Taiga Biome (Coniferous Forest Biome, Boreal Biome)
The taiga biome is the largest terrestrial biome on earth. The only biome larger than the taiga biome is the ocean biome. It spans across many continents including North America, Europe, and Asia. The reason for this is because these three continents used to be connected by the Bering Land Bridge.
The taiga biome is sometimes called the coniferous forest biome because of all the coniferous trees. Sometimes it is called the boreal forest biome because it is located in the norther part of the earth.
Climate and Weather in the Taiga Biome
The climate in the taiga biome changes quickly with the seasons. In the summer it gets very warm and in the winter it gets very, VERY cold! Temperatures in the winter can reach -60 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, it remains below freezing for about 6 months each year!
Plants in the Taiga Biome
The taiga biome is home to 29% of all the of earth’s forests. These forests contain many types of trees but mainly pine, spruce, and fir trees. Most of the trees are evergreens which mean that these trees keep their leaves year-round. Because these trees do not drop their leaves, the soil doesn’t receive many nutrients. So, few plants or vegetation grows on the ground.
Trees are the main ingredient for making paper. Because the taiga biome has a lot of trees, people commonly log this area. However, trees are a valuable resource that takes a long time to regrow. If humans cut down too many trees, the taiga biome will become bare. If it becomes to bare, many animals will have to find a new home which can be very hard to do.
Animals in the Taiga Biome
Many animals exist is this biome but have had to adapt to survive. For example, hares (wild rabbits), change their fur color from brown/gray in the summer to pure white in the winter. They do this so they can blend into the snow. Other animals that are common in this biome are moose, wolves, and otters. Also there are millions of birds and insects that live in this biome. During the long winter months, animals hibernate or migrate to warmer climates.
Other Fun Facts About This Biome
During the hot summer season, fires commonly occur in this biome. Fires were once thought of as bad natural disasters. But we have recently learned that fires are important for this biome to survive. Fires clear out old dead trees, providing nutrients to the soil and allowing new trees to grow.