The Arctic or Arctic Regions referat






The Arctic or Arctic Regions, large, cold area around the North Pole. The Arctic is not a clearly defined area. It includes the Arctic Ocean, many islands, and parts of the mainlands of North America, Asia, and Europe.

Rivers and Lakes  Low precipitation is characteristic of the Arctic, so large and elaborate river and lake systems are rare. In many places, however, permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil) restricts the downward drainage of meltwater from snow, and the water accumulates on the surface as shallow lakes, ponds, and marshes. In addition, rivers from more humid regions flow seaward across the dry Arctic terrain. Several large rivers are in the Russian Arctic, and the Mackenzie and Yukon rivers are in North America.

Vegetation and Wildlife  The Arctic is not a frozen desert devoid of life on land or sea, even during the cold, dark winter months. Spring brings a phenomenal resurgence of plant and animal life. Low temperatures are not always the critical element—moisture, the type of soil, and available solar energy are also extremely important. Some animals adapt well to Arctic conditions; for instance, a number of species of mammals and birds carry additional insulation, such as fat, in cold months.

The Arctic has more than 400 species of flowering plants. The vast stretches of tundra that cover the plains and coastal regions consist of low creeping shrubs, grasses, thick growths of lichens and mosses, and herbs and sedges.

Abundant animal life inhabits the Arctic, both on land and in the sea. Arctic mammals include polar bear, arctic fox, ermine, marten, arctic wolf, wolverine, walrus, seal, caribou, reindeer (domesticated caribou), musk-ox, lemming, arctic hare, and many species of whale.

Birds are plentiful throughout the Arctic. The guillemot and little auk nest by the thousands along cliffs. Ravens, snow buntings, and sandpipers have been seen in the remotest northern land regions, as have the snowy owl and the gyrfalcon. Various species of gull, including the jaeger, also range far to the north. Among other characteristic Arctic birds are the eider duck, teal, loon, petrel, puffin, and ptarmigan. Insects, found in the Arctic wherever vegetation exists, include bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles, and grasshoppers. Coastal waters are relatively rich in such fish as cod, flatfish, halibut, salmon, and trout. A large variety of invertebrates have been observed in Arctic seas.

Mineral Resources  Large deposits of several important minerals occur in the Arctic. Among them are petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nickel, lead, zinc, coal, uranium, tin, diamonds, gold, and cryolite.

Agriculture  The Arctic environment is generally unfavorable to the production of food by cultivation or animal husbandry. Reindeer herding, however, is important in northern Scandinavia and Russia and to a lesser extent in the Arctic areas of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. Sheep are raised in southwestern Greenland and in Iceland. Dairy farming to supply nearby communities is widespread; almost 1 million cattle are in northern Russia alone.

Fishing  Fish from rivers and lakes are important for the diet of people living in the Arctic. Russia has highly developed river fisheries serving the local population as well as customers in distant cities. The Arctic Ocean is among the world’s most important fishing grounds, and many countries send fishing boats to it. Large amounts of cod and shrimp are caught off western Greenland.





Mining  The recovery of minerals is an important industry in several parts of the Arctic Regions. In Russia, nickel, iron ore, and apatite are produced on the Kola Peninsula, and diamonds are mined in the Lena River valley. Other major mineral products in the Russian Arctic include gold, tin, coal, mica, and tungsten. Sweden has produced iron ore at Kiruna and elsewhere north of the Arctic Circle since about 1900, and Norway has an important iron-ore mine on its northern coast at Kirkenes. Lead, zinc, and molybdenum are produced in Greenland, which formerly recovered much cryolite at Ivigtut. Large coal mines are on Spitsbergen, one of the islands of Svalbard. Mineral products of the Canadian Arctic include uranium, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, asbestos, iron ore, petroleum, and natural gas. Large-scale production of petroleum on the Arctic North Slope of Alaska began in 1977. A proposal in 1987 by the Reagan administration to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development met with strong opposition from various environmental organizations.

Agriculture  The Arctic environment is generally unfavorable to the production of food by cultivation or animal husbandry. Reindeer herding, however, is important in northern Scandinavia and Russia and to a lesser extent in the Arctic areas of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. Sheep are raised in southwestern Greenland and in Iceland. Dairy farming to supply nearby communities is widespread; almost 1 million cattle are in northern Russia alone.

Fishing  Fish from rivers and lakes are important for the diet of people living in the Arctic. Russia has highly developed river fisheries serving the local population as well as customers in distant cities. The Arctic Ocean is among the world’s most important fishing grounds, and many countries send fishing boats to it. Large amounts of cod and shrimp are caught off western Greenland.

Mining  The recovery of minerals is an important industry in several parts of the Arctic Regions. In Russia, nickel, iron ore, and apatite are produced on the Kola Peninsula, and diamonds are mined in the Lena River valley. Other major mineral products in the Russian Arctic include gold, tin, coal, mica, and tungsten. Sweden has produced iron ore at Kiruna and elsewhere north of the Arctic Circle since about 1900, and Norway has an important iron-ore mine on its northern coast at Kirkenes. Lead, zinc, and molybdenum are produced in Greenland, which formerly recovered much cryolite at Ivigtut. Large coal mines are on Spitsbergen, one of the islands of Svalbard. Mineral products of the Canadian Arctic include uranium, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, asbestos, iron ore, petroleum, and natural gas. Large-scale production of petroleum on the Arctic North Slope of Alaska began in 1977. A proposal in 1987 by the Reagan administration to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development met with strong opposition from various environmental organizations.


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