Description of the tundra landscape

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Description of the tundra landscape
The Arctic tundra sometimes has 24 hours of sunshine. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Tundra comes from the Finnish word "tunturi," meaning treeless plain. Two types of tundra can be found: the Arctic tundra and the Alpine tundra. Many plants can be found on the tundra, and because of this, animal life is abundant.

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Arctic Tundra

The Arctic tundra has a growing period of between 50 to 60 days each year. Plants tend to grow in groups or next to rocks, which help protect them from the cold temperatures. Low shrubs are commonly seen in the Arctic tundra and as well as over 400 varieties of flowers. Animals seen in the Arctic tundra include polar bears, snow geese, Arctic foxes, grey wolves, Arctic hares, snowy owls and caribou (reindeer).

Alpine Tundra

The Alpine tundra is commonly found on mountains where trees cannot grow well. The growing season is approximately 180 days. Trees tend to be dwarf and tussock grasses grow well. Animals that live in the Alpine tundra include foxes, grizzly bears, mountain goats and sheep.

The Tundra and Global Warming

Tundra soil has a thick layer of permafrost on top. The soil has limited drainage, allowing plants to have a long-term supply of water. Global warming has been blamed for reducing the level of snow and ice in both types of tundra.

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