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The ecology of the engelmann spruce-subalpine fir zone

Author(s) or contact(s): BC Ministry of Forests - Research Branch
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Ecology
Series: Brochure
Other details:  Published 1998. Hardcopy is available.


The Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir Zone occupies the highest forested elevations in British Columbia’s many mountain ranges. Steep, snow-covered mountain sides are blanketed with old-growth spruce and subalpine fir forests. The deep snows provide good skiing and give rise to clear, fast-flowing mountain streams that carry moisture to picturesque high-elevation park-lands and herb meadows. Several major provincial parks are located here, and outdoor recreation and timber harvesting are both important economic resources.

The Engelmann Spruce - Subalpine Fir Zone occupies the uppermost forested elevations in the southern three-quarters of the interior of British Columbia. The zone rings the province’s vast Interior Plateau, encircling an enormous area from below the United States border north almost to Dawson Creek and from the Coast Mountains east across into Alberta. The zone occurs mainly in steep and rugged terrain and takes in parts of all of the major mountain ranges south of the Peace River region, including the Selkirks, the Purcells, the Columbia and Rocky Mountains, and the Skeena, Babine, and Omineca ranges. The zone is predominantly mountainous and includes some high valley bottoms as well as tracts of gentler, hilly terrain in areas such as the Quesnel and Shuswap highlands.

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Updated October 17, 2008