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Tuesday, October 04, 2022

Forest Ecosystems

The forest ecosystems of Saskatchewan are represented at the site level with 81 ecosites that span Saskatchewan's four ecozones: Taiga Shield, Boreal Shield, Boreal Plain and Prairie. Field sampling provided the raw data upon which the ecosite classification was built. Nearly 1700 semi-permanent plots were established in 69 of the province's 80 forested ecodistricts. Each plot provided information about the cover-abundance and growth form of each plant encountered, forest mensuration data, and soil and site characteristics.

The ecosite classification provides summaries of the site attributes for each ecosite within the four ecozones; it also illustrates the relationship among the ecosites, within an ecozone, through a two-way matrix of moisture regime and species richness values.

This ecosystem classification, published and available online as the Field Guide to the Ecosites of Saskatchewan's Provincial Forests, facilitates better integration of forest management disciplines by providing a common ecosystem language that forms an explicit operational framework for resource managers.  To request a printed copy of the guide, please contact the Ministry of Environment, Forest Service at 306-953-2221 or e-mail

Brief descriptions and ecological interpretations are also provided for each ecosite and usually include significant features and/or a statement about the possible successional trajectory for the ecosite in the absence and presence of disturbance.

The ecosites associated with each of the four ecozones are as follows:

Ecosites of the Taiga Shield
TS1 - Jack pine / bearberry / lichen: Dry nonsoil
TS2 - Jack pine - black spruce / lichen: Moderately dry sand
TS3 - White birch / lingonberry / lichen: Moderately dry loamy sand
TS4 - Black spruce / lingonberry / feathermoss: Moderately dry silty sand
TS5 - Trembling aspen / prickly rose - twinflower: Moderately dry sand
TS6 - White birch - spruce / green alder: Moderately fresh sand
TS7 - White birch - black spruce / lingonberry: Moderately dry loamy sand
TS8 - White birch / river alder / feathermoss: Very moist clay loam
TS9 - Black spruce treed bog: Moderately wet mesic organic
TS10 - Labrador tea shrubby bog: Very wet humic organic
TS11 - Graminoid bog: Moderately wet fibric organic
TS12 - Open bog: Moderately wet mesic organic
TS13 - Tamarack treed fen: Very moist fibric organic
TS14 - Labrador tea shrubby fen: Very moist fibric organic
TS15 - Graminoid fen: Very wet fibric organic
TS16 - Open fen: Moderately wet mesic organic
TS17 - Lichen rocky shore: Very wet nonsoil

Ecosites of the Boreal Shield
BS1 - Sand heather - floccose tansy sand dune: Moderately fresh sand
BS2 - Lichen / felsenmeer - bedrock: Dry nonsoil
BS3 - Jack pine / blueberry / lichen: Moderately fresh sand
BS4 - Jack pine - black spruce / feathermoss: Moderately dry sand
BS5 - Jack pine - white birch / feathermoss: Moderately dry sand
BS6 - Jack pine - trembling aspen / green alder: Moderately fresh loamy sand
BS7 - Black spruce / blueberry / lichen: Moderately dry sand
BS8 - Black spruce - white birch / lichen: Moderately dry sandy loam
BS9 - Black spruce - jack pine / feathermoss: Moderately fresh sandy loam
BS10 - Black spruce - white birch / feathermoss: Fresh sand
BS11 - White spruce - balsam fir / feathermoss: Fresh sandy loam
BS12 - White spruce / crowberry / feathermoss: Moderately fresh sand
BS13 - White birch - black spruce - trembling aspen: Moderately fresh sand
BS14 - White birch / lingonberry - Labrador tea: Moderately dry sand
BS15 - Trembling aspen - white birch / green alder: Moderately fresh loamy sand
BS16 - Black spruce / balsam poplar swamp / river alder swamp:
Very moist mesic organic
BS17 - Black spruce treed bog: Very moist mesic organic
BS18 - Labrador tea shrubby bog: Moderately wet mesic organic
BS19 - Graminoid bog: Very wet humic organic
BS20 - Open bog: Moderately wet fibric organic
BS21 - Tamarack treed fen: Wet fibric organic
BS22 - Leatherleaf shrubby poor fen: Very wet fibric organic
BS23 - Willow shrubby rich fen: Wet fibric organic
BS24 - Graminoid fen: Very wet humic organic
BS25 - Open fen: Wet mesic organic
BS26 - Rush sandy shore: Very moist sand
BS27 - Sedge rocky shore: Very moist sand

Ecosites of the Boreal Plain
BP1 - June grass - mountain goldenrod grassland: Moderately fresh loamy sand
BP2 - Jack pine / lichen: Moderately fresh sand
BP3 - Jack pine / feathermoss: Moderately fresh loamy sand
BP4 - Jack pine - trembling aspen / feathermoss: Moderately fresh sand
BP5 - Trembling aspen / prickly rose / grass: Fresh sand
BP6 - Trembling aspen / beaked hazel / sarsaparilla: Fresh loamy sand
BP7 - Trembling aspen - white birch / sarsaparilla: Fresh loamy sand
BP8 - Trembling aspen - white birch / mountain maple: Fresh sandy clay loam
BP9 - White spruce - trembling aspen / feathermoss: Fresh sand
BP10 - Trembling aspen - white spruce / feathermoss: Fresh silty loam
BP11 - White birch - white spruce - balsam fir: Fresh sandy clay loam
BP12 - Jack pine - spruce / feathermoss: Fresh loamy sand
BP13 - White spruce - balsam fir / feathermoss: Fresh sandy clay loam
BP14 - Black spruce / Labrador tea / feathermoss: Very moist sandy clay loam
BP15 - Balsam poplar - white spruce / feathermoss: Very moist silty loam
BP16 - Balsam poplar - trembling aspen / prickly rose: Fresh clay loam
BP17 - Manitoba maple - balsam poplar / ostrich fern: Moist silty clay loam
BP18 - Black spruce - tamarack treed swamp: Wet humic organic
BP19 - Black spruce treed bog: Moderately wet fibric organic
BP20 - Labrador tea shrubby bog: Wet fibric organic
BP21 - Graminoid bog: Wet fibric organic
BP22 - Open bog: Wet humic organic
BP23 - Tamarack treed fen: Wet fibric organic
BP24 - Leatherleaf shrubby poor fen: Wet fibric organic
BP25 - Willow shrubby rich fen: Wet humic organic
BP26 - Graminoid fen: Wet humic organic
BP27 - Open fen: Wet fibric organic
BP28 - Seaside arrow-grass marsh: Very moist humic organic

Ecosites of the Prairie
PR1 - Plains rough fescue - timber oatgrass grassland: Fresh silty clay loam
PR2 - Lodgepole pine / grass: Fresh sandy clay
PR3 - Trembling aspen - lodgepole pine / bearberry: Fresh clay loam
PR4 - Trembling aspen / bearberry / strawberry: Fresh clay loam
PR5 - Trembling aspen / beaked hazel / sarsaparilla: Fresh silty clay
PR6 - White spruce / grass / other mosses: Fresh silty clay
PR7 - Trembling aspen - white spruce / western snowberry: Fresh silty clay
PR8 - Balsam poplar - trembling aspen - green ash: Very moist silty clay loam
PR9 - Graminoid fen: Very moist clay

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