Dry Mixedwood Vegetation
The 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
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.
Mixedwood 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.