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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion is located along the southern edge of the Precambrian Shield in north-central Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It is marked by cool summers and very cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately -2.5°C. The mean summer temperature is 12.5°C and the mean winter temperature is -18.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 400-500 mm. This ecoregion is classified as having a subhumid high boreal ecoclimate. It forms part of the continuous coniferous boreal forest that extends from northwestern Ontario to Great Slave Lake in the southern Northwest Territories. The predominant vegetation consists of closed stands of black spruce and jack pine with a shrub layer of ericaceous shrubs and a ground cover of mosses and lichens. Black spruce is the climatic climax species. Depending on drainage, surficial material and local climate, trembling aspen, white birch, white spruce, and to a lesser extent balsam fir, occupy significant areas, especially in the eastern section. Bedrock exposures have fewer trees and are covered with lichens. Closed to open stands of stunted black spruce with ericaceous shrubs and a ground cover of sphagnum moss dominate poorly drained peat-filled depressions. Permafrost is distributed throughout the ecoregion, but is only widespread in organic deposits. Although local relief rarely exceeds 25 m, ridged to hummocky, massive Archean rocks form steeply sloping uplands and lowlands. Small to large lakes, comprising 30-40% of the ecoregion drain northeastward via the Churchill, Nelson and Seal river systems. In the western part of the ecoregion, uplands are covered with discontinuous sandy acidic tills, whereas extensive thin clayey lacustrine deposits, and locally prominent, sandy fluvioglacial uplands, are common in the eastern section. Exposed bedrock occurs throughout the ecoregion and is locally prominent. Dystric and Eutric Brunisols are associated with sandy uplands, whereas Gray Luvisols occur on clayey lacustrine uplands and loamy to silty fluvioglacial deposits. On level and in depressional areas, Gleysolic soils are associated with clayey sediments, whereas Mesisols and Organic Cryosols are associated with shallow to deep peatlands. A pulpwood and dimension lumber industry operates to a limited extent in the southern part of the ecoregion. Wildlife includes barren-ground caribou, moose, black bear, lynx, wolf, beaver, muskrat, snowshoe hare and red-backed vole. Bird species include raven, common loon, spruce grouse, bald eagle, gray jay, hawk owl, and waterfowl, including ducks and geese. Trapping, hunting, fishing, and tourism are the dominant uses of land in this region. The major communities include Flin Flon and La Ronge. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 28 000.

This ecoregion is part of the Boreal Shield ecozone.