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Tundra in the Western Andreafsky Wilderness of Alaska (U.S.)
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USGS - Daniel R. Ruthrauff, photographer

Tundra Biome

It is not easy to survive in the very cold places of the world. The soil is frozen and no trees can grow. This place is called tundra. Plants and animals that are adapted for cold do live there. Most tundra is in the north polar region. It is called Arctic tundra. There is a small amount of tundra on parts of Antarctica that are not covered with ice. Plus, tundra is found on mountains at high altitudes and is called alpine tundra.

Tundra is special because it has permafrost. Permafrost is frozen ground. The ground is frozen in the tundra for most of the year.

In the summer, energy from the Sun thaws the top surface of the ground. Plants grow, but trees can't because the ground is frozen a few inches down. Lots of animals go to the tundra in the summer. Some even stay through the cold winter!

Last modified October 24, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA