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Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion in Labrador forms a coastal strip of exposed headlands, sheltered inlets, and islands from Napaktok Bay south to the Strait of Belle Isle. The climate of the region is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and is characterized by relatively short, cool, and moist summers and long, very cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately -3.5°C. The mean summer temperature is 7°C and the mean winter temperature is -13.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 600 mm near the Okak Islands in the north to 800 mm around Groswater Bay. South of Groswater Bay precipitation increases to over 1000 mm annually. The ecoregion is classified as having an Atlantic low subarctic ecoclimate. A low, closed to open white spruce forest with a moss understory is generally found on moist, sheltered, upper and lower valley slopes. However, coastal heath dominates the ecoregion along headlands and ridges. Cliff summits are mostly exposed bedrock with mosses and lichens limited to small cracks and sheltered lee slopes. Frequent forest fires commonly reduce woodlands to scrubland dominated by alder, dwarf birch, and Labrador tea. Salt marshes or plateau bogs are common on large marine terraces. Composed of massive Archean granites, granitic gneiss, and acidic intrusives, this ecoregion includes steep-sided, rounded mountains with deeply incised U-shaped valleys and fjords extending well inland along the Labrador Sea coast. Discontinuous, sandy, bouldery morainal veneers dominate its surfaces. Steep slopes covered with talus and associated colluvial fans extend to valley floors. Morainal deposits interspersed with marine deposits of varying thickness and alluvial and fluvioglacial material form a mantle on larger valley floors and inlets. Moraines are more continuous in the south. Scattered sizable bogs occur south of Davis Inlet, and salt marshes are common on large marine terraces. Acidic rock outcrops are prominent, and significant soil inclusions are Humo-Ferric Podzols and Ferro-Humic Podzols, Regosols, and Turbic and Organic Cryosols. Permafrost is sporadic. The shore and islands south of Groswater Bay provide habitat for caribou. The region forms part of the Atlantic migratory flyway and provides important habitat for seabird colonies, as well as seal whelping areas. Land use activities include hunting, trapping, and outdoor recreation. Small coastal settlements provide bases for fishing, and oil and mineral exploration. The main communities include Nain, Makkovik, Hopedale, Cartwright, Davis Inlet, and Voisey's Bay, the site of one of the largest nickel deposits in Canada. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 3500.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Shield ecozone.