POLAR BIOME | World Geography | K. SIDDHARTHA SIR
ENSEMBLE IAS ACADEMY | 9811506926 | www.ensembleias.com
Polar ecosystem, complex of living organisms in polar regions such as polar barrens and tundra.
Polar barrens and tundra are found at high latitudes on land surfaces not covered by perpetual ice and snow. These areas lying beyond the tree line comprise more than 10 percent of the Earth’s land surface. Most are in the Arctic and subarctic, as little land area in the Antarctic is ever free of snow and ice (seefigure). The Arctic can be divided into the Low Arctic and High Arctic, according to various environmental and biological characteristics. Tundras are most common in the Low Arctic, and polar barrens are dominant in the High Arctic.
The Russian term “tundra” is derived from the Finnish word tunturi, meaning treeless heights. Tundra is now used in a general sense to describe any cold-climate landscape having vegetation without trees, which includes both mountainous areas (alpine tundra) and areas in the Arctic, subarctic, and Antarctic. In a more restricted sense, tundra denotes a special type of vegetation association. The tundra zones of the polar regions are distinct from the polar barrens, which are sparsely vegetated.
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