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The tundra is located at the top of the world, near the North Pole. This enormous biome, extremely uniform in appearance, covers a fifth of the earth's surface.

The most distinctive characteristic of tundra soil is its permafrost, a permanently frozen layer of ground. During the brief summers, the top section of the soil may thaw out allowing plants and microorganisms to grow and reproduce. However, these plants and microorganisms become dormant during the cold winter months.
There is another region called alpine tundra, which is found on the tops of tall, cold mountains.

Temperature- The tundra is dry, cold, and has little trees. It is cold most of the year with temperatures ranging from -30oF to 20oF. The summer is the only exception. For those 6-8 weeks the temperature can reach 45 to 50oF. The warmth causes a layer of permafrost, and ice melting creating shallow lakes that never drain. There is a constant flow of wind making it even colder. In the winter the sun is barley ever out making it dark for most of the day. In the summer the sun shines 24 hours a day.

Precipitation- The tundra receives about 10 inches of precipitation a year, most of it being snow. The only time it rains is in the summer.

Plants and Adaptations
There is a plentiful amount of vegetation and plants in the tundra. Some most commonly known plants are:
  • lichen- made of fungus and algae that grow on rocks
  • dwarf willow-they are shurbs and pillow-like cushioned plantstaht all grow tightly together and low to protect them and avoid the cold from harming them.
  • mosses
  • sedges
  • perennial forbs
Although plant growth in the Tundra Zones is quit slowly paced they have many adaptations. For example, the fact that they are small and capable to grow close off the ground keep them away from harsh winds that can damage their growth. Plants also take in heat from the sun shining on them just as much as they get heat from the other plants around. For having the tundra full of plants this helps with the food abundance. Most animals in these biomes are vegetarians and biomes like these are convenient for those animals just as much as they are for the environment.
As amazing as this may sound, plants can survive in this biome, but how? To many this is surprising to know and may seem impossible. Yes, there is a growing season which lasts 60 days and the plants that live in these areas usually adapt to the weather by growing close together as it was already mentioned. The sun gives off the energy through photosynthesis just like any ordinary plants but adapt to the low climate and light intensity. The vegetation in the tundra biomes is only different in the way that they use a minimal amount of energy.
The plants, just like the animals in the Tundra biome, have adaptations that help them survive in such a place. Certain plants grow very close to the ground near dark soil, and spread their leaves out along the ground. This is because in the Tundra biome, the dark soil absorbs sunlight, and so by growing close to this soil, the plants receive an extra source of heat. Another adaptation of plants is how they do not decompose. Several plants have this adaptation. When the leaves of these plants die, they drop down and fall upon other dead leaves, which do not decompose. Not only does this provide nutrients for the plants, but also traps wind-blown nutrients for the plants use. Also, it traps the heat of the sun, and helps protect from the high winds of the Tundra.

Animals and Adaptations
Even thought the Tundra is a cold place, there are 48 species of mammals found in the biome. The mammals living here mainly consist of rodents, foxes, bear, deer and wolves. Even though many animals live there most only use it as a place to go for the summer. Only a few will actually live there permanently.

Many animals have the same adaptations, and it would be the way to help them keep warm during the cold times. The brown bear that lives in the tundra is able to eat all summer and it’s physical adaptation allows the food eaten to be stored as fat during the winter months during hibernation.
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One of the most popular animals in the tundra is the Polar Bear. Polar Bears can be found all throughout the Northern Hemisphere; they are also the largest carnivores on land. To help keep them warm, they have two layers of fur. The fur may appear white but it is actually clear. Another way they keep warm is by having black skin, when the sun shines it reaches their skin and the heat is absorbed to help keep them warm.

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Another animal commonly found in the Tundra is the Arctic Fox. It makes its home in little burrows in the frost free ground or in rock piles. Since the fox is a scavenger it will follow around the Polar Bears to eat what is left behind. The fox also is a very tiny animal and it will only become about the size of a house cat.

Products and exports
Due to a tundra harsh cold and snowy environment, it is not a heavy populated area. For this reason there are not too many produced exported out of a tundra climate. However in some tundra area such as Alaska many people work in coal mines and oil rigs. Producing and exporting fossil fuels. Another big export out of tundra environment is fur trade. People will hunt and trap animals such as artic foxes as well as ermine.

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Major Stresses
With more people moving to the Tundra biome, roads and towns have been made, many of which disturb the feeding patterns of the animals. Also, with a huge abundance of insects, pesticide is used frequently to limit their numbers. However, this has an adverse affect of the animals of the Tundra that are predators to these insects, and the pesticide is usually transferred to them. Due to the major oil drilling and mining done in the Tundra Biome, the air, lakes, and rivers have become highly polluted.
This pollution has prevented plant life to grow in certain areas, such as some of the nickel caves in Russia. The land itself is in bad shape, and there are many ruts and ditches. This is due to the melting of permafrost, which causes erosion, creating and widening ruts. Tracks made on this barren usually last for years. In fact, some tracks, especially the ones made during World War 2, have expanded so much that they are currently lakes.

Major Stresses