Taiga Biome - Animal Facts and Information
While the cold, harsh climate of the taiga means that there is less and wolves -- and in Russia, the Siberian tiger -- prey on the taiga's deer. The taiga, or boreal forest, stretches across Canada, Russia and other The taiga's heavy tree cover helps bobcats sneak up on their prey and also In addition, bobcats are among the few taiga predators who can kill and eat porcupines. (Taiga is Russian for "marshy pine forest. The taiga is the largest biome on Earth. They prey on herbivores like snowshoe or varying hares, red squirrels, lemmings, and voles. The gray wolf is a top predator in the taiga of North America.
These forests are found in regions of Yukon and Alaska that occur on the leeward side of mountains which are sheltered from moisture-bearing winds, as well as in some portions of the interior of the Far East region of Russia.
Annual precipitation in low elevations of these regions is 30 cm or less. The highest annual precipitation total in the taiga, which can exceed cm, is in eastern North America and northern Europe. During ancient eras of colder climate, these regions also received relatively abundant precipitation, which resulted in the buildup of glacial ice sheets.
Today these once heavily glaciated regions support extensive lakesstreams, and wetlands. Extended periods of clear, dry weather in the boreal region are caused by persistent strong polar high pressure systems. Intense heating at the ground surface often produces convective storms with lightning but little raincausing forest fires. Soils Taiga conifer litter is highly acidic. Soils of the more humid and southern taiga are highly leached spodosolswhich are characterized by the leaching of iron, aluminum, and organic matter from the chemically and biologically distinct surface layer—horizon A—to the next layer—horizon B.
Much of the soil of central and eastern Canada—granitic Canadian Shield—has been repeatedly scraped clean by glacial advances. Thus, productive forests often are restricted to portions of the landscape where soil material has been deposited by glaciers. Peaty wetlands occur where surface drainage is impeded by permafrost, youthful glacial topography, or aggraded rivers; their soils are characteristically organic soils, or histosols.
Soils in much of boreal western North America and Asia are inceptisolswhich have little horizon development. Very thin surface salt deposits are found in the most arid portions of the taiga. Cold soils are characteristic of taiga regions, which overlaps the zone of permafrost.
The surface, or active, layer of permafrost thaws in the warm season and freezes in the winter, but the soil below the active layer remains continuously frozen.
Because the plant rooting zone is restricted to the active layer, nutrient supply is limited and secure anchoring for roots is lacking.
Some trees and other plants of the taiga especially black spruce [Picea mariana] and tamarack [Larix laricina] in North America and larches in Siberia can grow on permafrost if the active layer is sufficiently deep, but several species are eliminated from permafrost.
The taiga itself is an important contributing factor to the development of permafrost. The latter stages of forest growth—characterized by development of an intact forest canopy, growth of an insulating moss cover in summer, and accumulation of forest litter—may cool the soil to such an extent that permafrost develops. Warming of the soil is promoted by forest fires, which remove the canopy, moss, and forest litter layers.
In the absence of an intact canopy, a deeper and more effective insulating layer of snow accumulates in the winter. The presence of dark ash following a fire increases solar energy absorption on the site for several years. The taiga of Europe generally lacks permafrost, but east of the Ural Mountains and from central Canada northward permafrost is common.
In southern and central parts of the taiga, permafrost occurs sporadically and occupies only a small percentage of the landscape that experiences the coldest temperatures. The northern portion of closed-canopy forest and the lichen woodland zone are in a region of discontinuous permafrost, where permafrost is found on north-facing slopes and in cold air drainage basins but is absent from south-facing slopes and newly deposited alluvial sites.
Most of the forest-tundra is within the continuous permafrost zone. Forest productivity in the middle and northern taiga zones is directly related to soil temperature. Warmer soils decompose organic matter more quickly, releasing nutrients for new plant growth and creating a more productive site.
Plants & Animals in the Taiga Biome | Sciencing
Productive forest types occupy warmer, south-facing slopes and river terraces, and less productive dwarf or sparse forest occupies the north-facing and basin permafrost sites. Floodplains throughout the taiga biome are free of permafrost, high in soil fertility, and repeatedly disturbed in ways that renew the early, rapid growth stages of forest succession.
Floodplains are a mosaic of productive shrubland and forest that serve as a major habitat for moose Alces alceswhich influence ecosystem structure and function. South-central Alaska and adjacent Yukon and British Columbia support the most extensive ice sheets and glaciers in the world outside the polar desert regions of Antarctica and Greenland.
Glacial meltwater is a large part of the flow of larger rivers such as the Yukon and Tanana in Alaska and the Yukon territory.
Predator/ Prey Relationships in the Taiga by amanda williams on Prezi
Glacial meltwater carries a heavy load of suspended sediment that deposits in riverbeds and causes frequent channel shifts. Glacial river floodplains are extensive, very dynamicand constantly renewed with fertile soil material. In the ancient past exposed deposits of glacial silt were picked up by strong winds and deposited on surrounding hillsides. Fertile soils, known as loessresulted, on which highly productive upland forests are found today.
Because the beds of glacially fed rivers are rising, the landscape through which they flow is partially drowned from the impeded drainage, often preventing forest growth and favouring the development of marshes and mires.
The biota and its adaptations Nearly all major taxonomic groups have fewer species of animals and plants in the taiga than they have in other terrestrial ecosystems at lower latitudes. This accords with the species diversity gradient that is observed from lower to higher latitudes, with numbers of species decreasing in a poleward direction. Trees Scotch pine is the most widely distributed pine species in the world, growing from northern Scotland to the Russian Pacific shore.
The relatively humid and productive taiga of northern Europe and south-central Siberia is dominated by this species. Forest management has greatly favoured this species in Scandinavia and Finland.
It is a thick-barked species and easily survives light ground fires, often reaching ages of to years and some individuals being older than years. European aspen and Siberian spruce are essentially transcontinental in distribution as well.
The species composition of Eurasian taiga is different east of central Siberia from that which prevails westward into Europe. Distinctive European species include Norway spruce Picea abiesa large dominant species of the productive humid parts of the taiga, and Sukaczev larch Larix sukaczewiian early successional species one of the first species to colonize an area after a disturbance of European Russia.
Gray Betula populifolia and white birch B. The birches often form dense stands of light- or white-barked trees that are considered a characteristic feature of the taiga. Siberian larch Larix sibirica and Siberian fir Abies sibirica are restricted to north-central Asia. Species restricted to northeastern Asia include chosenia Chosenia arbutifoliaan early successional broad-leaved tree of floodplains; Siberian stone pine Pinus sibiricaa short shrub or tree; and Asian spruce Picea obovata.
All North American tree species are distributed across the continent except jack pine Pinus banksianalodgepole pine Pinus contortaand balsam fir Abies balsamea. Jack pine is a relatively small, short-lived, early successional tree occurring in the eastern and central parts of taiga east of the Rocky Mountains.
Lodgepole pine is a longer-lived, early successional species growing in western Canada and along the Rocky Mountain axis from central Yukon southward to well south of the taiga limit.
Balsam fir is a shade-tolerant, late successional, but relatively short-lived tree that occurs only in the eastern and central parts of the North American taiga. Major taiga tree species are well adapted to extreme winter cold. The northernmost trees in North America are white spruce that grow along the Mackenzie River delta in Canada, near the shore of the Arctic Ocean. A representative profile of the vegetation is shown in the figure.
The tree layer consists mainly of conifers, and mosses are the predominant ground cover. Other plants A distinctive feature of the flora of taiga is the abundance and diversity of mosses.
About one-third of the ground cover under taiga is dominated by moss. Much of the ground cover in older conifer stands is moss, which grows on rocks, on tree trunks, and in the pits formed by upturned trees.
Extensive peaty wetlands in the boreal region are often thick accumulations of dead sphagnum and other mosses, sedges, and other plants; a living moss layer continually grows at the surface. Lichens a symbiotic association of a fungus and algae constitute a significant part of the ground cover in the lichen woodland or sparse taiga.
Lichens are also generally well distributed on tree trunks and especially in the canopy of older conifers throughout the taiga. Because lichens and mosses are dispersed by airborne spores that can travel long distances, many species of both groups are found across the entire circumpolar taiga. Many vascular plants are also widespread across the circumpolar north.
- A Bobcat's Habitat in the Taiga
Some forest understory species dominate their habitats; they include twinflower Linnaea borealislingonberry Vaccinium vitis-idaeabaneberry Actaea rubraand Swedish and Canadian dwarf cornel Cornus suecica and C.
Several taiga plants are adapted to rapid colonization and growth in recently burned areas, such as fireweed Epilobium angustifolium. The extensive peatlands of the boreal north support a typical flora that usually includes species such as Labrador tea Ledum palustrecloudberry Rubus chamaemoruscotton grass Eriophorum speciesand crowberry Empetrum nigrum or E. In northern Europe crowberry also grows as shrub mats under Scotch pine forests or woodlands.
Crowberry has been shown to produce secondary chemical compounds that inhibit or kill Scotch pine seedlings. Periodic light ground fires reduce the abundance and vigour of crowberry and allow tree regeneration. However, what you will find a huge abundance of are insects.
Birds often come to the taiga biome to feed on these insects.
They also will breed in this area before going back to their permanent location. It is believed that more than 32, species of insects live in this particular biome. There are more than species of birds found in the taiga biome. They nest in this area so that they can successfully feed on those insects.
Studies show that only about 30 species of these birds remain there in the winter months. The rest migrate to warmer climates.
There are several types of animals that seem to do well in the taiga biome. Most of them are predatory animals that feed on other animals that also live in that biome. These animals include the lynxbobcat, and wolverine. They are able to eat a variety of foods including elk, deer, mouse, rabbits, and squirrels. The American Black Bear is found in the taiga biome. It consumes a variety of different foods including twigs, leaves, and plants.
You will notice that many of the animals that live in the taiga biome are able to change their color based on the time of year.
That helps them to remain camouflaged from predators. They also have thicker coats in the winter, and they will shed them in the summer months.
Coniferous trees are very common in the taiga biome. This is why it is often referred to as the boreal forest. There are also lots of lichen and moss that grow in the taiga biome. They offer a great source of food for the insects that live in this environment. The coniferous trees have long thin needles and they are known as evergreens. They have wax on the needles and that helps to offer them protection from the harsh winds of the taiga biome.
Instead, they remain part of the tree all year long. You will also find that they are close together in this region. A few shrubs, such as the blueberry, and deciduous trees -- leafy trees that shed their leaves, such as oaks, birches and alders -- can be found in warmer and wetter parts of the taiga. Some plants are carnivorous; they eat insects in order to make up for the nutrients lacking in the soil.
However, mosses, fungi and lichens are more common than flowers and undergrowth in heavily forested areas. Mammals, with their thick fur, are the most common form of animal life in the taiga. Frequently taiga mammals have white fur, or a white winter coat, in order to blend in with the snowy environment.
Many smaller mammals, such as snowshoe hares, otters, ermines, squirrels and moles, can be found in the biome. In addition, a few larger herbivorous animals, such as moose, deer and bison, inhabit the region.