Boreal and Taiga Biome

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Boreal forests, or taiga, are the Earth’s northernmost forests, covering vast tracts of land across Alaska, Canada, northern Europe, Russia and northeastern China, between the arctic tundra to the north and cold-temperate forests and grasslands to the south. The most characteristic climatic features are long duration of snow cover and short cool summers. They are among the world’s leading purveyors of ecosystem services, including carbon storage and clean water, and they have a large impact on climate at local, regional and global scales. Boreal forests harbor globally significant wildlife populations, including songbirds, migratory waterfowl, bears, wolves, moose, lynx and Siberian tigers. Spruce, fir, pine and larch dominate these forests along with birch and aspen. Boreal forests are flammable, and large fires which renew forest ecosystems and regulate their value as wildlife habitat are common. Trees and other plants in the boreal biome have many adaptations to fire, such as abilities to store seeds in serotinuous cones or in the soil for release after a fire, sprouting from the stump or roots, or thick bark that insulates trees from fire. Although large tracts of unlogged, primeval forest are still present, unsupervised logging, mining, oil extraction and climate change pose threats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of the World's Biomes
Subtitle of host publicationVolumes 1-5
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780128160961
ISBN (Print)9780128160961
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Boreal conservation framework
  • Canadian shield
  • Circumboreal
  • Climate change
  • Climate refugia
  • Fire regime
  • Forest certification
  • Freshwater resources
  • Migratory birds
  • Peatlands
  • Predator-prey relationships
  • Primeval forest


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