The Southern Lakes area extends from south central Yukon into northern British Columbia and covers roughly eight million acres (32,375 square kilometers). The landscape features plateaus, rolling hills, and broad valleys with many lakes and rivers.
Elevation generally ranges between 600 and 1,500 metres, although several peaks are over 2,000 metres. The climate in the area is arid (dry). Permafrost occurs in places, but covers less than a quarter of the area.
The region has a complex and productive mosaic of lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Teslin Lake, Marsh Lake, Tagish Lake and Lake Laberge - as well as portions of Teslin Lake, Kusawa Lake, and Atlin Lake - are all within the Southern Lakes area. The major rivers include the Yukon, the Teslin, and the Takhini.
Open coniferous and mixed forests are the main vegetation. Forest fires happen often and cover a wide area, considerably changing habitats (at the Takhini and Teslin burns, for example).
The Southern Lakes area contains many important staging areas for waterfowl. Marsh Lake is used by many migrating birds, and is also near the middle of the Ibex caribou herd’s winter range.