than the rate of evaporation by over 100 millimetres (3.9 in) in the south, and 300 millimetres (12 in) in the north and at the foothills of the Rockies. The excess moisture promotes the development of wetlands and peat bogs, which account for between 25–50% of the ecozone's area.[9]

Summers are moderately warm, with mean July temperatures of 13 to 15 °C (55 to 59 °F), whereas winters may be very cold, with mean January temperatures of −17.5 to −11 °C (0.5 to 12.2 °F).[9]

EcoRegions

Each province continues to work on defining subregions within the larger national ecozone system.[10]

The Alberta Natural Subregion – Natural Regions (2006) found within this ecozone are:[11]

The Manitoba Ecoregions within this ecozone are:[12]

The Saskatchewan Ecoregions within this ecozone are:[13]

Protected areas

A number of protected areas have been established to protect representative and/or significant portions of this ecozone. These include:

Alberta

Manitoba

Saskatchewan

References

  1. ^ "Terrestrial Ecozones of Canada". Teacher Resource Centre. Parks Canada. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  2. ^ "Ecozones – Maps (2014)". Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (CCEA). Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  3. ^ Canada, Environment and Climate Change. "Canada's conserved areas - Canada.ca". www.canada.ca. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Wood Buffalo National Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  5. ^ Bernhardt, Torsten. "Boreal Plains". Canada's Ecozones, Canadian Biodiversity project. McGill University, Redpath Museum. Archived from the original on 2008-01-25. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
  6. ^ "Ecoregions". Ecological Framework of Canada. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d "Landforms and Climate of the Boreal Plains Ecozone". Boreal Plains Ecozone. Environment Canada. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  8. ^ "Boreal Heartland". Boreal Plains Ecozone. Environment Canada. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  9. ^ a b "Boreal Plains". Forest Ecozones of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  10. ^ "Ecozones Introduction". Canadian Council on Ecological Areas (CCEA). Retrieved 12 August 2017. This level of generalization is well suited for national scale reporting. In the last 20 years, all Provinces and Territories have refined and automated their respective regional ecological framework. It is important, then, to provide a current national perspective which accurately reflects current regional efforts. ... Detailed ecological information remains with jurisdictions.
  11. ^ "Natural Regions and Subregions of Alberta – Alberta Parks" (PDF). Alberta Parks. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  12. ^ a b Smith, R.E.; Veldhuis, H.; Mills, G.F.; Eilers, R.G.; Fraser, W.R.; Lelyk, G.W. (1998). "Terrestrial Ecozones, Ecoregions, and Ecodistricts of Manitoba An Ecological Stratification of Manitoba's Natural Landscapes" (Technical Bulletin 98–9E). Winnipeg, Manitoba: Land Resource Unit, Brandon Research Centre, Research Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada: 170. Retrieved 12 August 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Saskatchewan's Ecoregions". Saskatchewan Conservation Data Center. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Cross Lake Provincial Park". Parks Alberta. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  15. ^ "Dunvegan Provincial Park". Parks Alberta. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  16. ^ "Executive Summary – 2011 Elk Island National Park management plan". Parks Canada. Retrieved 12 August 2017. The park's purpose is to protect a representative portion of the Southern Boreal Plains and Plateaux Natural Region...
  17. ^ "Lakeland Provincial Park". Parks Alberta. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Thunder Lake Provincial Park". Parks Alberta. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Wood Buffalo National Park". Parks Canada. Retrieved 12 August 2017. Today, it protects an outstanding and representative example of Canada's Northern Boreal Plains.
  20. ^ "Birds Hill Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  21. ^ "Brokenhead Wetland Ecological Reserve". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  22. ^ "Clearwater Lake Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  23. ^ "Chitek Lake Anishinaabe Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  24. ^ "Duck Mountain Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Dog Lake Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Elk Island Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  27. ^ "Fisher Bay Provincial Park/App/Detail?id=08460002014&GoCTemplateCulture=en-CA". Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Grand Island Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  29. ^ a b "Palsa Hazel Ecological Reserve / Grass River Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  30. ^ "Hecla / Grindstone Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  31. ^ "Hilbre Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  32. ^ "Kinwow Bay Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  33. ^ "Little Birch Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  34. ^ "Little Limestone Lake Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  35. ^ "Long Point Ecological Reserve". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  36. ^ "Mars Hill Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  37. ^ "Narcisse Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  38. ^ "Peonan Point Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Proulx Lake Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  40. ^ "Red Deer Lake Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Reindeer Island Ecological Reserve". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  42. ^ "St. Malo Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  43. ^ "Ste. Anne Bog Ecological Reserve". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  44. ^ "Sleeve Lake Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  45. ^ "Stuartburn Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  46. ^ "Rat River Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  47. ^ "Riding Mountain National Park of Canada and Riding Mountain Park East Gate Registration Complex National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan 2007". Parks Canada. Retrieved 12 August 2017. RMNPC was established in 1929 to contribute to this network of national parks by: Protecting an area representative of the southern boreal plains and plateaux natural region of Canada;
  48. ^ "Sturgeon Bay Provincial Park". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  49. ^ "Walter Cook Caves Ecological Reserve". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  50. ^ "Watson P. Davidson Wildlife Management Area". indicators-map.canada.ca. Government of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  51. ^ a b c d Gauthier, Lorena Patino, David A. "Conservation Areas". The Encyclopedia of Saskatchewan. Canadian Plains Research Center, University of Regina. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  52. ^ "Prince Albert National Park DRAFT Management Plan 2017". Parks Canada. Retrieved 12 August 2017. The park is in a transition zone from the Great Plains to aspen parkland to mixed wood boreal forest, representing the Southern Boreal Plains and Plateaux natural region.