What is coniferous forest?
We explain what the coniferous forest is, its location and how is its flora and fauna. In addition, its climate and main features.
What is coniferous forest?
Coniferous forests are ecosystems that are characterized by having a climate ranging from mild to cold , abundant rainfall, but, above all, by the predominance of coniferous trees, with high heights (up to 100 meters). Among them, there are the pines, with their enormous variety of species.
In addition, in this kind of forest the presence of cypresses, cedars, spruces and fir trees is very common. And to this are added ferns and shrubs, which are also characteristic of this type of ecosystem. Now, coniferous trees are those that have cone-shaped seeds . In addition, they have no fruits, but pine nuts.
In addition, the leaves of these trees are perennial and are characterized by needle-shaped . The qualities of these leaves allow them to last up to seven years, which is why the cup is renewed in stages, and not every year, as is the case with many species. In addition, they are leaves resistant to low temperatures, typical of certain forests in which it even snows in each winter, in addition to rainfall.
Is that, the needle shape of the leaves makes its surface very scarce. This makes the snow barely accumulate, and without breaking them. In addition to this, it has a resin that prevents water loss . To this must be added another quality, typical of the evergreen leaves, and that is that the cells found on the outside function as an antifreeze, ideal for low temperatures .
On the other hand, the pyramidal shape of the trees is also key to their survival : the branches make the snow slide, instead of accumulating, preserving it better. Finally, their cone shape allows them to store nutrients in the roots.
Location of coniferous forests
Forests, unlike other biomes , are found virtually everywhere in the world. There is no continent that does not have territories like this, although, obviously, of different surfaces.
Coniferous forests are located in the northern hemisphere and it is the biome that occupies the highest percentage on planet Earth. Its low temperatures, which can reach up to -30 ° C , are due to the fact that they are located in rocky soils or near the mountains .
Fauna and flora of coniferous forests
When talking about the flora that grows in coniferous forests, it must first be noted that only those plants or trees that survive in soils that contain an acidic PH can be developed there . This, as a consequence, becomes a conditioner for animals. It is that only those that can feed on these species will inhabit this type of habitat , within herbivores .
Within the flora, some of the most common trees found there are:
- Spruce This type of tree, which has a pyramid shape, can measure up to 60 meters. Its leaves are flat and pointed. They are found in North America, Siberia, Asia Minor, Japan and China, among others.
- Firs. This type of trees is in Europe and can measure up to 100 meters. Its leaves are flattened and grow spirally. Within the same tree you can find female and male flowers, so it is a monoecious tree.
- Larches Larchs are only found in two countries in South America : Chile and Argentina. They are characterized by having a long life , and reach up to 50 meters.
- Pine trees. There are more than 100 species of pines and they are found in the most varied areas. They grow in North America, Central America, South America, Sumatra, Europe, and more. These trees can not only have a pyramid-shaped crown, but also rounded.
Some animals that are usually found in this type of forest are hares, beavers, rabbits, as well as black bears, elk and porcupines. Also, there are birds like eagles or, foxes, snakes and frogs. Nor are flies, mosquitoes or beetles missing.
In this way, there are four groups of animals that can be found there: birds, mammals, cold-blooded animals and insects.
Climate of coniferous forests
The climate of coniferous forests is mild or cold. Unlike other ecosystems, in these the seasons are very different from each other. This means that, for several months, rains, snow or droughts abound.
Winters are characterized by being cold . In some cases, they can reach up to – 40 ° C. In addition, rains and snow also abound in this season. In summer , however, they have average temperatures of 10 ° C. And they are usually humid.
As for rainfall, these vary between 300 millimeters and 900 millimeters per year .
Characteristics of coniferous forests
Coniferous forests are characterized by being located in North America, Europe and Asia, as well as in South America or Siberia .
Thus, this type of forest occupies a good part of Canada and Alaska, in North America, and a greater proportion even of Norway, Finland, Russia, Sweden, as well as Japan in Eurasia.
It is also a key ecosystem for economic life. It is that, for example, it is an indispensable source of raw materials for the timber industry . Also, its landscapes are very attractive, so many tourist activities revolve around these forests.
Due to the characteristics of these landscapes , it is very common for fires to occur . In any case, the trees that live there, such as pine trees, have a bark that, because of its thickness, manages to protect the wood. On the other hand, since the stems are covered with needles, this also protects them.