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Biomes and Regions of Northern Eurasia

Boreal Forests

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Fauna

The local mammal fauna of the boreal forests varies between 25-30 to 40-50 species (Shvarts et al., 1995). It is formed mainly by the representatives of the orders of Rodentia (gnawing), Carnivora (carnivorous), and Insectivora (insect-eating). The most typical representatives of the taiga fauna are vole, red squirrel, flying squirrel, alpine hare, sable, Siberian weasel, glutton, lynx, and chipmunk (the latter occurs only in Siberian taiga). Large mammals, such as elk, reindeer, brown bear and wolf, are still abundant in the forests of Northern Eurasia, particularly in Siberia. However, populations of some species have declined, especially in the European territory, as a result of overhunting and fragmentation and destruction of habitats (Kirikov, 1979). Local avifauna includes 90-100 species in the forest-tundra and 160-170 species in southern taiga (Shvarts et. al, 1995). Nutcracker, crossbills, woodpecker, caper-caillie, hazel grouse, and Siberian spruce grouse are common species. In the Far East, such species as the Amur tiger, leopard, raccoon dog, sika, and musk deer occur. Many species are endangered and listed in the Russian Red Book. For example, in 1996, there were about 400-450 Amur tigers and no more than 40 leopards.

Trees are central to the foodchain in the taiga biomes. The majority of taiga trees bear fruit infrequently, once in 3-4 years in the southern taiga and once in 7-11 years in the northern taiga and forest-tundra. Seeds provide small mammals and birds with nutrition and the bird and animal population correlates closely with harvests.

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