Taiga (/ˈtaɪɡə/; Russian: тайга́; ; from Turkic or Mongolian), also known as the boreal forest, is a biome characterized by coniferous forests consisting mostly of pines, spruces and larches.
Taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States and is known as the Northwoods. It also covers most of Sweden, Finland, much of Norway, lowland/coastal areas of Iceland, much of Russia from St. Petersburg in the west to the Pacific ocean (including much of Siberia), northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, and northern Japan (on the island of Hokkaidō). However, the main tree species, the length of the growing season and summer temperatures vary. For example, the taiga of North America consists of mainly spruces; Scandinavian and Finnish taiga consists of a mix of spruce, pines and birch; Russian taiga has spruces, pines and larches depending on the region, the Eastern Siberian taiga being a vast larch forest.
The term "boreal forest" is sometimes used (particularly in Canada but also in Scandinavia and Finland) to refer to the more southerly part of the biome, while the term taiga is often used to describe the more barren areas of the northernmost part of the taiga approaching the tree line and the tundra biome.