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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This large ecoregion covering the northeastern District of Keewatin extends westward from the northern portion of Southampton Island on Hudson Strait to Chesterfield Inlet in the south, and as far west as Back River. The mean annual temperature is approximately -11°C with a summer mean of 4.5°C and a winter mean of -26.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 200-300 mm. This ecoregion is classified as having a low arctic ecoclimate. It is characterized by a discontinuous cover of tundra vegetation, consisting of dwarf birch, willow, northern Labrador tea, Dryas spp., and Vaccinium spp. Taller dwarf birch, willow, and alder occur on warm sites; wet sites are dominated by willow and sedge. Lichen-covered rock outcroppings are prominent throughout the ecoregion, and towards the south the vegetation becomes a mix of tundra vegetation and open, dwarf coniferous forest. This ecoregion is composed of massive Archean rocks of the Canadian Shield that form broad, sloping uplands, plains, and valleys. It rises gradually westward from Chesterfield Inlet to 600 m asl elevation, where it is deeply dissected. Turbic and Static Cryosols developed on discontinuous, thin, sandy moraine and alluvial deposits are the dominant soils in the ecoregion, while large areas of Regosolic Static Cryosols are associated with marine deposits along the coast. Permafrost is continuous with low ice content. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, muskox, wolverine, Arctic hare, fox, walrus, seal, whale, polar bear, raptors, shorebirds, and waterfowl. Land uses include trapping, hunting, and fishing. Repulse Bay and Baker Lake are the main settlements. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 1700.

This ecoregion is part of the Northern Arctic ecozone.