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The Boreal Forest Region
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Dry Mixedwood Vegetation

Dry Mixedwood forest with Aspen TreesThe vegetation of the Dry Mixedwood Subregion is transitional between the Central Parkland and Central Mixedwood Subregions and there are community types common to all three. The differences are largely in the proportion of various vegetation types and other landscape features. Aspen is an important species in all three Subregions, occurring in both pure and mixed stands. Balsam poplar frequently occurs with aspen especially on moister sites in depressions and along streams.

Due to the process of succession, White Spruce and, eventually areas of Balsam Fir can be expected to replace aspen and Balsam Poplar as stand dominants. However, frequent fire seldom permits this to occur and pure deciduous stands are common in the southern part of the Dry Mixedwood Subregion. Coniferous species are more common further north in the Dry Mixedwood region with mixed stands of aspen and White Spruce being widespread. Older stands in protected sites, such as islands may have significant amounts of Balsam Fir.

Upland aspen forests contain a diverse understory that may include Low-bush Cranberry, Beaked Hazelnut, Prickly Rose, Red-osier Dogwood, Marsh Reed Grass, Dewberry, Cream-coloured Peavine, and Twinflower. Both Balsam Poplar and Paper Birch may occur in these forests as well.  Coniferous, spruce or spruce-fir forests are not common but generally have a less diverse understory with greater moss especially of the feathermosses.

Jack Pine TreeMixedwood forests generally contain a mosaic of deciduous forest patches with species typical of each occurring through the stand.  Jack pine forests usually occupy dry, sandy upland sites. These may be quite open and have a prominent ground cover of lichens. Other understory species include Bearberry, Low Bilberry, Bog Cranberry and Prickly Rose.

Peatlands are common throughout the Subregion and are extensive in some areas, such as south of Athabasca, but are not as prevalent as in other Boreal Forest Subregions. Peatland complexes typically contain both nutrient-poor, acidic bog dominated by Black Spruce, Labrador Tea, and peat mosses and more nutrient-rich fens, containing Tamarack, dwarf birches, sedges and brown mosses. 


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