Cypress Upland

Cypress Upland Map
Hectares: 486,000 ha (1%)

Rising abruptly 400 to 500 metres above the surrounding plains, the Cypress Upland is a typical plateau with steeply sloping escarpments and numerous valleys and coulees. The upland was formed some 50 million years ago from materials borne eastward by rivers originating in the newly formed western mountains.

Since the top of the plateau, at an elevation of 1300 m, escaped glaciation, some of these materials, worn round on their long river journey, can be seen at the surface. The effect of the abrupt and significant rise in elevation is reflected in both the soils and the vegetation. At the base of the upland, mixed grasslands developed on dark brown soils are prevalent. With a rise in elevation, the vegetation changes to a sub-montane fescue prairie on the south-facing slopes, and finally at the upper elevations, to a mix of lodgepole pine, white spruce, and aspen along with patches of fescue prairie.

Black and dark gray soils are found on the top of the plateau. The lodgepole pine community is unique in Saskatchewan and is similar to that found in the Montane region along the foothills and lower valleys of the Rocky Mountains. Because of the region's unique flora, the mix of wildlife is consequently diverse. Pronghorn antelope, mule and white-tailed deer along with island populations of both elk and moose can all be found in the Cypress Upland. Typical birds include trumpeter swan, yellow-rumped warbler, MacGillvary's warbler, dusky flycatcher and Townsend's solitaire.


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© 2014 Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre