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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion spans the Yukon and Northwest Territories border between the Peel and Arctic Red rivers along the foothills of the Mackenzie and Richardson mountains. The ecoregion is marked by long, very cold winters and short cool summers. The mean annual temperature  is approximately -6°C. The mean annual summer temperature is 10°C and the mean winter temperature is -22.5°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 200-275 mm. The ecoregion is classified as having a high subarctic ecoclimate. The predominant vegetation consists of open, very stunted stands of black spruce and tamarack with secondary quantities of white spruce, and a ground cover of dwarf birch, willow, ericaceous shrubs, cottongrass, lichen, and moss. Poorly drained sites usually support tussocks of sedge, cottongrass, and sphagnum moss. Low shrub tundra, consisting of dwarf birch and willow, is also common. The surface of this ecoregion is characterized by truncated and upturned edges of Palaeozoic and Mesozoic strata, forming terraces, and rounded plateaus. Some portions of the ecoregion in the southwest are unglaciated, but most of its surface is covered by thin, discontinuous, hummocky to dissected glacial drift and organic deposits. Wetlands are present on over 25% of the ecoregion, characterized by peat plateau bogs, and ribbed and horizontal fens. Permafrost is continuous, and characterized by sparse ice wedges and massive ground ice bodies, with high to medium ice content in the northern part of the ecoregion above Mountain River, and extensive discontinuous permafrost with medium to low ice content below the river. Turbic and Organic Cryosols with some Eutric Brunisols and Static Cryosols are the dominant soils in the ecoregion. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, moose, grizzly and black bear, wolf, red fox, snowshoe hare, and beaver. Common birds include raven, osprey, spruce grouse, and waterfowl. Land use activities include trapping, hunting, and fishing, with some recreation and tourism. There are no permanent communities in this ecoregion.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Plains ecozone.