-Only the best of forests-
Covering 15% of the earth's land surface, the coniferous forests have relatively short, cool summers with freezing, brutal winters. There heavy snowfall usually lasts for about six months. The needles on the trees have thick waxy outer covering that are great for retaining water during times of little rain and freezing temperatures. The branches are soft and flexible pointing downward, making it easy for snow to slip off.
Where is it?
The vegetation type of coniferous forest can be found in parts of northern American and central Canada. It is all located north of the equator and relatively close to the north pole due to the necessity of cold temperature.
What is it Like?
There are many different things that make up this vegetation type such as the wide variety of animals and plant life.
Many different animals live within the coniferous forest such as the bald eagle. These birds make nests high up in the trees and create nests made of large sticks. Their nests can reach a width of six feet weighing up to a ton! The eastern milk snake is found in the warmer parts of the forests, marked with either an "X" or "Y" shape on its head, and gets its name from the belief that it would actually milk cows. Moose are also a common sight in the colder regions of the forest. They have hollow fur, good for insulation, with an average weight of 1,600 pounds. The great gray owl can be found across parts of Canada and northern Russia and has a nickname of the "The Phantom of the North". If catches its prey by diving through the snow and snatching the animal with its sharp talons.
Cypress, cedar, evergreen and redwood trees are commonly found in this type of forest. However, evergreen trees shed their needles which forms a thick springy mat, while thead-like fungi help to decompose the fallen needles. The nutrients produced from the needles are accepted by the fungi and absorbed back to the roots of the tree. Cypresses, cedars, and redwoods grow vertically, and can reach heights of up to twenty meters with small, hard leaves.
How do Humans Interact with this Environment?
Although there is the usual response of "Building towns and roads all over", in parts of central Canada people have actually marked off sections as reservations for the wild life. Parks of the redwoods and cedar trees contribute to Canada having tourism as a key role towards its economy. The variety of birds and other interesting mammals make these parks more unique, drawing in more tourists every year.
How do People Get to and fro?
Easy transportation to and from these forests are essential for logging, as the coniferous forest boasts an almost profound amount of trees that are eligible to be cut down. In order to transport these trees, many paths must be cleared in order to maintain easy access. Several railroads were also built, including the Trans-Siberian Railroad in Russia, improving abililty to get to and from the coniferous forests.
What is it a Part of?
A similar theme that unifies all coniferous forests is their high lattitude, due to the need for colder weather. Therefore, coniferous forests can be characterized as all being located in the northern hemisphere. More specifically, coniferous forests range from the United States and Canada, all the way to Europe and Asia at higher lattitudes. Climatically, coniferous forests are located in temprate zones, resulting in its climate.