Advantages and Disadvantages of Shifting Cultivation
Coniferous forests are mainly comprised of coniferous or cone bearing trees like pines, spruces, firs and hemlocks. Leaves found on these trees can either be needle like and small or alternatively scale –like and most of them stay green throughout the year. All trees found in this type of forest are also softwoods as such they have the capability to survive acidic soil as well as cold temperatures.
These trees are mainly found in northern hemisphere though there are others in southern hemisphere. Those forests found in the northern hemisphere are known as boreal or taiga forests and covers large regions of North America from the Pacific all the way to the Atlantic. In addition to this, they also range across Scandinavia, northern Europe and Asia through to Mongolia and Siberia to northern Japan and China.
The temperatures in coniferous forests are -400C to 200C while the average summer temperatures are 100C. The precipitation in the region is 300 to 900 millimeters per year. Coniferous forests are generally known as regions that have long, cold and snowy winters while the summers are humid and warm. In addition to this, they also have seasons that are well defined with at least 4 to 6 months that are frost free.
This type of forest thrives in regions that have cool and short summers with winters that are harsh and long. The forests also do well in regions that have heavy snowfall that lasts for as 6 months. The needlelike leaves of coniferous trees have an outer coat that is flexible and soft usually pointing downwards making it possible for snow to glide downwards. An example of coniferous tree that is found in one of the coldest regions is larches. The tree is however unusually for this type of tree simply because it is deciduous and sheds its leaves during winter. Coniferous trees like redwoods, cypresses and cedars on the other hand are found in regions that are much warmer.
Coniferous trees, though they are ever green also shed their leaves eventually to grow new ones. The needles therefore fall to the floor of the forest where they form a springy thick mat and they decompose or break down with the help of threadlike fungi. The fungi aids in ensuring that nutrients from decomposed needles are absorbed back to the roots of the trees but since pine needles never decompose easily, the soil tends to be acidic and poor.
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