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Boreal Forest Region

The boreal forest exists as a nearly continuous belt of coniferous trees across North America and Eurasia. Overlying formerly glaciated areas as well as areas of patchy permafrost on both continents; the forest is a mosaic of plant and animal communities amid varying environmental conditions. This region may also be referred to as the Coniferous Forest or the Taiga, which is actually the Russian name for the same type of forest that covers so much of that country as well. However, the term is used in North America as well where the boreal ecozone extends from Alaska to Newfoundland, bordering the tundra to the north and touching the Great Lakes to the south.

The Boreal Forest Natural Region is the largest in Alberta. It consists of broad lowland plains and extensive hill systems. The bedrock is buried deeply beneath glacial deposits and outcrops occur only rarely along major stream valleys. Major surficial features are moraines in the uplands, and glaciofluvial and glaciolacustrine deposits in the lowlands. The land generally slopes to the north and east but the most prominent highlands are located in the northern part of the Region.

The landscape in this particular region is covered almost entirely by trees, with aspen and balsam poplar dominating the evergreens. In the northernmost areas evergreens form a seemingly endless carpet, broken only by water in the form of fens, bogs, lakes and rivers. Inside the Boreal Forest of Alberta are extensive expanses of aspen parkland in the Grande Prairie, Peace River and Fort Vermilion areas. There are also four major river systems that drain most of Alberta's north country. The presence of extensive wetlands is a major characteristic of the Boreal Forest Natural Region as well.

The Boreal Forest Natural Region is very diverse topographically, climatically and biologically. Many of the changes are gradual and subtle which makes division into subregions difficult and seemingly arbitrary. However, the Boreal Forest may be divided into six sub-regions based largely on distinctive climate, topography, soil and vegetation - Dry Mixedwood, Central Mixedwood, Wetland Mixedwood, Boreal Highlands, Peace River Lowlands, and Subarctic.

Boreal Forest Region

Boreal Forest Region

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