The area from the Arctic Circle to the North Pole is called the tundra. It consists of the treeless, icebound plains of Canada, Europe and Asia. The inhabitants of Northern Canada, Greenland and Alaska are called Eskimos. The Lapps live in those parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland that line north of the Arctic Circle. The Yakuts and Yuraks live in the northern part of Asia.

Here there are only two marked seasons –summer and winter. The winter is long, cold and dreary, while the summers are cool and brief. The heat of the sun is only able to melt of the ice and snow. The sun, when it does shine, is quite low in the sky-say, just about as high as you would see it at 7 am. And it continues to move along the horizon until it seta. Therefore it has very little power to give heat to these lands. The summer temperatures are about 10 degree cilices. The sun never sets during this time but circle round low in the horizon in the south. Thus daylight is continues.

During the long, dreary winter the temperature drops below freezing point- 40 cilices for about four months of the year. This is also a period without daylight as the North

Pole is turned away from the sun’s rays in December. However it is not absolutely dark as the light from the moon and the stars are reflected on the snow.

Tundra vegetation

The vegetation of the tundra is as poor as alpine vegetation. Trees cannot grow in the tundra as the soil freezes and becomes hard. About half a meter underground is the permafrost, that is, the part of the ground that is frozen permanently. Bushes, marsh grasses, lichens and mosses grow here. In summer berry-bearing bushes grow, blossom and wither away very soon. There is very little rainfall and it occurs only in summer. In summer, swamps form and they become the breeding ground for mosquitoes and black fly.

People of the tundra

People like the Eskimos and Lapps have adapted to life the tundra. Their traditional way of life depended on grazing animals like the reindeer and the caribou; and on fish and seals. The reindeer are herded by the Lapps and the caribou are hunted by the Eskimos. The people of the Arctic add to their incomes by trapping wild animals such as the silver fox, the sable, the ermine and the marten. These skins are very valuable and only the richest of the rich can afford to buy coats made of them. However, wild life conservationists have now banned the trapping and killing of animals for fur.

 

 

 

 


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