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The Mixedgrass Vegetation

The vegetation of the Mixedgrass Subregion is similar to the Dry Mixedgrass Subregion. However, it is characterized by greater biomass production and a greater abundance of species that tend to favour cooler and moister sites. Species such as Western Porcupine Grass and Northern Wheat Grass are more predominant than in the Dry Mixedgrass Subregion.

The majority of Mixedgrass vegetation is dominated by Spear grass, Western Porcupine Grass, Western Wheat Grass as well as Northern Wheat Grass.   Mesic sites are generally home to Western Wheat Grass -Northern Wheat Grass communities while fine-textured soils, like those in glacial lake basins, are characterized by the Northern Wheat Grass - June Grass community. On the other hand, species such as Blue Grama, thrive on the drier, more exposed sites.

The Prickly RoseTypical vegetation of sandy areas includes Spear Grass, Sand Grass, June Grass and a variety of low shrubs including Silverberry, Western Snowberry and Prickly Rose.  Extensive Narrow-leaved Cottonwood woodlands occur on fluvial terraces of the Oldman, Belly, Waterton, and St. Mary's rivers and nowhere else in Canada.

Unfortunately a great deal of the natural vegetation of the Mixedgrass Subregion has been replaced by agricultural crops. The moister, cooler conditions of this Subregion are reflected in the greater productivity of rangelands which typically produce 25% more biomass.

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

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