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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion, associated with the Sverdrup Islands group (Prince Patrick, Mackenzie King, Ellef Ringnes, and Amund Ringnes islands and several smaller islands), is characterized by low relief and sparse vegetative cover. The mean annual temperature is approximately -18°C, with a summer mean of -1.5°C and a winter mean of -32°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges about 100-150 mm, however, the northern fringes of the ecoregion may receive less than 100 mm of precipitation annually. This ecoregion is classified as having a high arctic ecoclimate. Mosses, lichens, and cold-hardy vascular plants such as sedge and cottongrass are the dominant vegetation. Arctic willow and Dryas spp. occur infrequently. The Sverdrup Islands Lowland ecoregion is developed on generally soft, poorly consolidated, and little-deformed Mesozoic rocks. Its surface is a rolling, scarped lowland less than 150 m asl. Local areas of low uplands and dissected plateaus reach 365 m asl; elsewhere, extensive areas of plain, lying only a few metres above sea level, have distinctive dissected domes and ring structures developed on gypsum anhydrite and igneous intrusions. Regosolic Static and Orthic Turbic Cryosols are the dominant soils that have developed on colluvial, alluvial, morainal, and marine deposits, and are intermixed with areas of exposed bedrock. The entire ecoregion is underlain by deep, continuous permafrost with medium ice content, consisting of abundant ice wedges. The exception is the permafrost on Ellef Ringnes Island, and the northwest coastline of Prince Patrick Island, which may have high ice content. Characteristic wildlife includes muskox, arctic hare, arctic fox, caribou, seal, polar bear, ptarmigan, and king eider. The region has high hydrocarbon potential, including some producing wells.

This ecoregion is part of the Northern Arctic ecozone.