| Climate | Geology and geography
| Flora and fauna | Humans | Images
This ecozone covers most of southern British Columbia and some of southwestern
This is the most diverse of the country's ecozones in all respects.
The effects of two mountain ranges means that climate varies in all
three dimensions. The average annual temperatures in the north of the
ecozone is 0.5ºC, in the south 7.5ºC. The dry summers and wetter winters
alike are mild, though increased elevation brings lower temperatures.
The Coast Mountains force
air masses to rise, where they cool off and lose their moisture as rain
or snow, a phenomenon known as orographic precipitation. The western
side of the Coast Mountains receives 1200 to 1500mm of precipitation
in this way, while the eastern side receives only 300mm in the south
and 500 to 800mm in the north and interior due to the dry air that makes
it over the mountains. The Rocky Mountains at the eastern edge of the
ecozone again catch precipitation, bringing 1200mm of precipitation
annually to the western side of the mountains.
The mountains that make up much of the ecozone are formed of faulted
sedimentary rock. The plains and valleys here often consist of glacial
moraine or deposits from ancient lakes.
Plants in the ecozone
are as varied as the landforms they grow on. Vegetation that may be
common in one area are often completely absent from another.
Trees in the area include Engelmann
Douglas fir, lodgepole
white pine, Rocky
Mountain ponderosa pine, trembling
Mountain red cedar, balsam
spruce, and western
larch. Some of the other species found here are sagebrush, rabbitbrush,
avens, bunchgrass, pine grass, and bluebunch wheat grass.
The large herbivores include caribou,
bighorn sheep, and American
elk. The large carnivores are the black
and cougar. Some of the small herbivores here are hoary
ground squirrel, beaver,
pine chipmunk, redtail
northern bog lemming,
and pika. Small
carnivores that are found here include coyote,
bat, and striped
Birds of prey such as northern
saw-whet owl, short-eared
owl, cooper's hawk,
and turkey vulture
are found here. The shorebirds and seabirds of the area include long-billed
and black tern.
Songbirds of the Montane
Cordillera include Stellar’s
finch, house finch,
purple finch, brown
creeper, and American
that are found here include sandhill
Canada goose. The
birds of the forest include blue
and downy woodpecker.
Amphibians and Reptiles
Some of the characteristic frogs and toads of the area are the wood
frog, spotted frog,
and western toad.
One of the salamander species present here is the long-toed
salamander. Snakes found in the region include rubber
boa, common garter
night snake, and
garter snake. One of the lizards found here is the western
Fish species that live in the ecozone include lake whitefish, chiselmouth,
lake chub, peamouth, leopard dace, and redside shiner. White sturgeon
and sockeye salmon both come to freshwater to spawn.
Molluscs found here include pig-toe,
pearl mussel, western
floater, and arctic-alpine
A few of the insects that live here are red
turpentine beetle, boreal
cloak, and migratory
Cattle grazing, forestry and mining are three of the major activities
here. These and population growth all put pressure on the natural systems
and even the many provincial parks in the ecozone through encroachment
and habitat fragmentation. Tourism is also having an increasingly large
effect on the area.
Trail, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Trail, Jasper National Park, Alberta
National Park, Alberta
River, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Edith Cavell, Jasper National Park, Alberta
Pass, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
Falls, Wells Gray National Park, British Columbia
Trail, Yoho National Park, British Columbia
River, Banff, Alberta