• Saturday June 25,2022

Taiga

We explain what the taiga is, also called the "boreal forest", its characteristics, climate, flora, fauna and various examples.

The taiga is a forested biome with a cold climate, found in the northern hemisphere.
  1. What is the taiga?

The taiga or boreal forest is one of the biomes in which the largest forest mass on the planet resides, composed almost entirely of coniferous forests. Its name comes from the Russian, which means earth of small sticks .

Taigas are located in the northern cold regions of the northern hemisphere, in the immediate vicinity of the Arctic polar circle, in northern Russia (including Siberia), Europe, Canada and Alaska (USA), constituting an intermediate biome between the steppe and the tundra. There are no taigas in the southern hemisphere, but its equivalent would be the subpolar Magellanic forest.

It is a very important biome for the oxygenation and carbon fixation of the planet (that is, its cooling), given that the huge areas of taiga forests absorb large amounts of CO 2, one of the main greenhouse gases.

It can serve you: Earth Ecosystem

  1. Taiga characteristics

In addition to being a source of wood, the taiga forest is one of the lungs of the world.

The origin of this biome dates back to the last portion of the Pleistocene (23, 000 to 16, 500 years ago), at the end of the last Ice Age. In a much colder world, their plant species were widely distributed in the world, but they were declining to the margin they occupy today, as the glaciers began their withdrawal 18, 000 years ago.

The taiga is one of the lungs of the planet, along with the tropical rain forests. But unlike these, it does not have a great plant and animal biodiversity, but it is an example of life adapted to a cold, dry and hostile climate, a prelude to the icy desert of the polar regions. However, it is an important source of wood for industrial use .

  1. Taiga Climate

The species that live in the taiga are adapted to very cold winters.

The climate of the taiga has an average temperature of 19 ° C in summer, and a minimum of -30 ° C in winter . That is, it is an icy climate in which permafrost predominates. Precipitation averages 450mm annually .

For these reasons, the species that live in these regions are adapted to cold and drought. For example, the life of the plants has a window of optimal conditions of just four months.

  1. Taiga Flora

The needle-shaped leaves of the conifers allow photosynthesis without loss of water.

The dominant vegetation in the taiga are conifers, sometimes of the same type, forming long stretches of forest. Its needle-shaped leaves deal well with freezing temperatures, which lose little water. In addition, being evergreen (they do not lose the leaves in autumn), they can make photosynthesis continuously and immediately as soon as the Sun appears.

Its heights are around 40 meters, with pyramid cup . Due to its dense branches, there is little impact of sunlight on the undergrowth and little life around it, other than ferns, lichens and mosses. In general, the taiga is a biome of low plant biodiversity.

However, in the southernmost regions, where the climate becomes more benevolent, it is usual for deciduous trees of different nature to appear (poplars, birches, willows, etc.) forming mixed forests.

  1. Taiga fauna

The fauna of the taiga is adapted to the cold thanks to its abundant fur.

Similar to the flora, the taiga fauna is little varied and not abundant. It is composed almost entirely of species adapted to the cold climate, with abundant fur, such as foxes, elk, minks, lynx, weasels and the maximum predators of the ecoregion, bears.

Small rodents abound, such as mice, and rabbits or hares, as well as several species of birds. During the summer the weather improves a lot and then insects and excavating worms appear.

  1. Examples of taiga

A large extension of the Ural Mountains, in Russia, is covered by the taiga.

The main taigas of the planet are:

  • Forests of Slave-Muskwa Lake, in Canada.
  • Canadian Uruguayan boreal forests, in Canada.
  • Taiga of the Ural mountains, in Russia.
  • Taiga of Eastern Siberia, in Russia.
  • Taiga and prairies of Kamchatka, in Russia.
  1. Taiga and Tundra

The taiga usually precedes the tundra, but they are two very different biomes.

The taiga usually geographically precedes the tundra, which is what is known to the bio-geographical regions near the poles. There the vegetation decreases in size due to the arid soil conditions (usually permafrost) and the very low rainfall.

The tundra is a form of plain without trees, of soils covered with mosses and l' quenes with abundant peat bogs. They are frequent in the southern extremes of Chile and Argentina, near the Antarctic circle, as well as the South Georgia, Auckland and Kerguelen islands, and in the few areas of the Antarctic that are not n covered by ice.

In the northern hemisphere they can also be found, in the coastal extremes of northern Russia, Canada, Alaska and the European Arctic coast, as well as southern Greenland.

There are, in addition, three types of tundra, depending on their geographical location:

  • Alpine : Typical of mountainous regions.
  • Arctic : Typical of the Arctic region, more abundant in water and therefore in plant life.
  • Antarctic : Typical of the Antarctic, much drier and with much less biodiversity yet.

Continue with: Tundra


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