Map of Ecozone

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(From http://www.pc.gc.ca/apprendre-learn/prof/itm2-crp-trc/htm/ecozone_e.asp#no6)

Introduction

This ecozone is nestled in the middle of Canada, extending from Peace River country in B.C. to southeast Manitoba. Its landform, climate, and wildlife are similar to that of the Prairie ecozone below it. However, this ecozone focuses less on the agriculture industry and more on forestry.

Landform Region

The Boreal Plains are made entirely of sedimentary rock. Long ago, while North America was still forming, this region was a shallow inland sea. Sediments from the nearby Canadian Shield and Rocky Mountains slowly accumulated and compressed into sedimentary rock. What were once reefs have become oil deposits.

The terrain in this region is mostly flat and low to the ground, with some occasional rolling hills. This is due to the glaciers that were once there. The leftover water from these glaciers has become many small lakes dotted across the area.

Rock Types and Minerals

All rock in this region is sedimentary. There are tons of oil deposits in this area, making it one of Canada’s main sources of fossil fuels. It is rich in clay, and thick organic deposits are common.

Vegetation and Soil

Most of this region is covered in trees, making forestry one of its main industries. Tree species include white spruce, balsam fir, black spruce, jack pine, tamarack, water birch, white birch, Alaska paper birch, mountain alder, Pacific willow, Bebb willow, pussy willow, trembling aspen, Manitoba maple and balsam poplar. Both coniferous and deciduous trees are present.

The soil is thick and good for tree growth, covering bedrock of the Cretaceous shale. The land is also good for agriculture in its southern areas.

Climate and Climograph

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The Boreal Plains are characterized by cold winters and moderate summers. It is rainiest in the summer. A lot of moisture is blocked by the Rocky Mountains, so the precipitation level remains somewhat low, but because water precipitates much faster than it evaporates in this ecozone, it is moist enough.

Trivia and Fun Facts

  • The central plains – including Boreal Plains – hold over 70% of Canada’s oil reserves
  • Central Canada makes a big contribution to the world grain supply, including 5% wheat, 10% barley and 14% oats
  • Wildlife includes caribou, deer, bison, chipmunks, owls, and trout

Test Questions

  1. Why would forestry and fossil fuels be such major industries in this ecozone?
  2. How was the land formed? What made it so flat?
  3. Predict some environmental problems this ecozone may have.
  4. Why do you think most farms are located on the Southern edge of this ecozone?
  5. Would you like to live in this ecozone? Why or why not? Provide specific examples of climate and work opportunities.

Sources

  1. Clark, Bruce. Making connections: Canada’s geography. Toronto: Pearson Education, 2006.
  2. http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/atlas/themes.aspx?id=atlantic&sub=atlantic_basics_regions&lang=En
  3. http://canadianbiodiversity.mcgill.ca/english/ecozones/borealplains/borealplains.htm
  4. http://ecosys.cfl.scf.rncan.gc.ca/classification/classif04-eng.asp
  5. http://www.climate-charts.com/Locations/c/CN71068030750400.php
  6. http://scienceray.com/earth-sciences/physical-geography/canadian-ecozones-boreal-plain/
  7. http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/OG/oilandgas/aggregates/Documents/Levson_et_al.pdf