Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Victoria Island Terrestrial Ecosystem Characterization

Leadership in surficial geology and soil description as a basis for ecosystem classification

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) will soon be constructed in Cambridge Bay, on southern Victoria Island, Nunavut, funded by Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Its purpose is to promote partnerships and collaboration among Aboriginal, academic, public and private sectors for research on environmental and resource development issues. In support of the CHARS establishment, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) recently initiated a long-term study on arctic ecosystems and their responses to climate change.

Palmer Environmental Consulting Group Inc. (PECG) was invited to join AANDC’s multi-disciplinary field team in the summer of 2013, in order to contribute expertise on regional Quaternary history, surficial geology and soil (Cryosol) classification. PECG examined and documented ten distinct landform-soil associations, summarized the Quaternary evolution of the landscape and identified several important knowledge gaps warranting further study.  This initial phase of work provides the foundation for future detailed terrain and ecosystem mapping programs.