Biome (Taiga)

Graduation Requirements
Science Biological Earth and Space
Equipment/Materials Needed
No special equipment or materials are required
elk
Description
The taiga biome is the largest terrestrial biome and extends across Europe, North America, and Asia.

Badge Completion Requirements

Introduction Taiga Biome

The taiga biome is the largest terrestrial biome and extends across Europe, North America, and Asia. It is located right below the tundra biome. The taiga biome is also known as coniferous forest or boreal forest. A coniferous tree is a tree that leaves are modified to needles and the needles stay on the tree all year long. 

trees

This biome typically has short, wet summers and long, cold winters. Precipitation is moderate in the taiga. It gets plenty of snow during the winter and plenty of rainfall during the summer.

 

Below is a map of the Taiga Biome area:

globe

In the taiga biome, the average temperature is below freezing for six months of the year. Total yearly precipitation in the taiga is 12 - 33 inches (30 - 85 centimeters). Although the cold winters have some snowfall, most of the precipitation comes during the warm, humid summer months.

 

Please review the following:

Prompts

Explain the origin of the word Taiga 

Discuss the potential threats to the Taiga Biome

Explain why the Taiga Biome doesn't exist in the southern hemisphere

Explain "clear cutting"

Explain the role that insects play in the Taiga

Discuss the biomes that would border the Taiga

Why is the soil of the Taiga very poor in nutrients?

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of Taiga Biome. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation

Plants of the Taiga

Taiga, also called a boreal forest, the biome of vegetation composed primarily of cone-bearing needle-leaved or scale-leaved evergreen tree.

The cone-bearing, needle-leaved, evergreen trees are called coniferous trees. Coniferous Trees are Pines and Firs. Pine trees include over 100 species. Spruce and Larches. Spruce trees, hardy in USDA zones 2 through 8, have stiff, sharp, 1-inch needles that grow from tiny wooden pegs. Redwoods and Sequoias.

The USDA Hardiness Map provides regional climate norms with an average temperature.

map

According to the Hardiness Map, Spruce trees could grow from Canada to the southern States of the US. However, Larches varieties tend to dominate the warm climates of the south.

The Taiga can only support trees that thrive in poor soils. Taiga soil tends to be young and poor in nutrients. Since the leave of the trees don't shed and fall the soil of the Taiga lacks the deep, organically enriched profile present in temperate deciduous forests (trees that shed their leaves before winter). The thinness of the soil is due largely to the cold, which hinders the development of soil.

pine

Conifers also tend to have shallow roots. In other words, they lack long, sturdy tap roots. Taproots dig deep into the soil breaking up rocks and other material in search of minerals. This boring action of the taproot improves the soil. Without a taproot, conifers are subject to being knocked down by the wind. 

Conifers tend to have a pyramid shape. This shape reduces wind resistance and helps keep the tree standing upright. What’s more, the trees are mostly needle-leaved or scale-leaved, instead of having broad, flat leaves. The shape of the leaves is also an advantage in climates that sometimes feature abrasive, blowing ice crystals.

The tree’s shape also lets it get more light because the top branches don’t shade the bottom ones. The major branches of conifers are layered, with an open area between the layers. This helps wind pass through, and it helps the tree get enough light, especially when sunlight comes in at a low angle, as it does during the winter months. 

The modified leaves of the conifers, the needle shape reduce surface area reducing the amount of water lost due to evaporation. During the winter months, the water is frozen as snow or ice, making the water unavailable to the tree.

Prompts

Discuss the effects of  deforestation in the Taiga

Explain why select plants tend to grow in the Taiga

Is Yellowstone National Park part of the Taiga Biome?

Discuss the changes in vegetations that you would observe moving from the Taiga to the Arctic Biome

Please develop and submit a presentation demonstrating your understanding of Taiga Biome. Please include the above "prompts" in your presentation 

Animals of the Taiga Biome

Animals that are native to the Taiga have to be prepared for long, cold winters and short insect infested summers. Basically, animals deal with a harsh climate in one of three ways: endure the weather, hibernate during the worst part of the cold, or migrate to the warm regions and return along with the warmer weather. 

 There are many animals that make the taiga home.

 Many birds breed in the taiga in the spring and summer and migrate during the cold months. 

As the snow melts in the spring, insects lay their eggs in the water. The explosion of insects attracts a wide variety of species of birds to the forest like the grouse and pileated woodpeckers. 

Mammals like pine marten, moose, bobcats, and lynx call Taiga home. These mammals all have thick coats that protect them from the cold.

There are even a limited number of amphibians and reptiles that survive in the unfavorable conditions of the Taiga.

An in-depth survey of the animals of the Taiga can be found in the  Zoology-Vertebrates section of the Bulbapp.