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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This mountainous ecoregion in northernmost Labrador has a humid, cold climate and is characterized by relatively short, cool, and moist summers and long, cold winters. Coastal ice and fog persist for longer periods than elsewhere along the Labrador coast. Mean annual temperature is approximately -6°C. The mean summer temperature is 4°C and the mean winter  temperature is -16.5°C. Mean annual precipitation is 400-700 mm with the higher values occurring in the high central elevations. This ecoregion is classified as having a low arctic ecoclimate. The region is characterized by a sparse cover of lichen, moss, arctic sedge, grass, and patches of arctic mixed evergreen and deciduous shrubs on sheltered, south-facing valley slopes. Unvegetated rock and tundra (alpine heath made up of lichens, mosses, and sedges) each comprise about 50% of upland surfaces. White birch/willow thickets growing on less stable scree frequently form a transition zone between tundra and very open spruce forests. Arctic black spruce with mixed evergreen and deciduous shrubs, and underlain by moss, is dominant on bogs and poorly drained sites. The ecoregion is composed of massive Archean granitic rocks, that form steep-sided, rounded mountains with deeply incised valleys and fjords along the Labrador sea coast. Glaciation has sculptured cirques, deep U-shaped valleys, and fjords. Hummocky, discontinuous, sandy, bouldery morainal deposits dominate the upland surfaces of the region. Steep slopes covered with talus and associated colluvial fans extend to valley floors. On the Quebec side of the boundary, permafrost is continuous and marked by sporadic ice wedges. On the eastern Atlantic side of  the boundary, permafrost is extensive but discontinuous. Acidic rock outcrops and Cryosolic soils are the dominant surface constituents. Turbic Cryosols are associated with patterned ground and boulder fields (felsenmeer). Additionally inclusions of Regosolic soils on colluvial fans, and Turbic and Organic Cryosols on valley floors also occur. The ecoregion provides habitat for small mammals and seasonal habitat for polar bear and caribou. There are no permanent communities.

This ecoregion is part of the Arctic Cordillera ecozone.