Greenland is an island nation located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Greenland is the world's largest island.
Greenland is home to two ecoregions: Kalaallit Nunaat high arctic tundra and Kalaallit Nunaat low arctic tundra. There are approximately 700 known species of insects in Greenland, which is low compared with other countries, The sea is rich in fish and invertebrates, especially in the milder West Greenland Current; a large part of the Greenland fauna is associated with marine-based food chains, including large colonies of seabirds. The few native land mammals in Greenland include the polar bear, reindeer, arctic fox, arctic hare, musk ox, collared lemming, ermine, and arctic wolf. The last four are found naturally only in East Greenland, having immigrated from Ellesmere Island. There are dozens of species of seals and whales along the coast. Land fauna consists predominantly of animals which have spread from North America or, in the case of many birds and insects, from Europe. There are no native or free-living reptiles or amphibians on the island.
Phytogeographically, Greenland belongs to the Arctic province of the Circumboreal Region within the Boreal Kingdom. The island is sparsely populated in vegetation; plant life consists mainly of grassland and small shrubs, which are regularly grazed by livestock. The most common tree native to Greenland is the European white birch along with gray-leaf willow, rowan, common juniper and other smaller trees, mainly willows.
Greenland's flora consists of about 500 species of 'higher' plants, i.e. flowering plants, ferns, horsetails and lycopodiophyta. Of the other groups, the lichens are the most diverse, with about 950 species; there are 600–700 species of fungi; mosses and bryophytes are also found. Most of Greenland's higher plants have circumpolar or circumboreal distributions; only a dozen species of saxifrage and hawkweed are endemic. A few plant species were introduced by the Norsemen, such as cow vetch.
The terrestrial vertebrates of Greenland include the Greenland dog, which was introduced by the Inuit, as well as European-introduced species such as Greenlandic sheep, goats, cattle, reindeer, horse, chicken and sheepdog, all descendants of animals imported by Europeans. Marine mammals include the hooded seal as well as the grey seal, Whales frequently pass very close to Greenland's shores in the late summer and early autumn. Whale species include the beluga whale, blue whale, Greenland whale, fin whale, humpback whale, minke whale, narwhal, pilot whale, sperm whale.
As of 2009, 269 species of fish from over 80 different families are known from the waters surrounding Greenland. Almost all are marine species with only a few in freshwater, notably Atlantic salmon and charr. The fishing industry is the primary industry of Greenland's economy, accounting for the majority of the country's total exports.
Birds, particularly seabirds, are an important part of Greenland's animal life; they consist of both Palearctic and Nearctic species, breeding populations of auks, puffins, skuas, and kittiwakes are found on steep mountainsides. Greenland's ducks and geese include common eider, long-tailed duck, king eider, white-fronted goose, pink-footed goose and barnacle goose. Breeding migratory birds include the snow bunting, lapland bunting, ringed plover, red-throated loon and red-necked phalarope. Non-migratory land birds include the arctic redpoll, ptarmigan, short-eared owl, snowy owl, gyrfalcon and white-tailed eagle.