Taiga

From Academic Kids

Taiga (pronounced , from Russian тайга́) is a biome characterized by its coniferous forests. In Canada, the term boreal forest is used to refer to the southern part of this biome; the term taiga is used to described the more barren northern areas south of the Arctic tree-line.

It is the most northerly zone in which trees, and species which need them, can survive. It is a northern subarctic and humid biogeographic region in which the main plant life is coniferous larches, spruces, pines and firs, which are adapted to the cold climate. Some broadleaf trees also occur, notably birches, aspens, willows and rowans. Bogs and their associated plants are also common in this zone (see muskeg), which covers most of inland Canada and northern Russia. The taigas are one of the world's major sources of oxygen.

A considerable number of birds such as Siberian Thrush, White's Thrush and Dark-throated Thrush migrate to this habitat to take advantage of the long summer days and abundant insect food in that season.

Some seed-eating birds and large omnivorous birds that can take live prey or carrion will also maintain a presence in this zone in winter. They include Crossbill, Golden Eagle, Raven and Rough-legged Buzzard.

Relatively few mammals can cope with the harsh winters. Those that can include Moose, Lynx, Beaver, Snowshoe Hare, Lemming, Caribou and several members of the weasel family such as Wolverine and Pine Marten.

Soil of taiga is very acidic due to the vegetation. When needles that have fallen from conifers decompose, they secrete an acid that helps prevent plants other than conifers from growing there. This is known as allelopathy. This acidic soil also comes when evergreen trees are planted in other biomes, such as temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, slowing the rate at which the area returns to its natural state.

Precipitation is about 40-85cm/yr. in fog, snow and rain.

Compare with tundra.


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