Benninghoff, William S. Department of Botany, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Last reviewed:May 2021
- Plant species, life forms, and adaptations
- Soil conditions
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A biome or vegetation zone of treeless, usually lowland areas in cold regions. The term tundra is derived from Lapp or Russian origin, signifying treeless plains of predominantly cold northern regions (Fig. 1). In general, tundra supports some vegetation beyond the northern limit of trees, and between the upper limit of trees and the lower limit of perennial snow on mountains. For the most part, tundra is found in northern regions of Asia, Europe, and North America. However, some fringes of the Antarctic continent and its neighboring islands support tundra. In addition, biologists, and particularly plant ecologists, sometimes use the term tundra in the sense of the vegetation of the tundra landscape. Tundra has distinctive characteristics as a kind of landscape and as a biotic community, but these characteristics are expressed with great differences according to the geographic region. See also: Biome; Ecological communities; Ecology; Life zones; Plant; Plant geography
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