Boreal Forests

The boreal forest (also known as the Taiga) is named after Boreas, the Greek god of the cold north wind and the bringer of winter. He is described as strong and violently tempered, similar to the winters in this biome.

The boreal forest makes up roughly 30% of the world’s remaining global forest area, comprising a whopping 11.5% of earth’s terrestrial landscape. Since most of the trees in a boreal forest are conifers, they are capable of photosynthesizing throughout the winter, which helps with carbon sequestration, acting as an important carbon sink for the Earth’s atmosphere. Many of the understory plants in this biome are comfortable growing in acidic conditions, and many different berries can be found along forest floors and edges.

Balsam fir (Abies balsamea), paper birch (Betula papyrifera), pines (Pinus spp.) and spruces (Picea spp.) dominate these woods.

Blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), raspberries (Rubus spp.), and cranberries (Vaccinium spp.) are just a few of the edible species found in the understory.

Warblers, vireos, owls, chickadees (Poecile spp.), and nuthatches (Sitta spp.) commonly breed in these woods.

There are 53 species of mammals in the Adirondacks, with many of them being found in the boreal forests. Pine martins (Martes americana), black bear (Ursus americanus), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), bobcats (Lynx rufus), snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) and a variety of rodents are just a few of the most common.

To explore boreal habitats at the VIC, visit our Boreal Life trail.