The Diversity of Russia's Plant-Life

The animal and plant life in Russia is extremely varied and depends greatly on the climate, soil and water supply to a certain area. For example, the mountain regions will differ in plant life because of the altitudes experienced, opposed to the lower lying plateau areas. Russian plant life can be divided into six main sections, namely the Arctic Desert area, Tundra, Taiga, Mixed and Deciduous Forest, Wooded Steppe and Steppe.

Tundra covers approximately ten percent of Russia, which means these are the marshy plain areas that do not support tree life. The soil that is found in the Tundra regions are extremely poor, and the low temperatures experienced in the area cause moisture not to be drained properly and plant matter decays very slowly, which therefore makes the soil acidic. The soil is frozen for most of the year, and permafrost hinders drainage in the summer months. Arctic Tundra consists mostly of larch, spruce, shrub willows, moss, herbaceous plants and lichen.

The largest environmental regions are Taiga, or boreal forest zones. Taiga that is located in the western regions comprises of dense forests in the moisture rich areas, that has lighter soils, and grasses, shrubs and pines are found here. Small areas in the European parts have been cleared for the use of agriculture, but Taiga is still the largest timber reserve in the world. Coniferous forests do not run continuously and are broken up by birch, willows and alder. In the areas that are poorly drained, peat bog and massive swamp areas are found. The most common soil type of the Taiga regions is podzol, which is often acid and pale in color. The soluble materials that are redeposited into the earth are rich in iron, causing hardpans in some areas that impedes drainage.

The Mixed and Deciduous Forests that make up the Russian plant life are located in a triangular region, where warmer conditions are experienced. Here oak and spruce trees are the dominant features, although hornbeam, maple, pine, birch, elm, ash and aspen trees do grow here. Most of this area has been used for agricultural purposes, as the soils here are less acidic, with a higher organic content and natural fertility for plant growth. The mixed forest zone that is found in the Far East is home to elm, hazel, hornbeam and Asiatic oak species.

Wooded steppe is a transitional zone between the forest regions and steppe. Here the area alternates between oak forests and grassland landscapes. The Wooded Steppe eventually flows into the proper Steppe that covers an area of 300 kilometers, as far as the southern parts of the Ukraine, the northern areas of Kazakstan and straight through to the Altai Mountains. Steppe landscape consists of bluegrass, types of bunchgrass, turf grasses and fescue. Mosses and lichen are also amongst the plant life found here, and in the south, drought resistant species continues in the dry steppe and the semi desert areas. In the damper areas, such as valleys, wooded areas can still be seen. The soil that is found in the Steppe regions is called chernozem, or black earth, due to its dark upper layer. A high humus content and very low levels of acidity causes this soil to be extremely fertile and, therefore, Russia’s grain sources are grown in this area.

Animals also play a vital role in the plant life in Russia, as their presence sometimes influences the soil content, which in turn supports the plants that grow in a certain area. Although the Russian plant life is so diverse, it is also unique and characterizes the areas in which they grow.


User Comments & Reviews: 1 Comment(s)

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Bablaoo - 2009-11-07 23:40:46

THANXS!! i needed this for my report THANXS!!!

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