More Muskeg: The Taiga Plains
Last month, you learned about northern bogs and fens: important features in the northern boreal mountains. We’re not finished with them yet. ‘Muskeg’ is also a common feature across the Taiga Plains ecoprovince.
In B.C., the Taiga Plains are rolling flatlands, crossed by rivers and streams. Permafrost occurs across much of the ecozone, accounting for the presence of water in so much of the landscape. Muskeg is another common feature across the ecoprovince, especially in the northernmost sections where it covers between 50 and 70% of the land.
Wetland habitat translates to species diversity in this region. As the Ecological Framework of Canada explains, in the Taiga Plains “the most species-rich habitats are the mixed woods and shrublands associated with the fens, bogs, ponds, streams, and lakes.”
Wetlands also contribute to the climate of the region. The Taiga Plains have a continental climate dominated by continental air masses due to its distance from the Pacific Ocean. The Taiga Plains experience long, cold winters and relatively little precipitation. In summers, precipitation (rain) is mainly caused when wetlands heat up and water evaporates. This water falls again as convective showers.
The Taiga Plains is a region of extensive oil and gas exploration and development which causes significant damage to the region including:
- Fragmenting the landscape
- Compromising and eliminating habitat,
- Changing hydrology, and
- Contaminating soil and water.