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Southern Boreal Plains & Plateaux


Southern Boreal Plains & Plateaux


Prince Albert National Park
Prince Albert National Park
© Parks Canada

A REGION OF TRANSITION

A region of transition, from the dry, treeless prairies to the moist boreal forest, from intensely man-altered landscapes to pristine wilderness. Within this region are some of the most endangered habitats in Canada.

THE LAND:

The topography of this region is a gentle blend of plains and plateaux, with a few widely scattered groups of low hills and wide river valleys. To the north is the Alberta Plateau, with hills reaching heights of about 200 metres. To the south are smooth plains.

Riding Mountain National Park
Riding Mountain National Park
© Parks Canada

The underlying soft sedimentary bedrock has influenced the regular relief found in this region. Subsequent glaciation has modified the landscape, leaving rolling moraines on the uplands and fine-grained lacustrine deposits in lowland areas.

VEGETATION:

Although this region is one of continuous transition from prairie through deciduous forest to boreal forest, three distinctive vegetation zones are recognized. In the south, aspen parkland, a mosaic of trembling aspen groves and rough fescue grasslands, is the prevalent vegetation. This combination of communities forms a distinctive Canadian habitat that is unique in the world. Bordering the aspen parkland is a zone of mixed wood forest containing various combinations of coniferous species (white spruce and balsam fir) and deciduous species (white birch, trembling aspen, balsam poplar). At the extreme north end of this natural region, seemingly endless stretches of black spruce muskeg dominate much of the flat, poorly drained land


National Parks System Plan, 3rd Edition

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