Boreal Forests

By Lucienne Smith

Definition

- Boreal forests are located in the northern hemisphere, and comprise coniferous trees which have needles rather than leaves.

Global Distribution

Boreal forests are mostly found in the northern hemisphere, across Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, and Canada. It is located between the Arctic Tundra, and the north of Europe, Asia and North America.

When you look at the globe from the top, with the centre of the circle being the North Pole, boreal forests almost form a ring around it the pole (with some breaks in it).

Climate of Boreal Forest

The climate of the boreal forest is quite cold; cold enough to limit the number of plant and animals species. The longest season is Winter, with the shortest being Summer, only lasting for 1-3 months. Temperatures range from around - 15 degrees celsius in Winter, to around 20 degrees celsius in Summer.

Plant Characteristics

The boreal forest has a low number of plant species when compared to other forests. This is because plants that survive in boreal forest need to handle great climate variations (rainfall, temperatures, frozen areas, and poor soils). The plants it does have, however, are coniferous, evergreen trees, that have needles instead of leaves. eg. pine tree (picture below).
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Animals

Animals in the Boreal Forest differ depending on where in the world the forest is, but like plants, they must be a able to handle a range of climates. In Canada, you may find grizzly bears, bobcats, elks, porcupines, etc. Where as in Scandinavia you might find some of the same, but some different species as well, such as the reindeer (picture below).
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Resources for people

Paper is a very significant resource for people that the forest provides, as pine trees are quite often used for the making of paper. Boreal forest also provides herbs and berries, and purifies air and water. But it also provides some bigger things, such as preserving biological and genetic diversity, and buffering against climate change.

Threats

Industrial activities, such as logging, mining, oil and gas development continue to eat away at the forest. They take effect by contaminating areas with toxic chemicals, letting humans into remote areas, changing water and nutrient cycles, and damaging wildlife habitats. Boreal forests are also exposed to forest fires and global warming, both of which are also taking effect.

Interesting Facts

-Canada contains 30% of the worlds boreal forests.

-More than 2.5 million people—1 in 13 Canadians—live in Canada’s boreal zone.

-Also know as the Taiga in Russia.

-The boreal forest represents 29% of the world's forest cover.

-Out of the 300 bird species that live in Canada's boreal forest during the Summer, only 30 stay during Winter.

Bibliography-


"Boreal Forest." CPAWS. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

"BOREALFOREST.ORG - Educational Resources." BOREALFOREST.ORG - Educational Resources. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

"Boreal Forest." Natural Resources Canada. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

(Oxford Big Ideas History 9 - couldn't cite because I didn't have the actual book)