In physical geography, tundra is type of biome where the tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term ''tundra'' comes through Russian тундра from the Kildin Sami word ''tūndâr'' "uplands", "treeless mountain tract". There are three types of tundra: arctic tundra,〔 alpine tundra,〔(【引用サイトリンク】work=The World's Biomes )〕 and Antarctic tundra. In tundra, the vegetation is composed of dwarf shrubs, sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens. Scattered trees grow in some tundra regions. The ecotone (or ecological boundary region) between the tundra and the forest is known as the tree line or timberline.
== Arctic ==
Arctic tundra occurs in the far Northern Hemisphere, north of the taiga belt. The word "tundra" usually refers only to the areas where the subsoil is permafrost, or permanently frozen soil. (It may also refer to the treeless plain in general, so that northern Sápmi would be included.) Permafrost tundra includes vast areas of northern Russia and Canada.〔 The polar tundra is home to several peoples who are mostly nomadic reindeer herders, such as the Nganasan and Nenets in the permafrost area (and the Sami in Sápmi).
Arctic tundra contains areas of stark landscape and is frozen for much of the year. The soil there is frozen from down, and it is impossible for trees to grow. Instead, bare and sometimes rocky land can only support low growing plants such as moss, heath (Ericaceae varieties such as crowberry and black bearberry), and lichen. There are two main seasons, winter and summer, in the polar tundra areas. During the winter it is very cold and dark, with the average temperature around , sometimes dipping as low as . However, extreme cold temperatures on the tundra do not drop as low as those experienced in taiga areas further south (for example, Russia's and Canada's lowest temperatures were recorded in locations south of the tree line). During the summer, temperatures rise somewhat, and the top layer of seasonally-frozen soil melts, leaving the ground very soggy. The tundra is covered in marshes, lakes, bogs and streams during the warm months. Generally daytime temperatures during the summer rise to about but can often drop to or even below freezing. Arctic tundras are sometimes the subject of habitat conservation programs. In Canada and Russia, many of these areas are protected through a national Biodiversity Action Plan.
Tundra tends to be windy, with winds often blowing upwards of . However, in terms of precipitation, it is desert-like, with only about falling per year (the summer is typically the season of maximum precipitation). Although precipitation is light, evaporation is also relatively minimal. During the summer, the permafrost thaws just enough to let plants grow and reproduce, but because the ground below this is frozen, the water cannot sink any lower, and so the water forms the lakes and marshes found during the summer months. There is a natural pattern of accumulation of fuel and wildfire which varies depending on the nature of vegetation and terrain. Research in Alaska has shown fire-event return intervals, (FRIs) that typically vary from 150 to 200 years with dryer lowland areas burning more frequently than wetter highland areas.
The biodiversity of tundra is low: 1,700 species of vascular plants and only 48 species of land mammals can be found, although millions of birds migrate there each year for the marshes.〔(【引用サイトリンク】title=Great Plain of the Koukdjuak )〕 There are also a few fish species. There are few species with large populations. Notable animals in the Arctic tundra include caribou (reindeer), musk ox, Arctic hare, Arctic fox, snowy owl, lemmings, and polar bears (only near ocean-fed bodies of water).〔(【引用サイトリンク】work=Blue Planet Biomes )〕 Tundra is largely devoid of poikilotherms such as frogs or lizards.
Due to the harsh climate of Arctic tundra, regions of this kind have seen little human activity, even though they are sometimes rich in natural resources such as oil and uranium. In recent times this has begun to change in Alaska, Russia, and some other parts of the world.
===Relationship with global warming===
A severe threat to tundra is global warming, which causes permafrost to melt. The melting of the permafrost in a given area on human time scales (decades or centuries) could radically change which species can survive there.〔(【引用サイトリンク】work=National Geographic )〕
Another concern is that about one third of the world's soil-bound carbon is in taiga and tundra areas. When the permafrost melts, it releases carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, both of which are greenhouse gases. The effect has been observed in Alaska. In the 1970s the tundra was a carbon sink, but today, it is a carbon source. Methane is produced when vegetation decays in lakes and wetlands.
The amount of greenhouse gases which will be released under projected scenarios for global warming have not been reliably quantified by scientific studies, although a few studies were reported to be underway in 2011. It is uncertain whether the impact of increased greenhouse gases from this source will be minimal or massive.〔
In locations where dead vegetation and peat has accumulated there is a risk of wildfire such as the of tundra which burned in 2007 on the north slope of the Brooks Range in Alaska.〔 Such events may both result from and contribute to global warming.
抄文引用元・出典: フリー百科事典『 ウィキペディア（Wikipedia）』