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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion takes in the Eagle Plain, Bell Basin, and part of the Porcupine Plateau and is almost an entirely unglaciated rolling plateau. The mean annual temperature for the area is -6.5°C with a summer mean of 10°C and a winter mean of -23.5°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 400-450 mm. This region is classified as having a high subarctic ecoclimate. The vegetative cover of this ecoregion is typical subarctic forest. Open, often very stunted stands of black spruce and tamarack with secondary quantities of white spruce and ground cover of dwarf birch, willow, ericaceous shrubs, cottongrass, lichen, and moss, are predominant. On the southern part of the ecoregion, long, even-topped ridges along the Porcupine Plateau have broad, gently rounded summits typical of unglaciated terrain. Relief is low; elevation ranges 300-600 m asl. The highest peak is 925 m asl. The plain is underlain by Cretaceous and older sandstone and shale. A discontinuous veneer of eolian material covers much of the more stable upper slopes in the region. Permafrost is continuous. High ice content permafrost in the form of ice wedges is common in basin areas. Turbic Cryosols on loamy, inclined and dissected colluvial material are most common. Regosols on gravelly alluvial material and Dystric Brunisols on sandy colluvium occur on nonpermafrost sites. Characteristic wetlands covering 25-50% of the land area consist of peat plateau bogs, palsa bogs, ribbed and horizontal fens. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, moose, grizzly and black bear, wolf, red fox, snowshoe hare, spruce grouse, beaver, raven, osprey, and waterfowl. Climate and natural resources provide land use opportunities for wildlife trapping and hunting, some fishing, river-oriented recreation, and tourism along the Dempster Highway. Exploration activities have revealed some hydrocarbon reserves in the ecoregion, but no development of these resources has yet occurred. The only permanent settlement is Eagle Plains, a year around service centre for traffic on the Dempster Highway.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Cordillera ecozone.