The taiga comprises the coniferous, evergreen forests of subarctic lands, covering enormous areas of Eurasia and Northern America up to the southern border of the tundra. It also is encountered in much of North America's mountainous western region. Lengthy, cold winters and short, sometimes warm, wet summers typify these regions.
The soil is shallow, acidic and contains few nutrients. Usually only one or a few tree species grow in a given area, such as fir, pine or spruce; frequently, there is scant undergrowth. Occasionally deciduous trees make an appearance, such as alder, birch, oak, or willow in an especially moist or perturbed area.
Animals are mainly leaf-eating insects, seed-eating squirrels and jays, and larger browsers such as snowshoe hare, beaver, deer, elk and moose. Typical predators are wolverines, lynxes, wolves and grizzly (or brown) bears. Many sport thick, insulated coats against the cold; some hibernate.
Subarctic peoples are the Algonquians and Athapascans.