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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion incorporates the Parry Islands Group (southern Melville, Bathurst, and Cornwallis islands and several smaller islands). The mean annual temperature is approximately -17.5°C with a summer mean of -1.5°C and a winter mean of -31°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 100-150 mm. This ecoregion is classified as having a high arctic ecoclimate. It has a sparse and discontinuous vegetative cover of moss, along with mixed low-growing herbs and shrubs such as purple saxifrage, Dryas spp., arctic willow, kobresia, sedge, and arctic poppy. The terrain of this plateau is strongly ridged. The ridges, composed of gently curving folds of Palaeozoic carbonates, shales, and sandstones, are broad, flat-topped, and straight-sided. Their elevations average less than 250 m asl. Separate, flat-floored, longitudinal valleys are transected by rugged, ravinelike cross valleys. On Melville Island, a few hills reach 760 m asl, and cliff-walled fjordlike bays and straits cut deeply into the uplifted plateau. Turbic Cryosols with Static Cryosols are the dominant soils that have developed on morainal and colluvial deposits. This ecoregion is underlain by deep, continuous permafrost with medium ice content, and abundant ice wedges. The exception is the permafrost on the southern tip of Melville Island which has high ice content.  Characteristic wildlife includes muskox, caribou, arctic hare, arctic fox, polar bear, seal, whale, seabirds, and waterfowl. The main land use activities include trapping, fishing, and tourism. Other activities include mining, and the Polaris lead-zinc mine on Little Cornwallis Island is the most northerly mine in the world. The largest settlement in the region is Resolute, located on the southern shore of Cornwallis Island. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 200.

This ecoregion is part of the Northern Arctic ecozone.