East Siberian Taiga



The Siberian Taiga is a vast forest in the northern regions of Russia covering hundreds of thousands of square miles.  Most of the year, it is a very cold place, with low temperatures dropping to -80 F.  There is a short, but very hot summer with temperatures going up to 105 F, but the average temperature during the year is below freezing.  Due to the prevailing cold, the ground of the Taiga is covered with permafrost.  Permafrost is a layer of soil that it always at or below freezing.  It is not necessarily covered with sheets of ice, but water particles within the soil are not liquid, but small ice crystals.  This makes the soil as hard as rock, and prevents small plants like grasses and shrubs from forming roots in the topsoil.  There is a fair amount of precipitation, but it is usually in the form of snow, not rain.  These cold conditions create a unique vegetative habitat that is not found in warmer regions on the planet. 


Most of the forest consists of different species of Larch, which is a genus of coniferous (cone-bearing) trees.  Larch trees are not evergreens, but are deciduous, which means they loose their needle-shaped leaves during parts of the year.  These trees are very tall and thick, blocking a lot of sunlight from reaching the forest floor.  Aside from larches and other coniferous trees, there is little vegetation due to the permanently frozen soil. 


Many different animal species live in the Siberian Taiga.  These include a large variety of birds: robin, rosefinch, turtle dove, golden eagle, falcon, and crane.  Many types of deer and hoofed animals are well adapted to the cold and vegetation, such as musk deer, Roe deer, reindeer, moose, and elk.  Predators include the grey wolf, wolverine, and members of the feline family like the lynx and Phallas’s Cat.  Other animals include voles, beavers, chipmunks, the wood mouse, the hare, and other small furry mammals. 


For pictures, type “taiga” into images.google.com 



Organism options

Lynx, larch tree, falcon, reindeer, turtle dove