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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This rugged, mountainous ecoregion of northeastern Baffin Island is characterized by low species diversity and sparse vegetative cover. A humid, extremely cold climate is marked by very short, cold summers. Mean annual temperature is approximately -11.5°C. Mean summer temperature is 1°C and mean winter temperature is -23°C. Mean annual precipitation is 200-400 mm overall with 400-600 mm centering around  the Cumberland Peninsula. This ecoregion is classified as having a high arctic ecoclimate. A discontinuous cover of mosses, lichens, and cold-hardy vascular plants such as sedge and cottongrass is the dominant vegetation. Baffin Mountains ecoregion is an elevated belt of deeply dissected crystalline rocks that extend along the northeastern flank of Baffin and Bylot islands. Ice-capped mountainous peaks reach 1525-2135 m asl. Sloping gently westward, the ecoregion's general aspect is one of a broad, gently warped, old erosion surface etched by erosion along joint systems and zones of weakness. Long arms of the sea penetrate as glacier-filled sounds or fjords; some cut through the highlands to Baffin Upland to the east. The ecoregion is underlain by deep, continuous permafrost with low ice content. Bare bedrock is common, and Turbic Cryosols developed on discontinuous colluvial, alluvial, and morainal deposits are the dominant soils. Characteristic wildlife includes arctic hare, arctic fox, lemming, and caribou. Polar bears are common in coastal areas. Representative birds include king eider, rock ptarmigan, northern fulmar, plover, hoary redpoll, and snow bunting. Marine mammals include walrus, seal, and whale. The principal activities include hunting and fishing. The first National Park in Canada above the Arctic Circle, Auyuittuq, was established in 1972 in the southern part of the ecoregion. The largest settlement is Broughton Island, and the population of the ecoregion is approximately 500.

This ecoregion is part of the Arctic Cordillera ecozone.