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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion extends westward from the foothills of the Cascade Range at Chilliwack to the Fraser River delta at Richmond and northward to include the narrow Georgia Lowland along the Sunshine Coast. The mean annual temperature for the area is approximately 9°C with a summer mean of 15°C and a winter mean of 3.5°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges from 850 mm in the west end up to 2000 mm in the eastern end of the Fraser River valley and higher elevations. Maximum precipitation occurs in winter as rain; less than 10% falls as snow at sea level but this proportion increases significantly with elevation. Mature native vegetation is characterized by forests of Douglas-fir with an understory of salal, Oregon grape, and moss. Mixed stands of Douglas-fir and western hemlock with some dogwood and arbutus are common on drier sites. Red alder is common where sites have been disturbed. Wet sites support Douglas-fir, western hemlock, and western red cedar. The ecoregion is underlain by unconsolidated glaciofluvial deposits, silty alluvium, silty and clayey marine sediments, and glacial till. Bedrock outcrops of Mesozoic and Palaeozoic origin form rolling hills up to about 310 m asl. The Fraser River dominates this lowland. Gleysols, Mesisols, and Humisols are the dominant wetland soils in the region, while Eutric and Dystric Brunisols and some Podzols have developed on sandy to loamy outwash and glacial till in the uplands. Wildlife includes black-tailed deer, coyote, raccoon, shorebirds, and waterfowl. This is an urban/agricultural region, containing the largest population centre in British Columbia. Intensive agriculture occurs on the valley bottoms of the Fraser River valley where it competes with urban development. Forestry operations occur on higher slopes along the mountains. There are about 87 000 ha of highly productive farmland in the ecoregion. Coastal salt marshes are important wildlife habitat on the Fraser River delta and adjacent Boundary Bay. Urban and suburban development continues in the Vancouver area and is scattered amongst many communities in the Fraser River valley and Sunshine Coast. The main population centre in this ecoregion is greater Vancouver, accompanied by North Vancouver, Chilliwack, Abbotsford, and Mission. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 1 810 000.

This ecoregion is part of the Pacific Maritime ecozone.