Taiga is located on a nearly continuous belt of coniferous trees across North America and Eurasia. It overlies formerly glaciated areas of patchy permafrost on both continents. taiga is located between 50 degrees latitude North and the Arctic Circle.
The average temperature of taiga is below freezing for six months out of the year. The winter temperature ranges from -54 degrees celsius to -1 degree celsius. Winters in the taiga tend to be very cold with lots of snow. Summers are mostly warm, rainy, and humid. They are very short, ranging about 50-100 frost-free days. The total precipitation in a year is anywhere from 30-85cm. Taiga's precipitation comes in the form of rain, snow, and dew. Most precipitation during the summer falls as rain. Spring and Autumn are both extremely short. In the taiga, it is either very hot and humid or very cold.
There are not many species of plants because of the harsh conditions of the taiga. Not many can survive the extreme cold of this biome's winter. In general, the types of plants that can live there are mostly coniferous trees, also known as evergreens. Some examples of these trees are pine, white spruce, tamarack, hemlock, and douglas fir. These evergreen trees have long, thin, waxy needles. The wax gives the needles some protection from the freezing temperatures and from drying out. Another adaption these trees made according to their climate was that they keep their needles all year long. The reason for this is so that they can start photosynthesis as soon as weather gets warm. The dark green color of the pine needles also help with photosynthesis in that they help to absorb sunlight in order to gain energy for this process. Evergreen trees grow close together to protect themselves from the cold and the wind. They are usually shaped like upside-down cones. This is so branches don't break off under the weight of the snow. Also, the branches are slanted so that the snow slides right off. The trees of the taiga adapted to this biomes susceptibility to forest fires by growing thick bark. This way, the fire burns away the upper canopy of trees and allows sunlight to reach the ground so that new plants can grow.
Animals in the taiga tend to be predators like lynx and members of the weasel family like wolverines, bobcats, minks, and ermine. These predators hunt herbivores such as snowshoe rabbits and red squirrel. Red deer, elk, and moose can be found in regions of the taiga where more deciduous trees grow. Many insect eating birds come to the taiga to breed, and then leave when the breeding season is over. Seed eaters like finches and sparrows and omnivorous birds like crows stay all year round.
- eyes provide good night vision
- pads of feet covered in fur for stealth on snow
- quick and sly and can strike animals at any moment
- mainly hunts horse shoe hares
- also eats meadow voles, small deer, caribou, and sheep
American Black Eagles
- short claws designed for tree climbing
- coat has many layers of shaggy fur for warmth in the cold temperatures of taiga
- excellent vision helps hunt
- can build nests on trees, cliffs, or ground
- can change shape of nest to fit different trees
- don't need to eat every day and will change diet based on where its living
- camouflages to become less visible to prey
- claws designed for climbing to catch prey
- walks in way that makes them silent on terrain such as leaves or twigs
- ears swivel back and forth to enhance hearing for catching prey
- little tufts of fur at tops of ears enhance hearing
- camouflages to hide from predators
- large rear feet and toes that can spread out like snow shoes
- fur at bottom of feet to protect from cold and give traction in snow
- can make quick direction changes to get away from predators when being chased
- good swimmers and can jump in water and swim away to get away from predators
- Red foxes and wolves compete for prey.
- Both bobcats' and lynxes' main food source are snowshoe rabbits.
- bobcats hunt snowshoe rabbits
- lynxes hint medow voles
- grey wolves hunt moose
- long-eared owls feed on voles
Fun fact: The Siberian Salamander is the most cold-adapted amphibian of the taiga.
- heavily hunting black bear and moose
- cutting down of coniferous trees prevents animals from being able to find enough food to survive there
- logging efforts
- insects living in regions can cause plagues to trees and leave leaves brittle, prevent them from growing, and deplete them on nutrients necessary for survival.
- wood bison
- snow leopards
- canadian lynx
Global Importance of Biome
- filters millions of liters of water
- stores large amounts of carbon
- produces oxygen
- rebuilds soil and restores nutrients
- bogs and marshes provide habitats for large numbers of species