Benjamin F. Image by: DRU! The Boreal Forest Location The Boreal Forest spans nearly 12000 miles covering over 11% of the Earths surface. These statistics make it the largest biome in the world. The Taiga expands over the entire northern part of North America and Canada and up into small potions of Alaska. It also spans the northern most part of Asia and parts of Europe. The location of this biome makes the weather fluctuate very dramatically. The winters are brutally cold, but the springs and summers are warm, humid, and moist. (Taiga Climate) Map of the Taiga The Climate of the Boreal Forest The climate of the Boreal Forest is mostly cold and there are fewer than four months out of the year that the temperature is above 10⁰C (50⁰F). The winters in the Taiga last for six to seven months. The temperature range for this biome is -54 to 21⁰C (65 to 70⁰F). The average annual rainfall is 12-33 inches per year. Most of this precipitation falls in the spring as summer rain. (Taiga Climate) Abiotic Factors in the Taiga Some obvious abiotic factors in the Taiga would be precipitation and sunlight. Because of the fact that the Taiga is located just south of the Tundra biome, it has very little sunlight. It is also located just above some of the warmer climates which means that in the summer it gets a lot of rainfall. The other common abiotic factor in almost every biome is temperature. The temperature in any environment is a very important factor because it will determine whether or not an egg will hatch, a tree will grow, or even is a deer will find it’s next meal. (Abiotic Factors) Native Plants The Balsam Fir is one of the most common trees to be found in the Taiga. It is a conifer and has pinecones like most other conifers. It can grow to be 40 – 80 feet tall. These trees can live to 200+ years old. The needles of these trees are 11 and a half inches long. The seeds of the tree are “winged” and are mostly dispersed by the wind. This tree has the worst defense against fire of all of the conifers. The seeds are destroyed by the fire and they first appear 20 – 50 years after a fire. (Taiga Biomes) Balsam Fir Image by: dvs More Native Plants The Black Spruce tree is another very common tree to the Taiga biome. This tree can grow 25 meters tall and the tip of the tree ends in a spike of needles shooting up. The needles of the tree are short, only about a half inch long and sharp. Many animals do not feed on this tree. The Black Spruce has been able to adapt to the cold by developing folded twigs and waxed needles. It also has a rough bark that traps the heat and the moisture in when there is no rain. (Taiga Biomes) The Black Spruce Photos by: Arthur Chapman Native Animals The wolverine is a animal that has perfected the art of keeping itself warm under any conditions. It has a coat of thick fur that is water-proof and protects it from the snow and bitter winds. It also has jaws that can bite through frozen bone and meat. It weighs about 45 pounds as an adult and this makes it the biggest weasel in its family. The sad thing about the wolverine is that it is considered a rare and vulnerable species. If one were to go looking for one they may never see one. (Taiga Biomes) Wolverine Photo by: Scott_Calleja More Animals from the Taiga The Long-Eared Owl is a native species to the boreal forest and has a length of 35 centimeters. They have adapted to hear better by increasing the size. They also have their ears higher up on their head. This make their sense of hearing 50% better than other owls. They have a wingspan of 37 – 40 inches. They are listed as a species of special concern in the fish and wildlife conservation commission. This is probably because we humans keep building roads and houses. (Taiga Biomes) Long-Eared Owl Image by: Tasshu Rikimara Competition in the Taiga An example of competition would be like a squirrel eating a family of ants. Another example would be the same squirrel being eaten by a red fox. Competition is a very prominent part of everyday life for the animals in the Boreal Forest. Every day they have to dodge danger left and right even just to go out and get food for the day. An example of cooperation would be like a woodpecker burrowing into a tree and then a LongEared Owl using that burrow as a home. Threats to the Boreal Forest There are several threats to the Boreal Forest but by far the most urgent of the industrial threat. There are so many factories in the U.S.A alone that we can account for much of the pollution of the Earths atmosphere. This act has fragmented the Ontario forest and made small patches of forest separated from each other. The other common threat to any biome is the housing threat. So many more people are being born into the world that people need more place to stay. They choose more distant places to live and they cut down the forests to build town homes or apartment complexes. This, in turn, cuts into the forest and makes it harder and harder for the animals that live there to find suitable habitat to make families and find food. (Threats to Ontario’s Boreal Forest) Endangered Species One of the most endangered species in the Boreal Forest is not an animal at all. It is a flower called the lady’s slipper. It is a flower from the orchid family. This flower is endangered when the trees are cut down. They get too much sunlight and they cannot survive. Another endangered species is called Methuselah’s Beard. This is a lichen and is also endangered when the trees are cut down because lichen live primarily on trees and they form a mutualistic relationship with the tree. (Threats to Ontario’s Boreal Forest) Lady’s slipper Lady’s Slipper image by: anyjazz65 Invasive Species Knapweed is one of the worst invasive species. Just by its name it sounds like a destructive plant. It will grow and grow until it has covered every inch of the forest floor. This blocks out the growing space and makes it very hard for anything else to grow in the forest. Another invasive species is Cheatgrass. Cheatgrass is an invasive species that can draw moisture and nutrients from very deprived soil. This makes the Cheatgrass a very difficult competitor. (Threats to Ontario’s Boreal Forest) Knapweed Knapweed Image by: echoforsburg Facts The Boreal Forest is the largest land based biome Known as Boreal from Canada, but it is also known as Taiga from Russia 29% of the worlds forest cover comes from the Boreal Forest. 300 species of birds call the forest home during the spring and summer months, but there are only 30 species that stay through the entire year. The Taiga stores an enormous warehouse of carbon. It mostly comes from the peat land. The Taiga is the most susceptible to wildfires in the world (30 interesting facts) Importance of Biome The importance of this biome is that it provides a refuge for birds and other animals during the spring and during the winter it “dies” and the next spring it is reborn to become something new. If this biome did not exist then the temperature would net be as cool as it was today. It would be significantly more hot. There would not be as many animals in the environment as there were today because there are at least 30 species of birds alone that live in the Boreal Forest year round. (30 interesting facts about the taiga) Video This is the video. Works Cited Websites "Taiga Climate." Taiga Climate. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. "What Are Some Abiotic Factors in the Boreal Forest?" Bright Hub. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. "Taiga Biomes." Taiga Biomes. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. "Threats to Ontario's Boreal Forest." Threats to the Boreal Forest. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. "30 Fascinating Facts about the Boreal Forest." TreeHugger. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Oct. 2012. Assignearth. "Boreal Forest." YouTube. YouTube, 09 July 2007. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXP_OA_4TnY>. Images Ben DRU! (Flickr) Arthur Chapman (Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/arthur_chapman/3899156564/ Scott_Calleja (Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottcalleja/7236343378/ Tasshu Rikimara (Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/tasshu113/4956888274/ Dvs (Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/dvs/3793698392/ Echoforsburg (Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/echoforsberg/2815332253/ Anyjazz65 (Flickr) http://www.flickr.com/photos/49024304@N00/47739758/ Flickr. Yahoo!, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2012.