"Coniferous" is a word that means "coming from the cones." Coniferous forests consist chiefly of trees that produce cones: Pines, Spruces, and Cedars primarily. The "cones" the trees produce contain seeds which the cones' weight prevents from traveling far from the parent tree. The cones are designed to roll about three linear feet when they fall to the ground and then become wedged into the soil. This is nature's way of insuring that the conifers (cone-producing trees) grow in orderly rows, instead of crowding each other out competing for sunlight. In this way, the trees grow nicely to about ceiling height while keeping the pleasing triangular shape that makes them sought-after holiday trees.
Coniferous forests can be found worldwide, mostly between 86 and 98 north latitude. There are some seventeen billion square miles of coniferous forests in the world.
Though it's true that the coniferous forests of the world support some animal species-- like weasels, the lynx and foxes-- the biome is important mainly as the habitat for prized Christmas Trees. Imagine what your December would be like without a fragrant tree culled from one of the worlds' coniferous forests. Conifer oils are also important, being used to produce pine-based cleaning products and pine-scented car air fresheners. Realizing this, environmentalists and scientists have been vigilant in protecting habitat for our our pines, spruces and cedars; especially the Blue Spruce and Scotch Pine which both look great with tinsel and hold up well, even when laden with heavier ornaments.
Major Plant and Animal Life Supported by Coniferous Forests
Web site created by Dr. Alan Gooden, Geobiology Department, Henrietta University, Prempe, NM. Send your comments or questions about biomes to firstname.lastname@example.org