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■ Russian Arctic regions stretch from the North Pole to the border of the Eurasian continent. Ice is the major feature of the Arctic. Climatic conditions here are extremely harsh, even in summer air temperature approaches 0˚C. Snow is the only form of precipitation the year round. During the long winter months the Arctic is submerged in stark darkness, while in summer the sun never passes below the horizon.

In spite of the unfavourable environment life still exists in the Arctic. Mosses, lichens, creeping and dwarf shrubs are to be found growing on the shallow arctic soils of the islands scattered in the Arctic Ocean. The sea is habitat of about 200 species of algae and abounds in animal plankton.

Loons and gulls build their nests on the rocks, forming great colonies. Among the typical for this zone mammals mention should be made of walruses, seals, killer whales, whalebone whales, lemmings, and Arctic foxes. White bear has long been the symbol of the Arctic.

► 1. Which words in the passage have the same meaning as:

severe, adj common, adj create, v

area, n bush, n?

2. What do 200 species refer to?

3. How do you pronounce the following: algae, walrus, horizon?

4. What is the dominant feature of the Arctic landscape?

5. Which words in the passage have the opposite meaning to:

above, adv short, adj lose, v?

6. Are lemmings predators?

7. What is the symbol of the Arctic?

8. Explain the meaning of the words mosses and lichens.

9. How do you understand the meaning of the verb abound?


■ The tundra occupies a vast area. In the European part it only skirts the seashore, while in Siberia it extends as far as 500 km deep into the mainland.

Strong winds are characteristic of the tundra. Winter is long and cold; summer is short, with frequent and prolonged drizzles. Most of the tundra is in the permafrost zone. A typical tundra landscape features a waterlogged plain with numerous shallow ponds.

The tundra environment is monotonously unvaried. Plant life is represented essentially by mosses and lichens.

During the short period of vegetation the green land plants and algae in the innumerable ponds produce organic matter in quantities sufficient to feed thousands of migrating birds (geese, ducks, sandpipers, etc.), and endemic mammals (reindeer, Arctic foxes, lemmings, etc.). Water bodies in the tundra abound in fish (salmons are prevalent).

The people living in this zone are engaged in pasture reindeer-breeding and fur and feather production.

► 1. Which words in the passage have the same meaning as:

stretch, v vegetation, n water reservoir, n dominant, adj?

2. What does 500km refer to?

3. How do you pronounce the following: monotonously, unvaried, sufficient?

4. What characterizes the tundra?

5. Which words in the passage have the opposite meaning to:

shallow, adj long, adj seldom, adj vegetation, n?

6. What are people engaged in?

7. Explain the meaning of the words permafrost and breeding.


■ The tundra is fringed in the south by a narrow strip of the forest-tundra, which is a kind of transitory zone between the tundra and the taiga.

The species composition of sparse growth varies in different parts of the forest-tundra: birch on the Kola Peninsula, spruce to the east as far as the Urals, and larch in Siberia.

The forest-tundra is populated by all typical for the tundra animals, but there are also animals common for the taiga (greater-spotted woodpecker, wood-grouse, hazel-grouse, brown bear, elk, etc.).

Reindeer-breeding, hunting and berry-picking make up this zone’s economy.

► 1. Which words in the passage have the same meaning as:

sort, n various, adj fauna, n?

2. Where is forest-taiga located?

3. What animals are the most popular?

4. What are people engaged in?


■ The taiga extends from the forest-tundra margin to the line Moscow-Ufa-Yekaterinburg-Omsk-Krasnoyarsk in the south (taking in the Altai and the Sayan) all along Russia from its western borders to Kamchatka and Sakhalin. The taiga landscape is uniform and stern. The major tree species in the forests are larch, spruce, pine, Siberian cedar, and silver fir. In some places the gloomy colours of boreal coniferous forests are enlivened by the lighter spots of birch groves, in others the coniferous are mixed with aspen and alder. Pine forests grow on dry sand soils.

Life conditions in the taiga are rather hard – in summer air temperature may happen to be +35…+38˚C; in winter –50˚C. Fauna in the taiga is much more varied than in the tundra. There are voles, flying squirrel, greater-spotted and black woodpeckers, crossbill, common viper, etc. The taiga forests are the main source of fur (sable, beaver, squirrel, fox, mountain hare). The taiga is also the major supplier of timber.

At its south-western border the taiga gradually gives way to mixed coniferous-deciduous forest in which further to the west and south the conifers are replaced by broad-leaved species (oak, maple, lime, ash, elm). Here lie the vast expanses of mixed and broad-leaved forests of the European part of Russia. This area has sufficient moisture throughout the year, summer is rather warm and winter not too frigid. The following animals are typical for the European broad-leaved forests: marten, European mink, wild boar, roe deer, golden oriole, common nightingale, bear, badger, hedgehog, bats.

► 1. Which words in the passage have the same meaning as:

dark, adj main, adj slowly, adv

wet, adj wood, n cold, adj?

2. What do –50˚C refer to?

3. How do you pronounce the following: species, coniferous, deciduous, throughout?

4. Can you show on the map the extension of the taiga in Russia?

5. Do Siberian and European forests differ? Give examples.


■ The forest-steppe is a transitory zone featuring a whole complex of forest and steppe species. Along with marten, squirrel and elk there are ground squirrels and marmots; kestrels, wood larks and grey warblers build their nests in the thickness of trees and bushes, while the steppe is inhabited by steppe eagles, quails and skylarks.

The forest-steppe is highly fertile. In western areas 70-80% of land is under crop.

Today almost all steppe lands are turned into ploughland and are in fact a big cornfield interrupted only occasionally by small patches of wild nature.

The latter host such steppe birds as bustard, little bustard, steppe eagle, skylark, also ground squirrel and other animals.

A forestation and irrigation aimed at “softening” this zone’s climate bring in considerable changes in the natural conditions of the steppes, attracting forest animals and plants and generally improving life environment.

► 1. Which words in the passage have the same meaning as:

nowadays, adv factually, adv sometimes, adv part, n?

2. What does 80% refer to?

3. Explain the meaning of the words ploughland, forestation.

4. What improves the environment of the forest-steppe and why?


■ Much space between the steppe zone and the Caspian Sea is under semi-desert. Winter is rather cold here (mean January air temperature is about

–10˚C), spring is short, and the long summer is hot and dry (mean July temperature is normally +22…+25˚C). The open spaces of sun-parched land, covered in places by a low growth of wormwood are spotted with bitter lakes and solonchaks.

Deserts are to be found only in the southern part of the Caspian Depression: to the east from the Volga delta is the sagebrush-fescue desert; to the west, the sandy desert.

► 1. Which words in the passage have the same meaning as:

territory, n severe, adj salty, adj?

2. What do –10˚C refer to?

3. Explain the word solonchak.

4. Describe the seasons in semi-deserts.

■ The southern part of the Krasnodar Territory is a narrow strip of coastal land between the Caucasian Mountains and the Black Sea. These are the subtropics: both dry and humid subtropics are to be found on the territory of Russia.

Oaks, oriental hornbeam, cornel, juniper, pistachio, and other drought-resistant xerophytes grow in dry subtropics. There are quite a number of animals representative of Mediterranean fauna (mollusks, reptiles, birds).

More typical of humid subtropics are chestnut and beech, the evergreen laurel, yew, box, etc. Among the animals and birds one can mention common marten, Caucasian squirrel, wild cat, short-toed tree creeper and also such Caucasian subspecies of birds as coal tit, hedge sparrow, wren, red-breast, and others.

Subtropics of Russia are famous for their excellent health resorts.

► 1. What species of flora and fauna can be found in the subtropics and can’t be found in Western Siberia?

2. Name all climatic zones mentioned in the text The Richness and Diversity of Russian’s Natural Resources.


5.23. Read the text In the Estuary of the Lena and give the review of it. (See Unit 11).

Date: 2016-04-22; view: 192

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