Tundra in the Western Andreafsky Wilderness of Alaska (U.S.)
Click on image for full size
USGS - Daniel R. Ruthrauff, photographer
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!
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