Home | Ecozones | Northern Arctic
Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada

LANCASTER PLATEAU

This high arctic ecoregion is associated with southeastern Ellesmere Island, Devon Island, northern Somerset Island, and the Brodeur Peninsula of northwestern Baffin Island. The mean annual temperature is approximately -13°C with a summer mean of 2°C and a winter mean of -26.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 100-200 mm. This ecoregion has a sparse vegetative cover of moss, and mixed low-growing herbs and shrubs such as purple saxifrage, Dryas spp., arctic willow, kobresia, sedge, and arctic poppy. The Lancaster Plateau, as part of the Arctic Lowlands, is formed on flat-lying Palaeozoic and late Proterozoic sedimentary rocks and slopes gently southward, ranging about 300-765 m asl. Exposed bedrock is common. Regosolic Turbic and Regosolic Static Cryosols are dominant soils that have developed on colluvial, alluvial, morainal, and marine sediments. Permafrost is deep and continuous with medium ice content. Permafrost in the northwest quarter of Devon Island has less ground ice, composed of occasional occurrences of massive ice bodies. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, muskox, arctic fox, polar bear, arctic hare, lemming, gyrfalcon, jaeger, snowy owl, ptarmigan, seabirds, and waterfowl. Marine fauna includes the walrus, seal, whale, and narwhal. Land uses in this ecoregion include trapping, hunting, and fishing. There is also a high hydrocarbon potential. The largest settlement is Grise Fiord, the most northerly community in Canada. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 200.

This ecoregion is part of the Northern Arctic ecozone.