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Natural Regions

Click on coloured section of map to get more info about each type of Natural Region.

Natural Regions
Boreal Forest Canadian Sheild Foothills Grassland Parkland Rocky Mountains

Boreal Forest

The Boreal Forest Natural Region: includes the Dry Mixedwood, Central Mixedwood, Lower Boreal Highlands, Upper Boreal Highlands, Athabasca Plain, Peace–Athabasca Delta, Northern Mixedwood, and Boreal Subarctic Natural Subregions. It occupies most of northern Alberta, and extends south almost to Calgary. Besides great expanses of forests comprised of white spruce, balsam fir, aspen, balsam poplar or jack pine, there are extensive wetlands.

Canadian Sheild

The Canadian Shield Natural Region/Kazan Upland Natural Subregion: The Canadian Shield Natural Region has only one Natural Subregion, the Kazan Upland. Extends only peripherally into the far northeast corner of Alberta. Characterized by outcroppings of Precambrian granitic bedrock and open forests of jack pine with black spruce in wet areas.


The Foothills Natural Region: includes the Lower and Upper Foothills Natural Subregions. Extends along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in a gradually widening belt northward. It also includes several outlying hill masses. It is characterized by extensive forests, most commonly lodgepole pine on the uplands, especially following fire. The Foothills Natural Region is further divided into the Lower and Upper Foothills


The Grassland Natural Region: includes the Dry Mixedgrass, Mixedgrass, Foothills Fescue and Northern Fescue Natural Subregions. Flat-to gently rolling plain with a few major hill systems. It is at the northwestern edge of the North American Great Plains. In Alberta, the Grassland Natural Region is divided into four subregions:


The Parkland Natural Region: includes the Foothills Parkland, Central Parkland and Peace River Parkland Natural Subregions. Broad transition between the grasslands to the south and the forests to the north. In its native state, it is a mosaic of grasslands and aspen forests.

Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountain Natural Region: includes the Alpine, Subalpine and Montane Natural Subregions within and adjacent to the Front Ranges and Main Ranges of the Rocky Mountains which reflect changes in environmental conditions associated with differences in altitude. The Montane Subregion is characterized by a pattern of open forests and grasslands occurring at low elevations in southwestern Alberta. Occurring at higher elevations, the Subalpine is characterized by closed forests. The Alpine includes vegetated areas, bare rock, and glaciers above tree line.