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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion extends northward from Schefferville to the mouth of the Rivière aux Feuilles at Ungava Bay and encompasses most of the Labrador Hills in northeastern Quebec. 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 -16°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges 300-400 mm around Ungava Bay to 750 mm in the south of the ecoregion. The ecoregion is classified as having a mid to high subarctic ecoclimate. It is dominated by open to very 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 dry sites; poorly drained sites support open black spruce, Labrador tea, sedge, and sphagnum moss. Vegetative cover becomes more sparse and more open as it approaches Ungava Bay. The Labrador Hills are composed of folded Precambrian sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Their surfaces are in the form of sinuous ridges and valleys formed by down-warped, folded, and faulted strata. Summit elevations range from about 730 m asl in the south and central parts to about 360 m asl in the northern part. Valleys are generally floored with tills, drumlins, and sands. The Rivière à la Baleine lowlands to the east are a broad, irregular, drift-covered old erosion surface composed of massive granites and gneisses, with ridges and hills ranging from 150 m asl in the north to about 600 m asl in the south. Glaciation has resulted in a rolling, morainal plain with numerous lakes. Hummocky and drumlinized upper surfaces of the ecoregion are covered by thick deposits of glacial sediments. Drumlins and ribbed moraines are common. Depressions are partly filled with peat accumulations. Rock outcrops are common, and Dystric Brunisols and Turbic Cryosols are the dominant soils in the ecoregion. Significant inclusions are Humo-Ferric Podzols, Mesisols, and Organic Cryosols. Sporadic discontinuous permafrost with medium ice content is present over most of the ecoregion, mainly in wetlands. Around Ungava Bay there is extensive discontinuous permafrost with sparse ice wedges. The ecoregion provides habitat for caribou, small mammals, waterfowl, and other birds. Resources and the region's physiography provide opportunities for hunting and trapping, and outdoor recreation. Major communities include Schefferville, Tasiujaq, and Kuujjuaq. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 2700.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Shield ecozone.