Saturday, January 12, 2013

What is the meaning of Taiga? Concept, Definition of Taiga

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Taiga: Compendium of definitions and concepts

Definition of Taiga

The taiga (Russian тайга, taiga, and this probably the Yakut тайҕа, all covered with vast forests, uninhabited territory; thicket of the forest) or boreal forest, is a biome characterized by its wooded formations of conifers, being the largest forest mass on the planet. Boreal forest is used to designate the southern ecosystem, while taiga is used for the area closest to the line of Arctic vegetation in Canada. Taiga is used in other countries to refer to the Russian boreal forests and forest of conifers for other countries.
They are geographically situated north of European Russia and Siberia, Northern Europe, in the region of Hudson Bay, to the North of the Canada and the State of Alaska. It is limited to the South by the steppe and the North by tundra. The southern hemisphere has no taiga zones because the portion of Earth at latitudes in which this takes place is very small.
Its average temperature is 19 ° C in summer and - 30 ° C in winter. The average annual precipitation reaches 450 mm. The favorable period for the life of the plants is reduced to four months.
The dominant vegetation in the taiga is the coniferous forest. In the toughest climates forest is very uniform and can be formed exclusively by one kind of tree. Conifer needle-shaped leaves allow them to withstand the frosts well and lose little water. In addition, be Evergreen provides them that when the good weather arrives may begin immediately to make photosynthesis, without having to wait to form the sheet. In milder climates the forest is a mixed coniferous and deciduous (poplars, poplars, birches, willows, etc.)
The climate is extremely cold and wet. The average temperature is below 0 to 5 ° C. Winters are shorter and colder, but often more stringent than in the tundra and the ground is snowy. It doesn't rain much - between 400 and 700 millimetres per year - in some areas with minimum of 160 and other peaks of 1000 mm; water stays cold many months, so it is not available for plants.
Temperatures low or medium during most of the year, as well as the generally high humidity give rise to the formation of soils of type podzol, acidic soils that favor the formation of bogs.
Life is very hard for the animals in winter, so that birds typically migrate to warmer latitudes, while many of the other animals Hibernate. The most characteristic of the taiga animals are herbivores such as elk and reindeer/caribou, rodents as the Beaver, squirrel, Hare, and carnivores, bear, Wolf and Wolverine.
The taiga is dominated by coniferous to exceed 40 m, pyramidal Crown and Evergreen, highlighting the larches, firs, piceas and pine trees. Gmelin larch tolerates the coldest winters to the North. The taiga of the North is the forest with reduced biodiversity, with open canopy and its soils dominated by lichens. The southern taiga is a mixed forest which alternates conifers with deciduous as Maple, elm and oak trees, has closed canopy, the floor covered with mosses and in gaps we find, shrubs, flowers and herbs.


Concept of Taiga

Taiga is the type of forest characteristic of Siberia and the North of Russia, which borders the steppe (to the South) and tundra (to the North). This biome is made up of conifers and presents a frozen subsoil.
Taiga may be confused with the Russian boreal forests or coniferous forests. In Canada it speaks of boreal forest to name to the southern region of the ecosystem, leaving the notion of taiga to refer only to the closest to the Arctic vegetation.
The taiga is an ecosystem that is generally slightly altered by human action because the soils are not suitable for the development of agriculture and climate exhibits extreme conditions. Logging and the hunting of mammals cause the greatest impacts to this biome.
The average temperature of the taiga is situated between 0 ° C and 5 ° C. The obviously coldest winter tends to be short. Rainfall in the taiga is low: between 160 and 320 millimeters per year. It is usual that, by weather, water remains frozen for several months.
In terms of fauna, the predominant animals in the taiga are the Wolf, the Fox, brown bear, reindeer and moose, among others. Birds typically migrate to warmer latitudes during the winter. It should be noted that many animals in the taiga Hibernate for several months a year. The abundant fat reserves and the dense fur facilitate the life of mammals in these regions of very cold weather.


Meaning of Taiga

We understand by taiga to the biome or set of living beings more geographical space which is dominated by coniferous forests. The taiga is a biome that lacks a significant human presence since, due to climatic conditions, is a harsh environment in which human beings can not lead a comfortable lifestyle without modifying it.
The taiga is very common in regions with cold, even cold polar climate. Thus, we find this biome in areas of North America (Canada, Northern United States and Alaska), in Scandinavia (Norway and Finland), in the North of Russia and China as well as in some regions of Japan. However, we should note that the species of trees or shrubs types may vary from region to region.
The taiga is considered one of the biomes that occupy more space on the planet at the continental level since, in total, it adds almost 30% of the total territory of the five continents. It is a biome of cold climate where temperatures are extremely low and in which you can also find ice-covered spaces. Taiga temperatures not exceed annual average, the 5th, spending the winters between five and seven months. Due also to these temperatures, precipitation of the taiga are scarce since the same often become snow or remain in a State of mist on the ground. In the majority of cases, these climatic characteristics have contributed to the fact that taiga as a biome is not modified or transformed by human presence, unlike what has happened with friendlier biomes to the permanence of man.
In regards to the flora and fauna of the taiga, it is very specific. Trees tend to be very abundant and generate a thick layer of wooded, predominating species such as larch, FIR, pine, elm and oak among others throughout the territory. Vegetation and shrubs are also very abundant. The fauna of the taiga is frequently characterized by the presence of animals with many layers of hair and grease to protect themselves from the cold as happens with the bears, moose, reindeer, wolves, hares, squirrels and Beaver.


Concept of Taiga

The taiga. It is the forest that develops South of the tundra. She abound in conifers (spruce, FIR, larch and pine trees) which are trees that support living conditions - relatively cold and extreme-of these latitudes and altitudes, better than deciduous trees. The typical soil of the taiga is the podsol.
It occupies a strip of more than 1500 km wide along throughout the hemisphere North, across North America, Europe and Asia. There are also smaller plots of this type of forest in mountainous areas.
The ecosystem of the taiga is conditioned by two factors:
1 Low temperatures during most of the year. Temperatures below - 40 ° C in winter, and the vegetative period, in which the plants can grow, lasts only about three or four months;
2. The scarcity of water. It doesn't rain much - between 250 and 500 millimetres per year - and also the water stays cold many months, so it is not available for plants.
Geographical features
The climate of the taiga is subarctic and continental type and is characterized by long winters with very low temperatures (up to six months with average temperatures below 0 ° C) and by short, moderately warm summers, which already allow the development of the forest vegetation. The boundary between barren tundra and taiga forest coincides approximately with the 10 ° C summer isotherm. PRECIPITATIONS are not very abundant (between 250 and 700 mm per year), although low temperatures make little evaporation.
Much of its area the climate is very continental, with large temperature differences between summer and winter (in Siberia are achieved normally temperatures below 40 ° C in winter and above 15 ° C in summer). This continentality is softened in the western area of the continents (Scandinavia and Alaska), where the climate is not as rigorous. In most parts of the taiga, the duration of the vegetation growing season reaches 3 or 4 months per year.
The animals that live in the taiga have to be adapted to the harsh winter conditions. Adaptations of the fauna to this as rigorous climate include: migrations (many birds), Hibernate (some mammals such as bear), winter white fur (Fox, Wolf, Hare, owl,..), storage of seeds for the winter (certain birds, squirrels...), and development of winter coats with a great thermal insulation (marta, ermine, etc.),. (These skins have been very listed by the fur and already in the 18th century began the exploration of these regions by trappers for the exploitation of furs for commercial purposes, which decimated the wildlife).
The dominant vegetation in the taiga is the forest of conifers (spruce, FIR, larch and pine trees) that are covered with snow during most of the year. Conifer needle-shaped leaves allow them to withstand the frosts well and lose little water. In addition, be Evergreen provides them that when the good weather arrives may begin immediately to make photosynthesis, without having to wait to form the sheet. In the areas of climate more mild forest is mixed coniferous and deciduous (poplars, poplars, birches, willows, etc.) Conifers that form these boreal forests belong to a few genera such as the spruce (Picea), fir (Abies) and pine (Pinus) which predominate in northern North America, Europe and West Asia regions, while the larches (Larix) predominate in East Asia (central Siberia and Eastern). The larches are not evergreen, but they lose their leaves in winter (something very rare in conifers), being characteristic of the climate zones more continental taiga, where permafrost is more continuous, and the climate is too cold and dry to help survive the evergreen species.
Besides conifers in these forests also live in broadleaf deciduous trees such as poplars (Populus) and Birch (Betula), that often deal with burned areas, clearings of the forest and the banks of the rivers. Other trees and shrubs present in these forests, always with low diversity of species, are the willows, the Alders, los rosales, blackberries and plowing them us. Among the herbaceous plants are frequent perennials, annuals are very scarce. That if they become very abundant in this biome are mosses and lichens. Although we can find distinct plant communities in boreal forests, its appearance is very homogenous due to the dominance of a few species of conifers in large geographical areas. Despite the large expanse that occupies, its biodiversity is low compared with the biomes of tropical and temperate climates.
The areas currently occupied by the taiga were occupied by the ice of the last glacial period makes a few thousand years (18000 years of the last glacial maximum), so the geomorphology of the land occupied by this biome is typically glacial. Extensive areas of the northernmost taiga are occupied by Permafrost or soil layer permanently freeze in depth (in great measure legacy of the last ice age). This permafrost is continuous nor as deep as existing in the tundra. In the taiga the South-facing slopes and river flood plains are usually free of ice. As we headed towards the South this permafrost is becoming more discontinuous and sporadic.
The soil surface Yes Frost is great part of the year, but summer is defrosted until one depth greater than what was happening in the tundra, which allows the root systems of the plants to reach greater depth. In areas where there is a layer of permafrost that prevents drainage in depth are frequent very wet soils and swampy areas. Due also to the low evaporation and glacial geomorphology are frequent Lakes, peat bogs and swampy areas.
These coniferous forests are often associated with soil type podsol (or spodosoles), acidic and poor in nutrients. The processes of podsolizacion (washing of iron and aluminum together with soluble organic compounds from the topsoil horizons up to the deeper horizons) lead to the emergence of subsurface horizons (A2 horizon) very washed color clear (podsol or podsol means Ashen soil in Russian) and horizons of accumulation in depth (Bh and Bs horizons). The most superficial horizon (horizon A0) accumulates the coniferous litter and little transformed organic matter (humus type mor). This accumulation is due to the low temperatures that hinder its decomposition by microorganisms. All these processes lead to acidification of the soil and low levels of calcium, nitrogen and other nutrients that characterize these soils.

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