BOREAL FOREST AND TAIGA
The Taiga is the largest biome in the world. Located in the Northern latitudes, circumboreal and circumpolar, it extends over Eurasia and North America. The largest extensions are in Central and Eastern Russia. The Boreal Forest/Taiga biome is composed of 29 ecoregions.
The winters are very cold (-65°F to 30°F / -54°C to -1°C) and summers warm (20°F - 70°F / -7°C to 21°C), rainy, and humid. Precipitation ranges from 40 - 100 cm per year mainly in the form of snow with some input from rain and dew. The taiga has nutrient poor soils due to a combination of permafrost and poor drainage. There is still a presence of intact ecological phenomena, like large scale migrations of caribou and reindeer. Evergreens tend to grow straight, thin, and close together protecting from the cold by creating wind barriers.
Low species variation, low species richness, and few endemisms. Not many plants can survive the extreme cold of the taiga winter. The ground cover is dominated by lichens and mosses in abundance, but most of the plants are conifer species (evergreens) including: Douglas Fir, Pine, White Spruce, and Hemlock among others (Abies sp., Pinus sp., Picea sp., Tsuga sp.,) and deciduous trees like Betula sp., and Populus spp. Trees are adapted to fire. The bark allows the external surface to burn and protect the inner living tissues. The burning of the lower branches or the falling of big trees creates the needed disturbance to allow sunlight to the ground. These clearings get covered with an abundant diversity of new plants that provide food to herbivores. Lynx and members of the weasel family like wolverines, bobcat, minks and ermin, hunt herbivores like rabbits, red squirrels and voles. Red deer, elk, and moose are found where deciduous trees grow. During summer, millions of insects form the epizootic events in which swarms of insects feed migratory birds that fly north to feed, nest, and reproduce.
KEY DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
Allow large natural landscapes without barriers for migrations of large vertebrates and predators
Allow populations of carnivores
Prepare for epizootic (swarm) insect events and natural fire seasonally
Regeneration takes very long periods of time
Protect from the cold by creating wind barriers
Manage extreme cold during winter and humid hot summers