Dog sledding. Wakeham Bay in Kangiqsujuaq.
Nunavik is a unique blend of Arctic climate conditions and natural regions. The bedrock of the region, which is among the oldest in the world, is close to 2.1 billion years old.
The origins and evolution of Nunavik are a long and complex story of tectonic events, volcanic activity, erosion, glaciation and deglaciation. This story is revealed in the region’s geographic formations, hydrography and landscapes, including mountains and former mountain ranges, cirques, wide glacial valleys, eskers, perched beaches, and block fields.
Nunavik is characterized by an inhospitable climate, with a growing period of less than three months annually, not to mention widespread permafrost. The region’s vegetation is classified as tundra: from forest tundra in the south (a transition zone between open boreal forest and arctic tundra) to arctic tundra in the north (marked by lichen, low-growing herbaceous plants, and the absence of trees).
Nunavik’s natural regions nurture a limited number of simple ecosystems that are highly vulnerable to environmental stress, although this vulnerability is somewhat offset by the expanse of the ecosystems. Topography, altitude, geological structures and proximity to the sea are all factors that affect the biological environment and support diversity. Among the most widely recognized Northern animal and plant species are caribou, polar bear, arctic char, snowy owl, peregrine falcon, cottongrass and delicate flowering plants.
In addition to offering protection to the region’s unique natural heritage, Nunavik parks stimulate research that is expanding our knowledge about the past and future evolution of our planet.