Noun: Taiga is the name of the biome or ecosystem that consists of large coniferous forests in the northern hemisphere that are just south of the tundra. The taiga--also known as snowforest or the boreal forest-- is the largest terrestrial biome in the world, covering huge swaths of Canada, Russia, and Scandinavia as well as northern reaches of the United States, Mongolia, and Japan. It can reach some of the coldest temperatures on earth, rivaled only by the permanent ice caps and the tundra. This biome makes up 29% of the world's forest cover. In spite of the harsh conditions, many animal species thrive in the taiga, including some reptile and amphibian.
Origins: Russian, the Altai mountain range... first appeared in the late 19th century.