Lesson Plan - Get It!
Did you know that the taiga biome has two other names? Sometimes it is referred to as the boreal forest, or the coniferous forest. In this lesson, you will find out why it has many names!
The taiga is found in the northern hemisphere of the earth.
If you missed or would like to review the first Related Lesson in the Taiga series, head over to the right-hand sideb.
It has a cold climate year-round and doesn't get much rainfall. This seems like a harsh environment for plants, doesn't it? So, how do plants survive here? Let's find out!
The taiga is home to miles upon miles of forest. It gets the name boreal forest because of the large amount of trees found in the northern parts of the world. Boreal means from the north, and a forest is a large area covered by trees. So, a boreal forest is simply a northern area covered with trees!
Where does it get the name coniferous forest from? It gets its name from the coniferous trees found there! Coniferous trees are either needle-leaved or scale-leaved trees. These trees get pinecones. Check out the pictures below:
Coniferous trees are found all over the taiga. They are strong enough to survive the frigid temperatures and lack of rainfall in the winter season. The leaves on coniferous trees contain a small amount of sap; this helps keep them from freezing. The dark green colors of their leaves helps them absorb as much sunlight as possible.
The needle-like leaves have a wax coating that helps retain water rather than losing it. This is important because the soil in the taiga makes it challenging for trees to get the water they need. Unlike most trees, coniferous trees do not lose their leaves. Losing leaves and making new leaves uses too much energy for a tree to survive in such a cold environment. This is why you don't see many deciduous trees in the taiga. Deciduous trees shed their leaves every year. Take a look at the coniferous trees below:
What do you notice about the shapes of all the coniferous trees above? Tell your parent or teacher.
Did you notice that all the trees are cone-shaped? Coniferous trees are coned-shaped for a very important reason: The shape of the tree allows the snow to fall right off its branches. If the snow got stuck on the branches, the weight of the snow could break the branches. When tree branches break, it exposes them to disease.
Although evergreen, spruce, fir, and pine trees are the most prominent in the taiga, other plants can be found here, too.
Plants with roots that grow close to the surface are also found in the taiga. The roots grow close to the surface so they can absorb as much rain water as possible. Shrubs, flowering plants, lichens, mosses, berry-bearing plants, and mushrooms can be found on the forest floor. All these plants grow close to the ground because this protects them from the cold temperatures. Did you know wild strawberries, cloudberries, and cranberries can be found in the taiga?
Excellent! Move on to the Got It? section of the lesson to learn more about plants that are found in the taiga.