Taiga animalsPosted on May 18, 2018 - Last modified: September 8, 2018
Taiga animals live in a biome with extreme low temperatures, but they have learned to survive by adapting to the environment that surrounds them.
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What is taiga?
The taiga, also called boreal forest or coniferous forest, belongs to the terrestrial ecosystem and has a vegetation composed mainly of evergreen trees such as pines, firs and larches.
It is located in the north and occupies about 17% percent of the Earth's land surface. Beyond the North, the taiga merges with the circumpolar tundra and is located in northern regions of Russia, Europe, Canada and Alaska.
Winters are very cold and days are short, with a persistent layer of snow. The North American and Eurasian taiga share some species of flora and fauna.
In the taiga, cold is the dominant climatic factor and although there is a great diversity of climates. It is less cold than in the tundra, but even so in winter the animals of the taiga have to endure about -54 ° C. In summer the temperature ranges between 0 and 5 ° C.
The length of the day also affects the temperature. Long winter nights at high latitudes allow radiation emitted by the Earth's surface to escape into the atmosphere. Snow cover also affects climate, because it reflects incoming solar radiation and amplifies cooling.
During winter the snow cover persists for about five months, in the southern part of the taiga biome, and seven or eight months in the north. In reality, taiga mitigates this cooling by hardening and darkening what would otherwise be a smooth, energy-reflecting, snow-covered surface for much of the year. It has been estimated that the Earth would be significantly colder without the taiga.
Rainfall located in the center of the taiga receives 300 to 500 mm of annual rainfall. These are really modest figures in these places, being at a significant distance from the thawed oceans that supply moisture. Annually the highest rainfalls are recorded in eastern North America and northern Europe, reaching over 1.000 mm.
Adaptations of taiga animals
Most of the animals of the taiga adapt well to the cold and survive it easily if they have enough food to maintain an energy balance during winter.
Due to the layer of snow that covers the ground, a reliable characteristic of the taiga, mammals have had to adapt. The hare, for example, annually changes the color of its fur, or of its fur, from brown to gray in summer to pure white in winter, providing effective camouflage. In order not to sink into the snow, he has large feet in proportion to his body weight. The same effect humans achieve when putting rackets on their feet.
The lynx is the main predator of the snowshoe hare. It also has large feet, with hair between the toes, allowing it to stay on the surface of the snow.
- Fires are very numerous and common to eliminate old or diseased trees.
- The wood of the coniferous trees is used to make paper.
- Most of the regions considered taiga are unattached by humans, with the exceptions of Toronto and Moscow.
- The growing season only lasts three months, during the summer where the temperature is favorable.
- Temperatures can reach as low as -60 ° C. The temperature is below freezing for six months out of the year.
- Some species are adapted with thick fur, feathers to resist the cold and others migrate to warmer areas or hibernate during the winter.
- Insects are the most common animals in the taiga and birds flock to feed on them.
- The change in temperature is quite extreme. Warm in summer and cold in winter. The first and fall are very short seasons that are hardly noticeable.
Conservation of the taiga
As a result of uncontrolled logging, large areas of taiga have disappeared, endangering the integrity of the species that live there.
There are animal species in danger of extinction such as sable or mink due to the great demand for their skins for the manufacture of clothing and fashion items, mainly coats and accessories for the cold.
Currently this is being controlled by some organizations around the world, but due to the large profits obtained from the sale of these products, many choose to put their economic interests as a priority and not worry about these species that are disappearing.