Strait of Belle Isle

This ecoregion occupies the northern tip of the Northern Peninsula. It is characterized by cool summers and cold winters. The mean annual temperature is approximately 2.5°C, with a mean summer temperature of 10°C and a mean winter temperature of -5.5°C. The mean annual precipitation ranges from 900 mm to 1100 mm. During the spring, the Strait of Belle Isle is blocked by ice which is carried southward by the Labrador Current. Fog is very common year-round. The predominant vegetation includes dwarfed patches of white spruce with an understory of mosses. White spruce is more common along the coast, whereas black spruce and tamarack are more common inland. Moss and lichen cover exposed areas.

There are coastal lowlands and a section of Newfoundland's highlands in this ecoregion. The lowlands are dominated by sloping bog plateaus. The uplands are covered with sandy and colluvial deposits, along with acidic till. Elevations range from sea level to about 630 m above sea level. Wetlands cover more than one quarter of the ecoregion.

Many birds use this ecoregion on their migratory route. It also provides suitable habitat for caribou, arctic hare, rock ptarmigan, Atlantic puffin, and geese. The first known European colony in the North America was a settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows, established approximately 1000 years ago by the Norse. The major communities include St. Anthony and Port Saunders.

©2002, Trevor Bell

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