Taiga and Boreal Forest
Taiga and Boreal Forest are areas characterized by coniferous Forests. With a harsh continental climate of cold winters and hot summers the forest extends through inland Siberia, Alaska, Canada and the inland areas of Northern Scandinavia. It is the World’s largest Biome. To the north of it is the Tundra.
Trees on the Taiga tend to be shallow rooted to take advantage of the shallow, nutrient poor soil. The soil is mostly acidic because much of the organic matter falling on it consists of evergreen needles. This acidic soil is not welcoming to many plant species, resulting in a preponderance of mosses and lichens which thrive in the acid conditions, but the Taiga has very low biological diversity.
The southern part of the Taiga is often called Boreal Forest, here where conditions are less harsh the colder Arctic edge, the trees grow taller and there are more tree species and a more diverse understory. The Open Taiga is more common in the north and close to the Arctic treeline, this is more widely spaced trees with a carpet of lichens and acid loving plants between them.
Wildlifewolves, lynxes and wolverines that prey on the larger mammals and foxes, weasels and owls that eat the smaller animals. Bears deal with the cold winter by eating hard during the summer and hibernating through the worst of the cold
Birds migrate into the taiga in summer because of the long hours of daylight and the abundance of insects, these provide the protein needed to raise baby birds successfully. Few species overwinter but among them are the raven and some ptarmigan species.
The main threat to the Taiga and Boreal Forests is timber extraction and fires.
Text © B & C Alexander