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Help Save the Montane Cordillera!

Landforms, Climate, and Location

Landforms, Climate, and Location
Wildlife and Vegetation
Human Activities and Environmental Issues
Save our Ecozone!

Below is detailed information on the location, climate, and landforms of the Montane Cordillera for you to learn a little about this great ecozone.

        The Montane Cordillera covers about 461 000 square kilometers of Canada. It falls between the Pacific Maritime, Boreal Plains, and Boreal Cordillera ecozones and covers most of Southern British Columbia and some of Southwestern Alberta. The other name for this ecozone is the "Southern Rockies." This ecozone incorporates some of the inner mountain ranges and valleys of Bristish Columbia such as the Alberta foothills, Okanagan Valley, and the East and West valleys of Kootenay.

        The Montane Cordillera has fluctuating temperatures that move up and down a lot because of the latitude and different elevations. The winters here are quite normal with moderate temperatures with an average of -12 degrees Celsius. The summers are also moderate with average temperatures of 15 degrees Celsius. The precipitation varies greatly due to the elevation and physical aspects of the area, but usually stays between 500 and 1000mm/year. High elevation areas receive 1200- 2200mm/year, while the driest rainshadow areas receive under 500mm/year. Westerly Winds carry the moist Pacific air over the mountains and plenty of snow and rain falls as it goes up the windward slope of the Coast Mountains. As air goes over the eastern slope and enters the ecozone, it is once again warmed as it compresses, causing the clouds to disappear and a rain shadow over the valleys of British Columbia resulting in extremely dry climates. There is a steady continental climate throughout the whole ecozone. The air masses moving east create cold, wet, winters, and warm, dry summers. The temperature greatly varies in each area of the Montane Cordillera. In the alpine region, the average temperature is always under 10 degrees Celsius. the upper forest slopes have an average temperature under 0 degrees Celsius for   7- 9 months of the year, while the Ponderosa Pine forests of British Columbia have an average July temperature ranging from 17 to 22 degrees Celsius.


    This is a picture showing what the Montane Cordillera looks like in the season of fall. This is the season when the trees look the most vibrant.

     This is a map of Canada showing the location of all the ecozones. As you can see, the Montane Cordillera is located in western Canada, particularly Bristish Columbia and some of Alberta.


      The Montane Cordillera is mostly jagged with many mountains and is part of the Western Cordillera landform region of Canada. The Rocky Mountains, made up of sedimentary rock, were formed by folding and faulting, while the Columbia Mountain Ranges, made of igneous and metamorphic rock were formed by volcanoes. The Coast Mountains, made of mainly igneous rock, were created when the igneous rock beneath the surface of the earth was uplifted and folded. The Rockies are separated by several valleys, and plateaus. The Columbia Mountain Ranges are steep, rugged mountans with glaciers. The lava flow from volcanoes before created several deep rivers in this area. The Coast Mountains is a region covered with forests and has fiords. Fiords are very long bays of sea water with steep sides around it. They were created when the glaciers which scraped out valleys melted and the sea overflowed the valleys. The mountains have fallen rock fragments and many rocky outcrops. The rock of the mountain crumbles a lot to form rocky slopes. The Montane Cordillera  has some major river systems within it including the Fraser River, and Columbia River.


This is a photograph showing the mountainous landscape of the Montane Cordillera.