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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


The major part of this ecoregion (86) spans the southern Labrador border with Quebec and extends northwest to the southern boundary of the Smallwood Reservoir. It contains the headwaters of the Alexis River and lies south of the vast bog terrain of the Eagle Plateau. The two smaller but separate areas of the ecoregion lie north (80) and west (83) of Lake Melville. The mean annual temperature is approximately -1°C for the ecoregion; it ranges between -2°C and -3°C in the areas north and west of Lake Melville. The mean summer temperature for the ecoregion is 10°C, and the mean winter temperature is -13°C. Mean annual precipitation increases from north to south in the range of 800-1000 mm. The ecoregion is classified as having a low subarctic ecoclimate. The predominant vegetation includes low, open and sometimes closed cover patches of black spruce with an understory of dwarf birch, Labrador tea, lichens, and mosses. The forests in this ecoregion are transitional, both to tundra and alpine tundra vegetative communities to the north, and to the closed cover of typical coniferous boreal forests to the south. Black spruce is the climatic climax species in this ecoregion, trembling aspen reaches its northern limit, and balsam fir is restricted to rare sites of medium-textured materials. This ecoregion is composed of massive Archean granites, granitic gneisses, and acidic intrusives. It is rough and undulating and rises to elevations of about 215-600 m asl. The surface is covered with sandy morainal deposits of variable thickness. Fluvioglacial deposits are sporadically distributed in the form of eskers and river terraces. Humo-Ferric Podzolic soils are dominant with significant inclusions of Ferro-Humic Podzols, Dystric Brunisols, Organic Fibrisols and Mesisols, and Organic Cryosols in wetlands. Permafrost occurs in isolated patches, mainly in wetlands. The region is only slightly affected by the Atlantic Ocean and provides habitat for caribou, moose, black bear, red fox, lynx, other small mammals, waterfowl, and other birds. Land use activities include hunting, trapping, and outdoor recreation. The principal community is Churchill Falls. The population of the ecoregion is approximately 800.

This ecoregion is part of the Taiga Shield ecozone.