One can find the taiga biome all across the most northern part of the Northern Hemisphere. It stretches across Alaska, Canada, and Russia. To be more specific, the taiga biome is located between 50 degrees latitude north and the Arctic circle.
The taiga biome is the largest biome in the world. The taiga biome is mainly defined by the trees within it. The climax trees are furs, spruces and pines. Sub climax plant communities may have deciduous trees like larch, tamarack and birch. Although the taiga has plenty of trees, it has fewer animals than the tropical rain forest or temperate deciduous forest biome.
The taiga biome has very poor soil. The reason for its lack of nutrients is because the taiga biome endures such cold temperatures for a long period of time. Taiga soil is, in fact, very acidic. Patches of permafrost can also be found in the taiga biome.
The taiga has a very cold climate during the winter, but in the summer the sun shines and melts the ice. Temperatures can drop below -70 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, yet can rise to above 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. Winter in this biome can last up to 7 months, bringing frozen lakes and subzero temperatures. The summer is, at most, 100 days of sunshine and no snow. There is a lot of precipitation. It usually occurs during the winter in the form of snow.
Below is a climate graph of the taiga biome. The blue bars represents rainfall, whereas the line graph represents precipitation.
Below is a temperature graph of the taiga biome.
Plants and Animals
1) Black Spruce
The black spruce is a tall tree that can grow to be twenty-five meters tall. The taller the black spruce gets, the more spike-like it looks. A distinctive characteristic of the black spruce are its needles. Their needles have four spikes each, and range in color from blue to green. The black spruce produces pinecones, and has a grayish bark. Many animals in the taiga do not feed off of the black spruce which helps it to survive, as well as with the help of its layered bark.
2) White Fir
The white fir can grow up to 100 feet tall, and live as long as 300 years to boot. Its leaves are generally 3 inches long and flat. Similarly to the black spruce tree, the white fir tree produces cones. Unlike the black spruce tree, the white fir has very thin bark.
3) Jack Pine
The jack pine tree grows to be, at most, thirty meters tall. Its bark is of a reddish tone, but as the tree ages the grayer the bark looks. Like the previously mentioned trees, the jack pine produces cones, and like the black spruce, the jack pine has needles instead of leaves.
The wolverine, to many, looks a lot like a small bear, but it is part of the weasel family. The wolverine is a carnivore. It is known for its strength and hunting skill. Its prey is primarily rodents, fish, and birds. Wolverines are a rare and endangered species, due to human populations in their territory.
The black spruce tree has some adaptations that helps it survive in the harsh taiga. One is layered bark, which helps protect from the chill of precipitation and helps contain all the nutrients reach. The jack pine tree also has ways to survive. It has waxy pine needles and rough bark because the wax on the pine needles protects the needles and so does the rough bark. These characteristics also protect this tree from the weather in the taiga, which is usually cold. In the taiga, the brush starts forest fires and the waxy pine needles and rough bark protect the tree. The jack pine has long and slender twigs so the snow does not stick to the twig.
A tree not mentioned above is the evergreens. Because they do not drop their leaves when temperatures cool, they do not have to regrow them in the spring. Also, evergreen needles do not contain very much sap. This limits the risk of needle damage from freezing temperatures. n addition, the needles do contain a chemical that repels animals who would eat the needles. The dark green color of the needles absorbs the sunlight, and since the needles are always present, once temperature start to get warm, photosynthesis quickly begins. The shape of the evergreens allows the snow to slide off the branches rather than pile up.