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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion is located on the northern tip of Cape Breton Island. The ecoregion is marked  by cool, wet summers and long winters. Fog is common. The mean annual temperature is approximately 5°C. The mean summer temperature is 15°C and the mean winter temperature is -2°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 1400-1600 mm. The ecoregion is strongly influenced by severe winds on exposed upper slopes, where sparse, low growing conifer forests and kalmia heath are predominant. The sheltered lower slopes are characterized by intermediate to tall balsam fir, white spruce, and white birch. Associated with peatlands and seepage sites are open stands of black spruce and tamarack with an understory of sphagnum. The ecoregion covers the highest part of the Nova Scotia Highlands physiographic division and a remnant of the old Appalachian peneplain composed of Proterozoic metamorphic and volcanic rocks. The peneplain is deeply incised around its margins and has a remarkably flat interior lying at about 450 m asl. Ridged to hummocky, stony, glacial tills are predominant; bedrock exposures, residuum, colluvium on the very steep slopes, and peatlands on the plateau are also present. Shallow, loamy Ferro-Humic Podzols are the dominant soils of the region and are commonly associated with Humo-Ferric Podzols and Dystric Brunisols on steep slopes, Fibrisols on domed and sloping bogs, and Mesisols on fens. The region provides habitat for moose, snowshoe hare, black bear, and lynx. Forestry, tourism, and recreation are dominant land uses in the region. There are no major communities in this ecoregion.

This ecoregion is part of the Atlantic Maritime ecozone.