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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion extends northwest from Churchill River in Manitoba to the East Arm Hills at the eastern end of Great Slave Lake. Most of the ecoregion is above 500 m asl. At the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border the surface gently slopes towards the Hudson Plains ecozone at 150 m asl. This ecoregion is marked by cool summers and very cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately -5°C. The mean summer temperature is 11°C and the mean winter temperature is -21.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 250-400 mm. The ecoregion is classified as having a low subarctic ecoclimate. It is part of the tundra and boreal forest transition extending from Labrador to Alaska. Black spruce is the climatic species, and open stands of low, stunted black spruce with dwarf birch and Labrador tea, and a ground cover of lichen, and moss, are characteristic. Bog-fen sequences composed of stunted black spruce, ericaceous shrubs, and mosses dominate poorly drained wetlands. Wetlands cover 25-50% of the southeastern part of the ecoregion in Manitoba. Ridged to hummocky crystalline, massive rocks that form broad, sloping uplands and lowlands are covered with discontinuous acidic, sandy tills. Significant shallow, clayey lacustrine deposits occur at lower elevations. Prominent sinuous esker ridges and lakes are common throughout the region. Permafrost is extensive and discontinuous with low to medium ice content and sporadic ice wedges throughout most of the ecoregion, but grades to sporadic discontinuous with low ice content along the southern edges. Dystric Brunisols and Organic Cryosols are the most widely distributed soil types. Gray Luvisols occur as inclusions on exposed clayey sediments. Characteristic wildlife includes barren-ground caribou, black bear, wolverine, marten, timber wolf, arctic fox, mink, snowshoe hare, and red-backed vole. Upland game birds are spruce grouse and willow ptarmigan, and other bird species include sandhill crane, waterfowl and shorebirds. Land use activities are limited to trapping and hunting, and recreation. The major communities include Wollaston Lake, Lac Brochet, and Brochet. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 1600.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Shield ecozone.