The Taiga Biome

By: Ryan Mobley

Climate and Location of the Taiga

Taigas, also known as boreal forests, are vast needleleaf forests with warm summers and freezing winters. The taiga is the largest biome in the world, and it is found in Eurasia and North America. This biome is located geographically south of the tundra biome. The taiga has long winters that last 6 months of the year, in which temperatures range from -54° C to -1° C. Summers are warmer, where temperatures go as low as -7° C up to 21° C. The average yearly precipitation is 15-20 inches.
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There are only a few different species of plants in the taiga, as not many can survive the cold. Some mosses and lichens exist here, but the majority of plants in the taiga are coniferous trees, of which there are four types: the evergreen spruce, fir, pine, and deciduous larch. These trees are able to survive so well because the wax on their needles protects them from the cold, and the dark colors absorb heat from the sun. During primary and secondary succession of a taiga, the plant life starts with broadleef deciduous trees and shrubs.
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The most common predators in the taiga are the lynx and members of the weasel family. They eat herbivores, such as the snowshoe hare, red squirrel, lemmings, and voles. Elk and moose feed on plants that are more nutritious. The insect-eating birds stay in the taiga during their breeding season, but migrate during the other time. Seed eaters and omnivorous birds can spend their lives in the taiga without migrating.

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Ecological Concerns

The taiga biome is threatened by acid rain, logging, and pollution. These all take away habitats from animals and kill trees and animals, causing many species to be endangered (such as the beaver and wood bison). This biome is important to us because some people live in the taiga, and the trees turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.


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Woodward, Susan L. "Boreal Forest (Taiga)." Biomes of the World. Radford University, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. <>.