|Tundra is described as an area where levels of subsoil beneath the surface of the
earth are permanently frozen. This soil is referred to as permafrost. The level of
earth above the permafrost will thaw in the short summer allowing plants to grow.
This level will then freeze again in the winter and most of the plants will go dormant.
The permafrost makes it difficult or impossible for trees to root down into the ground,
so one of the characteristics of tundra is that it is often treeless and the land appears
barren. Another characteristic of tundra is that it, like deserts, receives little
precipitation. Tundra will also reach extremely frigid temperatures, especially in the
winter when it receives little to no sunlight. Tundra has two variations, Arctic Tundra
and Alpine Tundra. Arctic Tundra can be found near or north of the Arctic circle
around the north pole. Alpine Tundra can be found at various latitudes on earth but
is located at high altitudes on mountains where trees do not grow.
Areas that have arctic tundra include: northern Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland,
northern Russia, and parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula (Norway, Sweden and
Alpine tundra occurs throughout much of the world at high altitudes, generally
beginning between 10,000 and 11,000 feet. Alpine tundra has similar conditions to
arctic tundra including plant types and treeless terrain. Plant types of the alpine
tundra include small shrubs and lichens.