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Taiga (Boreal) Biome

  • This biome is only located in Northern Hemispheres at latitudes between 60° and 50° North.
  • The forest stretches in a belt pattern across Northern hemisphere covering approximately 100 million acres of land.
  • Due to ability of plants found in this forest to survive in snowy or extremely cold temperatures, the location of the boreal forest can be seen to be between the temperate deciduous forests that are located on the South Side and the Tundra located on the North.
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  • The average temperature is estimated between -30°F and -65°F.
  • During summers the temperatures change drastically and can be moderately hot. The temperature may rise to an average of 20°F to 70°F.
  • Summers can be summarized as short, cool and moist.
  • Most of the rainwater and melted snow finds its way into wetlands where they are trapped and stored.
  • Permafrost may occur in some areas where ground becomes permanently frozen preventing plant growth.
  • Microclimates are common in boreal forests. Some areas within the forest may be wet, dry, warm, cold, windy, or shaded than other areas.

Natural Vegetation:

  • Coniferous trees:
    • Boreal forest is mainly made up of coniferous trees evergreens such as the spruces, pines, and larches.
    • These trees maintain the green colour to ensure that they utilize the minimum sunlight available and to start the process of photosynthesis early.
    • Conifers have characteristic needle-like leaves that are waxy that ensure that they lose a minimal amount of water during summer & spring periods.
    • After every 2 to 3 years most of the conifers usually lose their needle-like leaves, however.
  • Deciduous Trees:
    • During autumn, deciduous trees lose their leaves to conserve energy during harsh winter periods.
    • Deciduous trees with broad leaves are birch, poplar and aspen and those that are classified as shrubs are blueberries, willow, and alder.
  • Fungi
    • Fungi such as mushrooms are found in large quantity in the boreal forest.
    • Fungi are saprophytes and get enough nutrients from many dead branches and trees found within forest.
    • Mycorrhizal fungi live in a symbiotic relationship with conifers whereby they help them absorb water & mineral salts while they gain nutrients from trees.
  • Lichens
    • Algae and fungus in a symbiotic interaction form lichen.
    • They form an expansive undergrowth in the forest and can also be found on rocks and tree branches.
  • Moss
    • They are part of undergrowth in the boreal forest.
    • They grow well in acidic soils such as the one that is found within the forest because of the fallen coniferous needles that lower the pH of the soil.
    • Moss plants such as the sphagnum absorb a lot of water from the forest ground forming a marshy ground underneath the trees.
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