Alberta Mountain forests
|Alberta Mountains forest|
|Biome||Temperate coniferous forests|
|Area||39,800 km2 (15,400 sq mi)|
This ecoregion covers the grand Rocky Mountains of Alberta including the eastern outliers of the Continental Ranges. Located almost entirely in Alberta and taking in the Alberta-British Columbia border from Banff north to Jasper, Alberta and Kakwa Wildlands Park. This is an area of glaciers and high mountains covered with a forest of tall trees. The highest points are the mountains around the Columbia Icefield the largest ice field in the Rockies.
The mountain valleys have a mild climate with warm, dry summers and snowy winters but the high mountain sides have a harsher climate. Average summer temperatures are 12 °C going down to -7 °C in winter.
These mountains are home to good numbers of large mammals. All five species of North American deer inhabit this ecoregion including caribou (woodland caribou subspecies) (Rangifer tarandus caribou), elk (Cervus elaphus), moose (Alces alces), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), and white-tailed deer (northern Rocky Mountains/tawny white-tail) (Odocoileus virginianus ochrourus). Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), and mountain goat (Oreamnos americanus) can also be found here. Predators in the mountains and forests include Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), American black bear (Ursus americanus cinnamomum), cougar (Puma concolor), and gray wolf (Canis lupus). Smaller wildlife such as snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), and American pygmy shrew (Sorex hoyi) can be found here as well and the Banff Springs snail (Physella johnsoni) which is endemic to Banff National Park. Birds include Townsend's warbler (Setophaga townsendi), veery (Catharus fuscescens), and bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).
Threats and preservation
80% of these forests are intact although some is being removed for urban development and tourism in the valley areas. Large areas of natural habitat remain in Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kakwa Wildlands, Willmore Wilderness Park, and Ghost River Wilderness Area.
This ecozone corresponds to the human region called Alberta's Rockies
- Hoekstra, J. M.; Molnar, J. L.; Jennings, M.; Revenga, C.; et al. (2010). Molnar, J. L., ed. The Atlas of Global Conservation: Changes, Challenges, and Opportunities to Make a Difference. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-26256-0.
- "Alberta Mountain forests". Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund.