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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This expansive ecoregion covers the upland from just east of the Mackenzie Delta to Dease Arm of Great Bear Lake. The mean annual temperature is approximately -11°C with a summer mean of 5°C and a winter mean of -26°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 200-300 mm. This ecoregion is classified as having a high subarctic ecoclimate. Tall shrub tundra, usually consisting of dwarf birch and willow, is the most common vegetative cover. The southern boundary of the ecoregion encompasses the area of tundra and subarctic forest transition, where open, 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. This ecoregion's rolling surface, which is generally below about 300 m asl elevation, is covered by glacial drift and outwash. A number of hills reach about 460 m asl. A wide range of Cryosolic soils, as well as Eutric and Dystric Brunisolic soils, have formed on hummocky to undulating, loamy glacial till. Organic landforms are usually high-centred lowland polygons. Permafrost is continuous throughout the ecoregion with high ice content and abundant ice wedges in the northern half, and low to medium ice content in the southernmost quarter along Great Bear Lake. Characteristic mammals include caribou, moose, black and grizzly bear, lynx, red and arctic fox, and snowshoe hare. Representative birds include sparrow, songbirds, spruce grouse, osprey, and waterfowl. Land use is limited to trapping, hunting, and fishing. Mineral exploration activities are common. Paulatuk is the main settlement and the population of the ecoregion is approximately 300.

This ecoregion is part of the Southern Arctic ecozone.