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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

Aspen Parkland

Aspen parkland is a reference to a very large area of transitional biome between prairie and boreal forest in two sections; the Peace River Country of northwestern Alberta that crosses the border into British Columbia, and a much larger area stretching from central Alberta, all across central Saskatchewan to south-central Manitoba near the US border. Aspen parkland is made up of groves of aspen poplars and spruce interspersed with areas of prairie grasslands, also intersected by large stream and river valleys lined with aspen-spruce forests and dense shrubbery. This is the biggest boreal-grassland transition zone in the world and is a zone of constant competition and tension as prairie and woodlands struggle to overtake each other inside the parkland.

The climate of this region is considered to be humid continental with long and cold winters and short summers which have a tendency to be cool to warm. Although the winters can still be long and harsh, Alberta’s aspen parkland is fairly moderate in seasonal extremes by comparison. Within the boreal forest, the precipitation is generally lower, but it is still higher than in the semi-arid prairies.

The Peace River Parkland is usually cooler than the Central Parkland, but still supports extensive farmland. The Foothills Parkland is located towards the west of the grasslands in the southern section of the province and just east of the Canadian Rockies. Chinook winds are very common during the winter and the Foothills Parkland can get exceptionally windy.

Image Caption: This is a farm near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan displaying typical Aspen Groves surrounded by fields of Wheat. Credit: Parihav/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Aspen Parkland