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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion includes the northern two-thirds of Victoria Island, the southwestern portion of Prince of Wales Island, King William Island, and a small portion of the western side of Boothia Peninsula. This ecoregion is classified as having a mid-arctic ecoclimate. The mean annual temperature is approximately -14°C with a summer mean of 1.5°C and a winter mean of -29°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 100-150 mm. This ecoregion is characterized by a discontinuous upland vegetative cover dominated by purple saxifrage, Dryas spp., and arctic willow, along with alpine foxtail, wood rush, and other saxifrage.  Wet areas have a continuous cover of sedge, cottongrass, saxifrage, and moss. Remaining upland areas are largely devoid of vegetation, a distinguishing characteristic of this ecoregion. Smooth, undulating lowlands are formed on flat-lying Palaeozoic and late Proterozoic carbonate rocks that slope gently to the south and southwest. Extensive areas of drumlinoid ridges impart a characteristic grain to the minor topography on this ancient erosion surface. Elevations lie predominantly below 100 m asl, except in central Victoria Island where elevations rise up to over 200 m asl. This ecoregion is underlain by continuous permafrost with medium to high ice content in the form of ice wedge polygons and massive ice bodies. Turbic Cryosols with Static Cryosols are dominant soils and have developed on a variety of smooth, undulating glacial deposits. Wetland areas are distributed mainly along the east coast of Victoria Island along M'Clintock Channel. These are composed of marshes, horizontal fens and low-centre lowland polygon fens with small, elevated peat mound bogs. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, muskox, polar bear, arctic hare, arctic fox, snowy owl, other raptors, seal, whale, seabirds, and waterfowl. Land uses in the ecoregion include trapping, hunting, fishing and tourism. The largest settlements are Gjoa Haven on King William Island, and Spence Bay on the Boothia Peninsula. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 1400.

This ecoregion is part of the Northern Arctic ecozone.