Artic Tundra

The Coldest of all the Biomes

Vitals of the Biome

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Location of the Arctic Tundra is in the North, around the North Pole. The arctic has cold, desert-like conditions. The growing season ranges from 50 to 60 days. The average winter temperature is -34° C (-30° F), but the average summer temperature is 3-12° C (37-54° F) which enables this biome to sustain life. Yearly precipitation, including melting snow, is 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 inches).

Plant Life

Only plants with shallow root systems grow in the Arctic tundra because the permafrost prevents plants from sending their roots down past the active layer of soil. The growing season is 50-60 days. Although the conditions are rough, there are around 1,200 different kinds of plants. There aren't any trees in the Arctic Tundra. The plants that survive are very adaptable. They are also very enduring. They all need to be very good at storing energy and water. Growing close together and low to the ground are some are the adaptions that plants use to survive. Plants also have adapted by developing the ability to grow under the layer of snow. Another thing is the flowering plants flower extremely fast. A small leaf structure is another physical adaptation that helps plants survive. Plants lose water through their leaf surface. By producing small leaves the plant is more able to retain the moisture it has stored.


Most animals use the Tundra as a summer home. A very cold summer home. The animals that live there hibernate for most of the year. The ones that don't hibernate migrate. Those are two of many adaptions animals make. Some animals grow multiple layers of fur. Most just have really thick water resistant coats. Animals have learned to break the ice, to drink the water underneath. Some animals eat the snow, but that is few a far between.

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The red fox is competing with the arctic fox for food and territory. Caribou and Musk Oxen fight over food. The wolves eat the caribou. The caribou eats the plants. The polar bears eat the foxes. The foxes eat small games.

Fun Fact

Tundra means "treeless" in Finnish.

Ecological Concerns

The tundra is threatened greatly by global warming. The animals are also being affected. Polar bears and arctic fox have been endangered for some time now. If we lose the tundra, the melted snow and permafrost will flood coastal places. Plants and animals will go extinct, and migration patterns will be forced to change.