Tundra Ecosystem

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Structure and functional units of ecology are termed ecosystem. It is a surrounding where all living organisms interact with each other and their surrounding environment. It can also be defined as a chain of interaction between organisms and their environment. 

A.G. Tansley (English botanist) was the one who coined the term ‘ecosystem’ in 1935. Ecosystem consists of both living and nonliving components and both of them interact with each other to maintain equality in the chain. 

Types of Ecosystem

  • The size of the ecosystem can differ from place to place - it may be as small as an oasis of a desert or it may be as large as a big ocean. So on this basis, we can categorise ecosystems into two types, they are terrestrial ecosystems or aquatic ecosystems. Furth both of these terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems are divided into different types based on their surrounding. 

  • Based on different geological zones terrestrial ecosystem is divided into various types, they are:

A. Forest Ecosystems

B. Grassland Ecosystems

C. Tundra Ecosystems

D. Desert Ecosystem

Tundra Ecosystem

In this type of ecosystem, they are free from trees as it is covered by snow for most of the year. These ecosystems are mainly present in those areas where there is a cold climate and very limited or no rainfall. One of the common regions where tundra ecosystems are found is the polar regions. 

There are two types of tundra ecosystems, they are discussed below:

A. Arctic: 

This tundra is mainly located in the northern hemisphere, encircling the north pole and extending towards the south. This tundra is known for its cold and desert-like conditions. In this region temperatures during winters are about 3-120 C during day time and -340 C during night time. This temperature enables biomes to sustain in this condition. Approx 1,700 kinds of plants are found in the arctic region with good adapting capability. Some of the common plants are low shrubs, sedges, reindeer mosses, liverworts, and grasses; 400 varieties of flowers example: crustose and foliose lichen.

B. Alpine: 

They are mainly located in mountainous areas throughout the world and in this area trees can not be grown. In this area, the temperature is below the freezing point during nighttime. The soil of this region is well-drained. Some of the plants which are present in this tundra region are tussock, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, heaths, etc. Animals in this region have high adapting capabilities. Examples of mammals that are mainly found for this reason are pikas, marmots, mountain goats, sheep, elk : Birds: grouse like birds. 

Distribution of Tundra Ecosystem

10 percent of the total earth surface is covered by tundra ecosystems. From the southern boundary, there is a start of the arctic tundra which goes through the northern edge of the coniferous forest belt, whereas the alpine tundra is mainly found in the Northern Hemisphere.

Features of Tundra Ecosystem

Some of the common and well-known features of the tundra ecosystem are discussed below:

A. The Tundra ecosystem mainly has a long cold winter and a very short hot summer, that is 

why they are known for winters.

B. This ecosystem mainly has winds with high humidity and less amount of rainfall.

C. Some of the common nutrients present in this reason are nitrogen and phosphorus. Production of phosphorus is mainly by a precipitation process, whereas a biochemical process produces nitrogen. 

D. At night time temperature in this region is below the freezing point whereas in day time it is a little bit normal which provides favourable conditions for plant growth. 

Plants Found in Tundra Region

Some of the known plants which are found in this region are:

  • Cottongrass

  • Dwarf heath

  • Sedge

  • Rushes

  • Dryland sedges

  • Sphagnum moss

  • Birches

  • Crustose

  • Heath shrubs

  • Dwarf willows

Animals Found in Tundra Region

In this region, all kinds of animals are found like omnivores, carnivores, herbivores. Some of the common examples of animals found in this region are:

Wolf, foxes, hare, collembolans, muskox, reindeer, marmots, mountain goats, sheep, elk and other different types of worms, flies, butterflies, wild insects. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Explain the Climatic Condition of the Tundra Region?

Ans. In this region, the climate varies from place to place. In the arctic region, temperature varies from 4oC in midsummer to -32o C during winters. Whereas in alpine tundra it may vary from 3 to 12o C in summers to -18o C in winters. So alpine tundra has more alpine climate in comparison to arctic tundra. 

2. Explain the Structure of the Ecosystem?

Ans. Ecosystems consist of both biotic and abiotic components and both of these components help in the distribution of energy over the environment. 

So, on the basis of components we can classify ecosystem structure into two types:

  • Biotic Components

  • Abiotic Components