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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This large ecoregion covers the uplands south of Chesterfield Inlet and extends as far south as Churchill and includes much of the northwest coast of Hudson Bay. The mean annual temperature ranges from approximately -8°C in the south to -11°C in the north. A mean summer temperature of 6°C and mean winter temperature of -24°C occur for the entire ecoregion. The mean annual precipitation ranges 250-400 mm with more than 400 mm occurring south of Eskimo Point. Temperature and precipitation increase to the south of the ecoregion. Coastal climate is moderated by the open waters of Hudson Bay during the late summer and early fall prior to freeze-up when damp foggy weather is common. The ecoregion is classified as having a low arctic ecoclimate. It is characterized by a cover of shrub tundra vegetation. Dwarf birch, willow, and alder occur on warm, dry sites; poorly drained sites are dominated by willow, sphagnum moss, and sedge. The region is associated with areas of continuous permafrost with medium ice content and with Turbic Cryosolic soils. Unfrozen Organic (Mesisol) and Regosolic soils also occur in this ecoregion. Crystalline Archean massive rocks form broad, sloping uplands and lowlands. Hummocky bedrock outcrops covered with discontinuous acidic, sandy, granitic tills are dominant. Prominent fluvioglacial ridges (eskers) also occur. Wetlands make up 25-50% of the land area and are characteristically lowland low- and high-centred polygon fens. Wildlife includes barren-ground caribou, arctic fox, weasel, arctic ground squirrel, and lemming. Bird species include willow ptarmigan, snowy owl, and rough-legged hawk. Waterfowl, particularly sea ducks, snow geese, swans, Canada geese and shorebirds are common in the coastal areas. White whale and seals inhabit coastal waters. Land uses include subsistence fishing, trapping, and hunting. Most of the human population and land use is along the coast. The main settlements in the region are Chesterfield Inlet, Eskimo Point, and Rankin Inlet. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 3600.

This ecoregion is part of the Southern Arctic ecozone.