Fenno-Scandia Alpine Tundra & Taiga

About the Area

This Global ecoregion is made up of these terrestrial ecoregions: Kola Peninsula tundra; Scandinavian Montane Birch forest and grasslands. Some of the most rugged terrain in all of Europe is located in this ecoregion, as the mountains have been deeply gouged by glaciers and numerous rivers.
The array of diverse habitats (meadows, birch and pine forests, wetlands) supports an unusual variety of flora and fauna for this latitude. Rivers of the Kola Peninsula provide valuable spawning habitat for the native salmon and dense bird colonies are common along the coast and on nearby islands.

Local Species
Widespread species include the Lynx (Lynx lynx), Red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), Bear (Ursus arctos), and Muskox (Ovibos moschatus). Amongst the birds found here are the Golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria), Lapland bunting (Calcarius lapponicus), Common scoter (Melanitta nigra), and Rough-legged buzzard (Buteo lagopus).

Representative plants include Rhododendron lapponicum, Lotus corniculatus, Gentiana purpurea, Papaver radicatum, Artemisia norvegica and the Northern beech fern (Dryopteris phegopteris). Many of the lakes support plentiful populations of the Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus).

Threats
Petroleum development, overgrazing, logging and tourism all have negative effects in this ecoregion. Radioactive fallout from Chernobyl is still found in lichens and continues to harm wildlife and people.

Additonally, climate change could increasingly threaten the integrity of habitats. On the positive side - the ecoregion includes a large number of protected areas that are linked across international boundaries and the inaccessibility offers additional protection to rare plants and larger predators.

Resources

Size:
302,000 sq. km (117,000 sq. miles)

Habitat type:
Tundra

Geographic Location:
Northern Europe: Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden

Conservation Status:
Vulnerable

Quiz Time!

Apart from hunting for pelts, what is the new poaching threat to the endanged Snow leopard?

Answer:
Bone trading - As tiger bone becomes scarcer, Asian medicine markets are turning to substitutes, with reports that one full snow leopard skeleton was sold for US$10,000.

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