Auyuittuq National Park is representative of the Northern Davis Natural Region, an area comprising the south and east coasts of Baffin Island and the east coasts of Devon and Ellesmere Island. The park straddles the Arctic Circle in an ecological transition between the High Arctic and Low Arctic vegetation zones.
Glacier and Permanent Ice Ecosystems
Glaciers and permanent ice, cover approximately 8470 km², or 40% of the landscape with the Penny Ice Cap covering about 28% and glacial cirques about 12%. This ecosystem plays a major role in the maintenance of the park’s systems through the influence on regional microclimate and water budgets for all the other systems of the park.
Auyuittuq National Park has about 800 km of fiord coastline. The area is characterized by deep narrow fiords with vertical walls up to 900 m in height. It is here, and especially in the northeast corner of the park that wildlife is most abundant. The marine component, although small at about 7%, is especially diverse in wildlife. The important marine components are associated with the fiords of the northeast portion of the park.
One half of the park area (50%) is comprised of tundra/barrens ecosystems. Tundra vegetation accounts for about 20% of the park’s land area found predominantly through the Akshayuk Pass and Greenshield Lake Area, with approximately another 18% composed of bedrock. The other 12% is covered by non-continuous vegetation.
Freshwater is a comparatively small ecosystem in Auyuittuq National Park, comprising less than 3 % of the park’s surface, mostly in small lakes. They do, however, support landlocked populations of Arctic Char, an important species to the neighbouring Inuit communities. Also, precipitation and melt-water events occur across the entire landscape and the collection of water into rivers and streams provides a means to effectively monitor some aspects of overall park integrity. Seasonal and annual fluctuations in timing, flow and discharge from melting ice caps, glaciers and lakes impacts all the other systems in the park.