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Ecological Framework of Canada
Ecoregions of Canada


This ecoregion of modest relief occurs on Ellesmere and Axel Heiberg islands. The mean annual temperature is approximately -16.5°C. The mean summer temperature is 0.5°C and the mean winter temperature is -30.5°C. Mean annual precipitation ranges 50-150 mm. The lowest mean monthly temperature in Canada was recorded at the Eureka weather station in February 1973, as -47.9°C. This ecoregion is classified as having a high arctic ecoclimate. It has a sparse vegetative cover of moss, along with mixed low-growing herbs and shrubs, such as purple saxifrage, Dryas spp., arctic willow, kobresia, sedge, and arctic poppy. Topography is rolling and ridged, and controlled by underlying strata, reaching altitudes of generally less than 1000 m asl. Extensive areas of low, dissected plateaus and gently rolling uplands developed on Mesozoic and Tertiary sandstone and shale are cut by trenchlike depressions, often curving and sinuous, forming great dendritic drainage systems with floors that extend right to the coast.  Permafrost is continuous with medium ice content. The dominant soils are Regosolic Static Cryosols and Orthic Turbic Cryosols that have developed on colluvial, alluvial, and marine deposits. Characteristic wildlife includes muskox, arctic hare, arctic wolf, caribou, seal, polar bear, ptarmigan, and seabirds. The largest settlement in the region is Eureka, a weather station operated by the federal government. The northernmost settlement in Canada is the military station at Alert on the northeast coastline of Ellesmere Island, however none of the staff are considered permanent residents.

This ecoregion is part of the Northern Arctic ecozone.