What is Tundra Biome?

What is Tundra Biome?

This world is divided into different regions where some are covered with lustrous green grass, while others are engulfed in golden deserts. And these large naturally occurring communities of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat is called a biome. And Tundra is one such Biome of this environment community.

How do we exactly identify a Tundra region from its counterparts? One way to quickly identify the Tundra region lies within its name. It gets its name from a Finnish word “TunTuria”, which literally means a treeless plain. And with its long and extreme seasons of dark, freezing winter times and short summers that aren’t much warmer, it’s easy to see why few plants and animals can survive here.

The Tundra are of 2 types, mainly Alpine and the Arctic. The Alpine Tundra covers approximately 3% of the Earth’s land surface and it is mainly found in the Northern Hemisphere. This region exists at very high elevations atop mountains, where overnight temperatures fall below freezing. Whereas, the Arctic Tundra is located in the higher altitudes in the polar regions in the Northern Hemisphere and covers almost 20% of the Earth’s surface. Despite being in such harsh conditions, the Arctic Tundra is blessed with many living organisms, including plants, animals and humans, who needs some special adaptations techniques to survive.

How living beings can survive in the Tundra regions? Being a windy region, it takes a lot of survive here in the Tundra. Also, the sub-soil layer over here is permafrost, meaning the ground is completely frozen, making it impossible for the trees to grow because of which, the tundra has patchy, low-to-ground vegetation. This include grasses, mosses, and lichens all of which are better adapted to withstand Tundra’s cold conditions.

And not only plants, but animals in the Tundra such as polar bear, gray wolves, snow geese etc are adapted to its extreme conditions. Example: The Caribou, also known as Reindeer, build up stores of fats to sustain and insulate them through the winter. They also have thick coats of fur for further insulation and save energy by hibernating during long winter months waiting for the summer to arrive.
The summer brings a short relieve and acts as a growing season that lasts 6 to 10 weeks, and during this period, the sun shines for 24 hours, and hence it is also known as the land of the midnight sun.

But, unfortunately, this is isolated land increasingly due to human activities such as oil drilling. Perhaps the greatest danger however, comes from climatic conditions.

Warming temperatures could upset the cold tundra biome and the life in it and melts its underlying permafrost, releasing greenhouse gases that would further accelerate global warming. So, it’s essential to limit human encroachment in this region, if we wanted to save this world.

Did you know, Tundra insects have also developed adaptations for the cold? Example: Mosquitos, have a chemical compound that acts as antifreeze, lowering the freezing temperature in their body fluids.

Also animals in the Tundra biome tend to have small ears and tails which helps them store more heat in the cold. While, some of them tend to have huge feet, which help them to walk on the top of the snow.

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