BCEnvironmental scientific research 11 (June 2018)11Big Idea: human practices affect the sustainability the ecosystems.

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YTEnvironmental scientific research 11 (British Columbia, June 2018)11Big Idea: human practices affect the sustainability of ecosystems.
YTScience grade 9 (British Columbia, June 2016)9Big Idea: The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and also atmosphere room interconnected, as issue cycles and also energy flows with them.
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Learn around the location, plants, animals, human being impacts and conservation of the arctic tundra biome.

The Terrestrial Biomes

The terrestrial world deserve to be split into areas called biomes. A biology is a large area of soil classified by its distinct plants and animals. The attributes of every biome room dependent top top its temperature and also the amount of precipitation the area receives. The plants and animals found in each biology are adjusted to the specific environment of the biome.

A biome is comprised of many ecosystems. One ecosystem is the communication of living and also nonliving points in one environment. However, a biome is the certain geographic area in i beg your pardon ecosystems can be found.

For the objective of this backgrounder we will certainly identify major terrestrial biomes the the world based upon the Whittaker biome category scheme. The is amazing to note that not everyone agrees on the number and varieties of biomes.

Distribution of the Earth’s significant Biomes

The map below shows where each the the eight major terrestrial biomes are located in the world. Canada consists of four biomes: warm deciduous forest, grassland, boreal forest/taiga, and also tundra. A biome has the same features in any component of the world when it have the right to be found. Therefore, the boreal forests of Canada look prefer the boreal forests of Russia. The features of every biome room dependent top top its climate, specifically temperature and the lot of precipitation the area receives. 


Major terrestrial biomes (Let’s talk Science adapted from photo by adjusted from: H.J. De Blij and P.O. Miller. 1996. Physical location of the global Environment. John Wiley, brand-new York. Pp. 290.).

Arctic Tundra


The arctic tundra biome is the northernmost biome. That covers the lands phibìc of the Arctic Circle approximately the polar ice cap. It reaches as far south as the Hudson bay area the Canada and also the northern component of Iceland. It covers about 11.5 million km2. There is additionally an alpine tundra, which is discovered on mountains and also Antarctic tundra, i beg your pardon is discovered on Antarctica and the bordering Antarctic islands.


The arctic tundra is a vast, dry, rocky place that is noted for its lack of trees. In fact, the word “tundra” comes from the Finnish indigenous tunturi, meaning ‘treeless plain.’ One crucial characteristic of the tundra is the permafrost. Words permafrost is short-form for the permanently frozen soil, which starts within a meter the the soil surface. In the winter almost every one of the soil is frozen. In the summer the soil close to the surface ar thaws, however the permafrost at reduced depths remain frozen. The permafrost boundaries how much roots of tree can expand down right into the soil. It also is what avoids trees native growing. The ground in the arctic tundra tends to it is in rocky and the floor has few nutrients. This is because the decomposition rates of plants often tends to be low. In spite of the absence of trees, this biology is still thought about a major carbon sink together there are large amounts of organic matter uncovered in deposits of peat and humus. Peat is decayed sphagnum moss and also humus is organic matter.


Typical arctic tundra landscape in Nunavut (Source: ADialla via Wikimedia Commons).

Due come its north position, the arctic tundra has a an extremely cold climate. Temperatures selection from 15.5 °C in summer come -60 °C in winter and also mean temperatures are listed below 0°C for six to 10 month of the year. Summers are likewise much much shorter than the winters. The northernmost component of this biome receives close come 24 hrs of sunlight during parts of the summer. And also it receives close to 24 hrs of darkness during parts that the winter. Yearly precipitation is approximately 150 to 250mm a year. Most of this precipitation does no evaporate due to the short temperatures. Rivers and lakes often kind soil has tendency to be very soggy in the summer.

Plants & Animals

Due come the cold climate and also short farming season, most vegetation in the tundra has tendency to it is in herbaceous. Instances of herbaceous plants found there incorporate grasses, mosses such together reindeer moss, liverworts and also lichens. The few woody tree which live in the tundra, such as dwarf willows, have tendency to be short and spread throughout the ground. This is an adaptation to the high winds that are common in this biome. Plants in this biome also tend to go dormant throughout the long winters. This way that they sluggish down their typical life functions. Many of your biomass (mass of your parts) is below ground. And also they have fairly high development rates in the short summers.

Many huge mammals, such as caribou, polar bears, arctic foxes, and musk ox, are found in this biome. There are also several smaller sized mammals, such as lemmings and arctic hare which are prey come the bigger mammals. 


Arctic hare in winter (Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife organization via Wikimedia Commons).

These prey pets have brown fur in the summer and also white fur in the winter to aid them camouflage v the an altering landscape. During the summer countless migratory birds, such together loons, snow geese and terns, involved the tundra come breed. Although there is low insect biodiversity, the insects that live in the arctic tundra, such together mosquitoes, can have big populations.

Human impacts & Conservation

In the past, humans have had fairly little impact on the arctic tundra. Recently this has started to adjust as more and much more people have come to the phibìc to extract various natural resources such together oil. Climate change has also begun to, and will proceed to have a big impact on this biome. Higher an international temperatures space melting the sea-ice and permafrost. This is altering and sometimes destroying the habitats of plants and animals. In an initiative to safeguard this distinctive biome, initiatives to mitigate human effects are being undertaken. This has efforts to mitigate levels that greenhouse gases and the production of protected locations where human being interference and also hunting room limited.



The Tundra BiomeThis internet page, native the university of California, Museum the Paleontology, has information around the tundra biome including the different species of tundra.

Santa"s obtained CompanyThis internet page, indigenous the Canadian Wildlife federation, is around plants and animals in the arctic tundra.

TundraThis page from the NASA planet Observatory "Mission: Biomes" series includes pictures and charts of monthly weather averages

Chen, Z. (2013). Tundra Ecosystems.InHowarth, R. W., & Mohan, J. E. Biomes and ecosystems (pp. 197-199). Salem Press.

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Peacock, E., Derocher, A., Thiemann, G., & Stirling, I. (2011). Conservation and management that Canada’s polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in a changing Arctic.Canadian journal of Zoology,89(5), 371–385. DOI: 10.1139/z11-021