about / contact / guestbook / maillist / policy / sitemap / shop / learn on the internet

   
     
     
     
You are here: home > geotopics > ecosystems > tundra

Ecosystems menu
Introduction to ecosystems


[image - tundra]
Arctic Tundra

Tundra

 
Online Activities
[Online activities]: n Activities related to this topic
Ecosystems - Half a Minute Game
Ecosystems - Interactive Diagram
Ecosystems - Fling the teacher
Podcast
[Podcast]: n Audio file for playback on mobile devices and personal computers
 


Where is Tundra found?
Tundra is found in the extreme North of Canada and Asia.

What is Tundra?
Arctic tundra is located in the northern hemisphere that encircles the north pole and extends to south of the coniferous forests of the taiga. The tundra covers about one fifth of the land surface found on Earth. Tundra is the coldest and driest of all the biomes. Tundra comes from the Finnish word tunturia, meaning treeless plain. The ground is subject to permafrost (land that is permanently frozen), but the surface layer melts in the summer. Soil conditions are poor, being marshy and waterlogged. Little plant life can survive. Only grasses, mosses, lichens and dwarf shrubs exist in this area.

How did Tundra get like this?
Temperatures during the arctic winter can dip to -60º F (-51º C)! Average temperature of the warmest month is between 50ºF (10ºC) and 32º F (0ºC). Sometimes as few as 55 days per year have a mean temperature higher than 32ºF (0ºC). The average annual temperature is only 10º to 20ºF (-12ºC to -6ºC). Obviously this significantly restricts plant growth and limits the diversiy of living creatures. All of the plants are adapted to sweeping winds and disturbances of the soil. Plants are short and group together to resist the cold temperature.

What is the impact of humans on Tundra?
On January 3, 1959, Alaska gained statehood along with its natural resources. Rich oil deposits was one of the many natural resources found in this vast area causing a new breed of fortune hunters to come to Alaska. On March 24th, 1989, millions of gallons of oil spilled into the ocean when Exxon Valdez (an oil tanker) crashed into a reef. This spill affected all of the wildlife greatly, tens of thousands of seabirds, salmon, herring, and halbut were killed from a disaster that wouldn't have happened except for the intervention of man. An estimate was made that 100,000 birds died in the oil spill, something that could have been avoided. Even though the bulk of the oil was finally cleaned up, some of it still lingers there.

What is the future for Tundra? - Sustainable Development
Coming soon!

 

 
 
     
Learn on the Internet © 2009