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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada

BACK RIVER PLAIN

This ecoregion occurs in central District of Keewatin, from the Back River south to Aberdeen Lake. The ecoregion is characterized by relatively level terrain, unlike adjacent ecoregions which tend to have greater relief. The mean annual temperature is approximately -10.5°C with a summer mean of 5.5°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. The vegetation is characterized as shrub tundra, consisting of dwarf birch, willow, northern Labrador tea, Dryas spp., and Vaccinium spp. Well-drained upper slopes tend to have a discontinuous vegetative cover. Tall dwarf birch, willow, and alder occur on warm sites; wet sites are dominated by willow, moss, and sedge tussocks. Clumps of dwarf black and white spruce and tamarack occur at lower elevations along the Thelon River in the southwest portion. The ecoregion includes areas of nearly flat-lying sandstones and volcanic rocks that are characteristically expressed on the surface by sandy flats sparsely covered with vegetation. Turbic Cryosols developed on level to undulating, discontinuous veneers of sandy morainal and fluvioglacial material are the dominant soils in the ecoregion; Organic Cryosols are associated with polygonal wetlands. Permafrost is continuous with low ice content throughout the ecoregion. The ecoregion has high mineral potential. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, muskox, moose, arctic hare, arctic fox, raptors, rock ptarmigan, gulls, and waterfowl. Land uses include trapping, hunting, and fishing.

This ecoregion is part of the Southern Arctic ecozone.