THE BOREAL FOREST REGION OF ALBERTA

By Celine

 

 

         Across North America and Eurasia the Boreal Forest is almost an unending belt of coniferous trees. The Boreal region may also be known as the Coniferous Forest or the Taiga. The Boreal ecozone extends from Alaska to Newfoundland. The Tundra is to the north and the Great Lakes to the south.

The Boreal Forest is one of the six natural regions of Alberta. The five regions are: the Canadian Shield, Foothills, Grasslands, Parklands, and Rocky Mountains.

         The Boreal Forest Natural Region is the largest in Alberta. It covers almost 317,368 sq. km (48%) of the province. Based on topography, soil and vegetation the Boreal Forest may divided into six sub-regions: Dry Mixed wood, Central Mixed wood, Wetland Mixed wood, Boreal Highlands, Peace River lowlands, and the Sub arctic.

         The present day landscape consists of wide lowland plains and extensive hill systems shaped by glaciers. The bedrock is composed of Precambrian igneous rock beneath sedimentary rock. Much of this area lay under an ancient ocean before it was lifted up millions of years ago. Huge glaciers then covered the area. The ice scoured and shaped the landscape before melting and retreating about 10,000 years ago. The glaciers left behind the rolling hills and valleys shaped by the waters of the melting ice.

         The land generally slopes to the north and east. The most noticeable highlands are located in the northern part of the region.

         Pine, spruce, aspen, and poplar trees heavily cover the landscape. The forest is very shady because of the thick growth of the trees due to the wetter and colder climate. A variety of plants and flowers grow in the forest.

         The Boreal Forest has wetlands and water in the form of muskegs, bogs, lakes, and rivers. The region contains several major river systems that drain most of AlbertaŐs north country. The rivers that flow towards the north and east from the Rocky Mountains into the Arctic Ocean are the Athabasca, Smoky, Peace, Chinchaga, and Hay Rivers.

         Since trees cover much of the region, fires are often a real threat. If the weather is too dry there can be a huge forest fire that is started by lightning or man (campfires, smoking). Fire can destroy the forest and be very harmful to wildlife. It can also be good for the forest because it destroys old, diseased trees and their pests. Some trees such as aspen and jack pine actually need the heat of a fire to help release their seeds. The ash left behind after a fire contains many nutrients that help plant growth.

         The forestry and mining industries have changed the appearance of the land. It has also affected some of the wildlife and their habitat.

         The Boreal Forest of Alberta is an amazing place because it is so big and beautiful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

        

Books:

 

1.             List Jr., A and List, I. (1977) A Walk in the Forest. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company.

 

Websites:

 

1.             http://collections.ic.gc.ca/abnature/boreal/boreal.htm

 

2.             http://raysweb.net/specialplaces/pages/boreal.html

 

This web page was made by Celine 

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