Taiga (pronounced /ˈtaɪɡə/, Russian: тайга́; from Turkic or Mongolian), also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests.
Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome and covers: in North America most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States (especially northern Minnesota, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin, Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine); and in Eurasia most of Sweden, Finland, inland Norway, much of Russia (especially Siberia), northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, and northern Japan (on the island of Hokkaidō).
The term boreal forest is sometimes, particularly in Canada, used to refer to the more southerly part of the biome, while the term taiga is then often used to describe only the more barren areas of the northernmost part of the taiga approaching the tree line.
Climate and geography
Taiga is the world's largest land biome, and makes up 27% of the world's forest cover; the largest areas are located in Russia and Canada. The taiga is the terrestrial biome with the lowest annual average temperatures after the tundra and permanent ice caps. However, extreme minimums in the taiga are typically lower than those of the tundra. The lowest reliably recorded temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere were recorded in the taiga of northeastern Russia. The taiga or boreal forest has a subarctic climate with very large temperature range between seasons, but the long and cold winter is the dominant feature. This climate is classified as Dfc, Dwc, Dsc, Dfd, Dwd and Dsd in the Köppen climate classification scheme, meaning that the short summer (24-hr average 10°C or more) lasts 1–3 months and always less than 4 months. There are also some much smaller areas grading towards the oceanic Cfc climate with milder winters. The mean annual temperature generally varies from -5°C to 5°C, but there are taiga areas in both eastern Siberia and interior Alaska-Yukon where the mean annual reaches down to -10°C. According to some sources, the boreal forest grades into a temperate mixed forest when mean annual temperature reaches about 3 °C. Permafrost is common in areas with mean annual temperature below 0 °C. The winters last 5 – 7 months, with average temperatures below freezing. Temperatures vary from −54 °C to 30 °C (-65 °F to 86 °F) throughout the whole year.
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