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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion lies north of the Smith Arm of Great Bear Lake and encompasses Aubry and Colville lakes, and lacs des Bois and Maunoir. It is marked by short, cool summers and long, very cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately -10°C. The mean summer temperature is 6.5°C and the mean winter temperature is -25.5°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 200-300 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. This ecoregion embraces several ridges of Palaeozoic carbonate strata that stand above the surrounding plains. The hills and ridges enclose basins which contain several large lakes in a netlike pattern with meshes of 15 km or more across. The lowlands lie at about 245-300 m asl, whereas sinuous ridges reach elevations of 670 m asl. This hummocky to undulating plain is also characterized by extensive polygonal peat plateaus. Organic and Turbic Cryosols and Dystric Brunisols are the dominant soils in the ecoregion. Permafrost is continuous with low to medium ice content. It is characterized by sparse ice wedges in the southern half of the ecoregion, and by abundant ice wedges, massive ground ice and pingo ice in the north. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, moose, grizzly and black bear, wolf, red fox, snowshoe hare, beaver, muskrat, spruce grouse, raven, osprey, and waterfowl. Land uses include trapping, hunting, fishing, recreation, and tourism. The principal community is Colville Lake, and the population of the ecoregion is approximately 70.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Plains ecozone.