A biome can be defined as a habitat in a place, like desert, mountain tops and tropical forests and is influenced by the climate of that region. The Boreal also known as the Taiga is the habitat of the needle leaf forest. Inhabiting the Boreal becomes lonely and cold. Food shortages and low temperatures make life difficult, especially during the winter. Some of the animals co-operate with the weather during the winter. Some fly out and others hibernate. The Boreal biome stretches over North America and Eurasia and is located just below the tundra biome. During winter there are snow falls and during the summers the climate is warm, humid and rainy.
The Boreal has few animals and plants, when compared with other biomes like the tropical forest. The few species of plant are because of the harsh climatic conditions. During winter the temperatures range from -50 degrees to -1 degrees Celsius and during the summer, the temperatures range between -7 to 21 degrees Celsius. It is essential to note, that the taiga has summer and winter as the main seasons with the spring and autumn seasons being too short. Additionally, the summers are shorter than the winter seasons with the summers lasting for about 100 days. The taiga also experiences within 30cm-75cm precipitation annually. The main forms of precipitation experienced are snow, dew and rain (Donnelly 2003).
Taiga’s soil is characterized as young and of low nutrients. The soil lacks the organic nutrients present in deciduous forests. The cold temperatures make the soil thin, which hinders plants from penetrating and obtaining nutrients. Fallen leaves remain in the forest surface for long periods of time. This limits their organic contribution in enriching the soil. Acidic substances from needle plants contribute to leaching of the soil hence creating a harsh environment for the survival of herbs and other small plants.
The Boreal is inhabited by a variety of animals and plants. The forest has deciduous trees like alder, willow, birch and poplar. It also has the oak, elm and maple trees to the south. The main species of plants are the coniferous, which include the larch, fir, spruce and pine. The coniferous species are also referred to as the ever green species. The ever green plants have developed various characteristics in order to survive the harsh winter seasons. For instance, the trees have shallow and hardened roots for survival in the thin soil and cold climate. The conical shape of the conifers helps the plants shade snow. Most plants in the taiga do not shed their leaves to facilitate photosynthesis using the older leaves. The leaves are thorn like shape reduces the changes of water loss through transpiration while the dark green color helps in light absorption among other adaptation characteristics (Donnelly 2003).
The Boreal forest is characterized by a wide range of animals. It comprises over 100 species of fish, over 30000 species of insets and 80 species of mammals. Insects are crucial in the forest, since they facilitate decomposition, pollination and crucial in the food web, since birds depend on them for food. The long winters pose a challenge to the amphibians and reptiles that depend on the prevailing conditions to regulate their temperatures. This forces them to hibernate during the winter. The taiga hosts a large population of herbivorous mammals like the moose, rodent species like squirrel, beaver, snowshoe hare and mountain hare. The species have developed adaptation characteristics to enable them survive in winter. For instance, the animals eat more during the summer to gain weight and then hibernate during the winter. Others develop large layers of far for insulation. The habitat is home to omnivores like raccoons and bears, predatory birds like eagles and owls and carnivores such as weasels and foxes.
The forest is an ecosystem and organisms found within the system depend on each other for survival. The nature of the relationship existing is symbiotic. This implies that the plants and animals are interdependent and elimination or extinction of any of organisms from the system would affect the other organisms. The animals release carbon dioxide, which is used by plants to synthesis food. The insects feed on nectar produced by flowers and also aid the plants in pollination. This means that the insects help the plants not get extinct. The plants serve as the shelter for insects and birds. The plants produce oxygen and manufactured food, which is used for breathing by animals and food for herbivores respectively. The herbivores and rodents are used as food for the omnivorous and carnivorous like foxes. When the animals die, the insects help in decomposing them and are used as nutrients to the plant. It is, therefore, evident that all the organisms depend on each other for survival (Johansson 2004).
In case the temperatures of boreal biome raised by about 10 degrees Celsius, it is likely that the changes will affect the organisms in that habitat. The increase would mean that the winters would not be too cold, since the temperatures can reach 9 degrees Celsius. During the summer the temperatures are likely to increase to highs of over 30 degrees Celsius. The implication of these temperatures is that the habitat would be favorable for the survival of reptiles and amphibians. There will be a tenancy of the reptile and amphibians increasing their population in the boreal biome. The amphibians include frogs, newt and salamanders, while the reptiles include snakes, crocodiles and geckoes. It is worth noting, that the majority of the animals that hibernate during cold seasons would start being active. Higher temperature also implies that the transpiration rates would increase hence more rain will be expected. With high temperatures it implies that the plants would be able to synthesis more food, hence the number of herbivores are expected to rise (Johansson 2004).
Additionally, most plants would thrive since the conditions are favorable. Therefore, an increase in temperatures in Alaska is likely to benefit the habitats and cause other organisms to migrate into the biome. This would lead to people devising ways to protect the environment and conserve the other animals. It can be, therefore, concluded that the boreal biome is a habitat with diverse species of organisms that have slowly adopted at the prevailing climatic conditions. Additionally, any increase in temperature is likely to affect the population of plants and animals and human activity in the region.