Natural Regions:

TOTAL AREA:
66,437 km2

TOTAL Human Footprint:
19,752 km2

Region Overview

The Foothills Natural Region, located on the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains, covers approximately 66,000 km2 or 10% of the province. Characterized by variable terrain and a moist, cool climate, the lower slopes consist of rolling hills and plateaus with of mixture of grassland, deciduous, and mixedwood forests. At higher elevations, slopes become steeper and conifer forests predominate. Streams with headwaters originating in the Rocky Mountains frequently bisect the landscape. As a transitional ecosystem between the Rocky Mountain Natural Region to the west and the Grassland and Boreal Natural Regions to the east and north, biodiversity in the foothills is generally a mix of these surrounding regions. Human footprint is presented for the Foothills Natural Region.

Status

As of 2016, human footprint occupied 29.73% of the Foothills Natural Region. Forestry was the dominant human footprint covering 20.15% of the region, followed by agriculture footprint (3.17%), energy footprint (3.12%), and transportation footprint (1.74%). 

Human Footprint Type Area (km2) Area (%)
Total Human Footprint 19,752 29.7
Agriculture 2,106 3.2
Energy 2,073 3.1
Forestry 14,051 21.1
Human-created Water Bodies 113 0.2
Transportation 1,156 1.7
Urban/Industrial 259 0.4

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

Total Human Footprint 29.7%

Agriculture 3.2%

Energy 3.1%

Forestry 21.1%

Human-created Water Bodies 0.2%

Transportation 1.7%

Urban/Industrial 0.4%

Trend

Between 1999 and 2016, the total area of human footprint in the Foothills Natural Region increased by 12.17%, from 17.56% to 29.73%. Almost all of this increase can be attributed to the expansion of forestry footprint, which increased by almost 11% (from 10.29% to 21.15%). The remaining footprint types also increased during this time frame by a combined total of 1.77%.

Human Footprint Type 1999 (km2) 2016 (km2) Change (km2)
Total Human Footprint 11,666 19,752 + 8,085
Agriculture 1,927 2,106 + 179
Energy 1,555 2,073 + 518
Forestry 6,836 14,051 + 7,215
Human-created Water Bodies 33 113 + 80
Transportation 877 1,156 + 279
Urban/Industrial 133 259 + 126
Human Footprint Type 1999 (%) 2016 (%) Change (%)
Total Human Footprint 17.6 29.7 + 12.2
Agriculture 2.9 3.2 + 0.3
Energy 2.3 3.1 + 0.8
Forestry 10.3 21.1 + 10.9
Human-created Water Bodies 0.1 0.2 + 0.1
Transportation 1.3 1.7 + 0.4
Urban/Industrial 0.2 0.4 + 0.2

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