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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion in north-central Quebec is comprised of the Kaniapiskau Plateau and a large part of Lake Plateau to the south and east. It is marked by cool summers and very cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately -4.5°C. The mean summer temperature is 8.5°C and the mean winter temperature is -18°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 600 mm in the north to 900 mm in the south. The ecoregion is classified as having a predominantly mid to low subarctic ecoclimate. It is characterized by open (less than 50% cover) stands of black spruce, dwarf birch, northern Labrador tea, and lichens. The shrub component usually comprises about 50% of the ground cover. Vegetative cover is reduced on colder, dry sites; poorly drained sites support Labrador tea, sedge, and sphagnum moss. Kaniapiskau Plateau forms the core of Lake Plateau and is composed of rugged hills of massive granulite and charnockite Archean rocks in which fracture systems are conspicuously etched. Portions of the plateau reach elevations of 915 m asl. Its eastern border forms an escarpment overlooking Labrador Hills, but elsewhere its surface merges with Lake Plateau, sloping north and west from over 750 m asl to 350 m asl. Sporadic discontinuous permafrost with low ice content is prevalent throughout the northern and southeastern parts of the ecoregion. Only isolated patches are present in the southwest. Bare rock outcroppings are common and Dystric Brunisols and Turbic Cryosols with Organic Cryosols are the dominant soils in the ecoregion. Characteristic wildlife includes caribou, wolverine, snowshoe hare, fox, wolf, coyote, black bear, and waterfowl. Land uses are limited to wildlife trapping and hunting, recreation, and tourism. There are no major communities, and the population of the ecoregion is approximately 50.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Shield ecozone.