The word tundra comes from the Finnish word "tunturi" meaning treeless plain. The tundra's cold, windy climate makes it a treeless place although short plants do survive.
Canada's tundra regions occur around the North Pole in the Arctic and subarctic regions, reaching south to the taiga forests. Alpine tundra exists above timberline on tall mountains such as in the Canadian Rockies.
Arctic tundra consists of permafrost, a layer of frozen soil that never melts. Water forms bogs or ponds when the upper surface of the permafrost gets saturated, providing critical moisture for plant life.
More than 1,700 types of plants grow on the tundra. Shrubs, reindeer mosses, grasses and lichens as well as more than 400 varieties of flowers live on the tundra.
Some tundra animals such as arctic foxes and ptarmigan rely on changing coats or feathers to camouflage them. Caribou and muskoxen call the tundra home as do migrating birds such as snow geese, rough-legged hawks and snowy owls.
Article Written By Nancy Wagner
Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.