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What is taiga: definition and characteristics

There are a great variety of biomes on Earth and some are not well known, such as the taigas. The taiga biome is characterized mainly by coniferous forest formations and also by being a cold area of ​​the planet. If you want to learn everything about one of the most surprising terrestrial biomes on planet Earth, in this article you will find the most relevant characteristics, such as its structure, climate, fauna, flora and its location, among more curious details. Next, in AgroCorrn we explain what taiga is, its definition and characteristics .

You may also be interested in: What is an ecosystem: definition for children

What is a taiga – simple definition

In order to know well what the taiga biome is, we are going to explain it in a simple way. The taiga is a type of biome that occupies a large area in the north of the planet, as we can see on the map, it occupies a large part of Russia, European Nordic countries, Canada and Alaska. For example, in Russia this geographic area borders the tundra in the north and the steppe in the south.

This Nordic biome is made up of coniferous forests , which are the main vegetation, there are animals that withstand low temperatures well and, in fact, it has a frozen subsoil. Some people use the terms “boreal forest” as synonyms, although it is not always exact, since they are the forests closest to the boreal area or the North Pole , and “coniferous forest”.

What are the characteristics of the taiga

Next, we explain what the main characteristics of the taiga biome are, talking about the climate, temperature, humidity, the landscape that is formed, the vegetation or flora and the animals or fauna.

  • Climate and temperature of the taiga: its average temperature is 10 ° C in summer, and -30 ° C in winter, but it can reach up to 19 ° C in summer and up to -60 ° C in winter. It does not usually rain much, although there is a high concentration of humidity and as temperatures drop there is snow and ice. This makes the decomposition of organic matter very slow.
  • Taiga landscape: taiga forests are considered the largest forest mass on the planet, as the coniferous forest formations are extensive and dense. Due to this density of trees and the low temperatures it is a very calm landscape that seems almost uninhabited, although as we will see later there are some animals.
  • Vegetation or flora: there is not much variety in the vegetation in this area of ​​the planet. The forests of the taigas are coniferous forests, such as fir and pine trees, and they are evergreen trees and remain green all year round by not shedding all the leaves. They are trees that resist low temperatures very well. Thus, it is vegetation that has adapted very well to such a cold climate. As an example we can see the leaves of conifers, like the leaves of fir trees, which are sharp like needles and are covered with a type of wax that secretes the leaf itself and this serves to isolate the tree, protecting it from freezing. Other vegetation in the taiga are lichens, mosses, and a few species of flowering plants.
  • Animals or fauna of the taiga: as the conditions of the taiga are extreme most of the year, the fauna that exists is scarce and many of the animal species of this area of ​​the world when the coldest time arrives migrate to warmer areas, especially birds, or they are hibernating animals , such as bears. Those that remain, whether they hibernate or not, are animals with dense fur and a thick layer of fat under the skin. Among the animals of the taiga are the wolf, the elk, the lynx, the fox, the brown bear, the wild cat, the weasels, the rabbit, the squirrel, the deer, the owl and the hawk, which are undoubtedly the more representative, but there are also a great variety of insects and worms, mainly in summer.

Curiosities of the taiga

Now that we have discussed everything about what taiga is, its definition and characteristics, we are going to detail some interesting curiosities about the taiga biome :

  • In the northernmost areas, winters are much harsher, reaching temperatures well below zero, specifically down to -60 ºC. In fact, for about 6 months a year the temperatures of the taiga are below 0 ºC.
  • Large amounts of conifers are cut down to make paper. In fact, this biome is in danger because its forests are cut down almost all year round and there is also a lot of mining.
  • The previous point is especially delicate because these forests regenerate very slowly, the reason is that the trees and the rest of the vegetation of the taiga have a very short period of growth, only three months during the summer.
  • The temperature change in the taiga is extreme. Spring and autumn are too short, so the temperature is somewhat hot in summer or, in winter, it can be extremely cold.
  • As we have mentioned before, there are very few human populations that inhabit this region of the planet. However, as a curious fact, two major major cities are located in the taiga biome: Moscow and Toronto.
  • Forest fires are very frequent in the taigas. But, natural fires are necessary because they help to eliminate diseased trees.
  • As we have seen, there are not many animals that live permanently in taigas, but there is an abundance of species of insects and migrating birds.

Difference between tundra and taiga

As we have already talked about taigas extensively, to know well the difference between tundra and taiga , since they are two very close biomes and are in fact neighbors, we will explain what tundra is.

The tundra has a subglacial climate and is located mainly above the taiga in the Arctic area, that is, it is the continuation of the taiga biome towards the North Pole, and it is also found in the Antarctic area that covers the edge of this continent. , touching the Antarctic Ocean, heading towards the South Pole. The average temperature of these tundra areas is 10ºC, but in the long winters the average temperature is -28ºC.

Mainly there is vegetation of the type of mosses, lichens, low bushes and low grasses. Animals with denser fur and a thicker layer of fat inhabit the tundra, such as seals and sea lions , caribou or reindeer, the arctic hare, the white bear, among others.

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