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Arctic Tundra

The Arctic tundra is a cold, vast, treeless area of low, swampy plains in the far north around the Arctic Ocean. It includes the northern lands of Europe (Lapland and Scandinavia), Asia (Siberia), and North America (Alaska and Canada), as well as most of Greenland. Another type of tundra is the alpine tundra, which is a biome that exists at the tops of high mountains.

Special features:

This is the earth's coldest biome. Since the sun does not rise for nearly six months of the year, it is not unusual for the temperature to be below -30°F in winter. The earth of the Arctic tundra has a permanently frozen subsoil, called permafrost, which makes it impossible for trees to grow. Frozen prehistoric animal remains have been found preserved in the permafrost.

In summer, a thin layer of topsoil thaws and creates many pools, lakes, and marshes, a haven for mosquitoes, midges, and blackflies. More than 100 species of migrant birds are attracted by the insect food and the safe feeding ground of the tundra. Other animals that live in this biome include polar bears, Arctic foxes, caribou, and grey wolves. Plants that you might find include small shrubs and cushion plants, and the lichen which cover the many rocks on the tundra's terrain. The Arctic is also famous for the beauty of its flowers during early autumn.


Information Please® Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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