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Biome: Boreal Forest

  • By: Tatiana Loboda
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Boreal forests, also known as taiga in Russia, stretch across a large zone in the Northern Hemisphere, spanning North America and Northern Eurasia, and represent nearly one third of the global forested areas. Formed under harsh climatic conditions, these forested ecosystems provide crucial ecological and societal benefits and strongly influence many global processes, including carbon storage and release and, subsequently, concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Boreal forests are dominated by coniferous tree species that are frequently replaced by broad-leaved deciduous trees after an occurrence of disturbances such as fire, insect infestation, or logging. Although poor in dominant-tree biological diversity, these forests are the largest intact ecosystem on Earth and sustain considerable populations of large land mammals such as moose, elk, and bear. Under ...

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