Natural Regions:

TOTAL AREA:
60,748 km2

TOTAL Human Footprint:
47,426 km2

Region Overview

The Parkland Natural Region occupies approximately 61,000 km2 or 10% of Alberta, forming a broad transitional band between the Grassland Natural Region to the south and the Boreal Natural Region to the north. As a result, no known species are unique to this region; instead, plant and animal communities share characteristics of the neighbouring ecosystems. Much of the Parkland Natural Region has been converted for agricultural purposes. The remaining native vegetation is a mixture of grasslands interspersed with Aspen woodlands where well-known plants like Snowberry, Saskatoon, Chokecherry, and Prickly Rose are commonly found. The abundance of wetlands that dot the Parkland Natural Region, particularly in the east, are part of the prairie pothole region, otherwise known as the “duck factory” of North America. This is a globally significant breeding and migratory stopover area for waterfowl, shorebirds, and landbirds. While native parkland is limited, the juxtaposition of croplands and pastures with natural habitats like native grasslands, wetlands, windbreaks, and forests provides foraging and breeding opportunities for a diversity of wildlife species. Human footprint status and trend is presented for the Parkland Natural Region.

Status

As of 2016, human footprint occupied the majority of the Parkland Natural Region, covering 78.07% of the area. Agriculture was the predominant footprint type, occupying 68.16% of the region. Urban/industrial footprint (3.76%), transportation footprint (3.75%), and energy footprint (2.10%) were fairly evenly distributed across the landscape.

Human Footprint Type Area (km2) Area (%)
Total Human Footprint 47,426 78.1
Agriculture 41,406 68.2
Energy 1,276 2.1
Forestry 12 0.0
Human-created Water Bodies 170 0.3
Transportation 2,278 3.8
Urban/Industrial 2,284 3.8

FIGURE: Summary of percentage cover of total human footprint broken down by human footprint category in the Parkland Natural Region, circa 2016.

Total Human Footprint 78.1%

Agriculture 68.2%

Energy 2.1%

Forestry 0.0%

Human-created Water Bodies 0.3%

Transportation 3.8%

Urban/Industrial 3.8%

Trend

Between 1999 and 2016, the total area of human footprint in the Parkland Natural Region increased by 2.40%, from 75.67% to 78.07%. This increase can be mainly attributed to energy footprint and urban/industrial footprint, which increased by 1.10% and 1.05%, respectively.

Human Footprint Type 1999 (km2) 2016 (km2) Change (km2)
Total Human Footprint 45,968 47,426 + 1,458
Agriculture 41,175 41,406 + 231
Energy 607 1,276 + 668
Forestry 0 12 + 12
Human-created Water Bodies 115 170 + 55
Transportation 2,187 2,278 + 91
Urban/Industrial 1,646 2,284 + 638
Human Footprint Type 1999 (%) 2016 (%) Change (%)
Total Human Footprint 75.7 78.1 + 2.4
Agriculture 67.8 68.2 + 0.4
Energy 1.0 2.1 + 1.1
Forestry 0.0 0.0 + 0.0
Human-created Water Bodies 0.2 0.3 + 0.1
Transportation 3.6 3.8 + 0.1
Urban/Industrial 2.7 3.8 + 1.0

FIGURE: Trend in the percentage area of total human footprint, and by human footprint category in the Parkland Natural Region between 1999 and 2016. Click on the entries in the legend to turn human footprint categories on and off.