hide You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of University of Alberta using Archive-It. This page was captured on 16:36:18 Dec 08, 2010, and is part of the HCF Alberta Online Encyclopedia collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Top Left of Navigation Bar The Rocky Mountain Region Title
Species at Risk in AlbertaView our site layout to navigate to specific areasSearch our site for informationObtain help for navigating our sitePlease emails us your questions and comments!View our partners that helped us in this project

Back to Natural Regions Map The Boreal Forest Region
The Canadian Shield Region
The Foothills Region
The Grassland Region
The Parkland Region
The Rocky Mountain Region

Visit Alberta Source!
Visit the Heritage Community Foundation
Visit Canada's Digital Collections

The Montane Vegetation

Montane LandscapeThe Montane landscape is characterized by a pattern of open forests and grasslands. Characteristics tree species include Douglas fir, limber pine and white spruce. Douglas fir forests occur on moderate to steep slopes on colluvial and morainal materials with Brunisolic and Regosolic soils.

On exposed ridges in the eastern part of the Montane, Douglas fir occurs mainly on north and east aspects. Further north in the mountain valleys, it occurs mostly on southerly and westerly aspects. Ridgetop, open forests dominated by Douglas fir and limber pine are among the driest forest communities and are species-rich due to the great habitat diversity.

Closed Douglas fir forests typically have understories containing pine grass, hairy wild rye, northwestern sedge, bearberry, junipers, and snowberry. Understory species of importance in the Waterton Lakes National Park area include Oregon grape, ninebark, Rocky Mountain maple, purple clematis, and bluebunch wheat grass.

Limber Limber pine forests are generally open and occur on the most exposed rock outcrops and eroding morainal or colluvial slopes. Common understory species include bearberry, juniper, bluebunch wheat grass, Idaho fescue, northern bedstraw, mouse-ear chickweed, crested beard-tongue and scorpion-weed.

Lodgepole pineBluebunch wheatgrass, fescue grasses and oatgrasses typically dominate the grasslands, which also possess a large diversity of forbs. Lodgepole pine forests occur on upland sites and are similar to dry forests of the adjacent Subalpine Subregion.  Buffalo berry, pine grass, and hairy wild rye are important understory species.

White spruce forests occur on more mesic sites especially along streams on fluvial terraces. Aspen forests occur characteristically on fluvial fans and terraces often with Regosolic and Brunisolic soils. The forests of the Cypress Hills lack Douglas fir and limber pine. However, the occurrence of lodgepole pine, white spruce, aspen and balsam poplar, as well as many understory species with southern and southwestern affinities, indicate the relationship with the Montane Subregion along the Rocky Mountains.

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

Albertasource.ca | Contact Us | Partnerships
            For more on the natural history of Alberta, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
Copyright © Heritage Community Foundation All Rights Reserved