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The Arctic Cordillera is a mountainous area of ice and rock. Due to the cold dry climate, harsh winds, and limited soil, plant life is scarce.

Because of so much ice and snow, there is not much soil exposed in the Arctic cordillera. Only in sheltered spaces like valleys and caves contain some surface soil. Although there is very little soil, some type of plants can survive in it.

Most of the soil turns into a layer of permafrost. The soil in the Arctic Cordillera hardly ever defrosts.