The Arctic Tundra Biome


This biome is distributed along the northern edge of the Northern Hemisphere.

It covers parts of Alaska, northern parts of Canada, the coastal areas of Greenland and the Arctic Coastal regions of Russia and Northern Siberia.

 

The plant cover consists of a considerable mixture of species.

Many of these species are dwarf form such as grasses, mosses, lichens, flowering herbs, and a scattering of low shrubs.

These plants often occur in dense, ground hugging arrangements.

The plants complete their annual cycle hastily during the brief summers, when the ground is often moist and waterlogged because of inadequate surface drainage.

The animal of this biome may be categorized as

(I) resident

(II) migrant

Resident animals like ptarmigan can adjust themselves to the changing climatic conditions.

The migratory animals, in contrast, begin migrating to the warmer places in the very beginning of winter. For example- water fowl, ducks, swans, and geese etc.

They leave their places of origin in the first half of autumn and return in the following spring or early summer.

Mosquitoes, flies and other insects proliferate during the short warm season, laying eggs that can survive the bitter winter.

Other forms of animal life are scarce – a few species of mammals and freshwater fishes but almost no reptiles or amphibians.

Besides, the rein deer, wolves, foxes, musk-ox, arctic hare, seal and lemmings also live in this region.

Productivity in tundra biome is exceedingly low.

The reasons for low productivity are

–minimum sunlight and insolation

–absence or scarcity of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous in the soils

–poorly developed soils

–scarcity of moisture in the soils

–permanently frozen ground and (vi) very short growing period.

 

The harsh environment supports less population.

The tribes of Samoyeds, Lapps, Finns and Yakuts in Eurasian Tundra and Eskimos of Canada and Alaska are some of the original inhabitants of this place and lead nomadic life for centuries.

These tribes are now leading permanent or semi nomadic life.

The recent discoveries of minerals such as gold and mineral oil in Alaska, iron ore in Labrador, nickel in Siberia have encouraged the growth of mining settlements and development of transport facilities.

But mining activities have also lead to pollution and other environmental problem to this fragile ecosystem.