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The Parkland Region

Parkland Natural RegionBetween the Grassland in the south and the Boreal Forest in the north lies a subtle mosaic of aspen woodlands, fescue grasslands, shrublands and wetlands on gently rolling landscape referred to as the Parkland Region of Alberta. 

This region comprises approximately 12 percent, or 37, 000 square kilometres, of Alberta's territory and is considered to be an ecotone, or area of transition, as it is a region in which the aspen groves are enveloped in a constant conflict with the grasslands for supremacy. The aftermath of the Ice Age is particularly evident in the gently rolling blanket of moraines that overlay parts of this region - an effect that was caused by the stagnation and melting of the glaciers. The vegetation of the aspen parkland with its associated animal life is divided into three Subregions - Central, Foothills and Peace River - which are separated on the basis of geographic location and major floristic differences.

The Parkland Natural Region is the most densely populated region in Alberta, with the greatest density in the Central Parkland Subregion. It is a rich ecosystem, full of various types of vegetation and species that are not limited to any one particular area. Development and farming have drastically altered the vegetation, particularly in the central parkland region. Land use has changed much of the native vegetation; the most extensive alteration has been in the Peace River Parkland and the least in the Foothills Parkland.

A typical Parkland sceneAs a result, only 5 percent of this region remains in a "natural" or "undeveloped" state. Many native wildlife species were eliminated before they could even be documented. Today, the 180 square kilometer Rumsey area north of Drumheller is the largest unit of central parkland in the world. Approximately 20 percent of the Rumsey area has been designated an ecological reserve. The rest remains without legal protection as a Crown Reservation for a future provincial park and a potential natural area.

Information provided by and printed with the permission of Alberta Community Development, Provincial Parks and Protected Areas.

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