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Canadian Shield

Natural Region 15


More than 95 percent of this region is tundra - rock barrens where mountain avens and purple saxifrage grow in dense mats; polar deserts where only lichens can thrive; verdant wet sedge meadows; dense carpets of willows, dwarf birch and heath vegetation. An undulating band of stunted, creeping spruce trees interspersed among the heaths and other typical tundra species extends into this region along river valleys, marking the northerly limit of tree growth.


The wildlife of this region features few resident species and many summer migrants. This reflects the difference in the availability of food between the continuous summer sunshine and the long, dark winter.

© Parks Canada

Two major caribou herds, the Bluenose Herd and the Bathurst Herd, migrate throughout this region. Together they are estimated to number over 500,000 animals. Native peoples in the region still depend on the caribou as they have for thousands of years. There are also significant populations of muskox in the region that are recovering from over-hunting early in the 20th century.

National Parks System Plan, 3rd Edition

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