The tundra consists of very cold regions in the far northern and southern parts of the world. Despite frigid temperatures and minimal precipitation, some plants, animals and humans do live in the tundra. A variety of resources and wildlife can be found there, attracting people from around the globe. Others seek to study or photograph the tundra's unique characteristics. Although the tundra climate proves far from desirable for agriculture or logging, a variety of human activities regularly occur there.
The summer growing season remains very short in the tundra climate, so most farming is livestock-oriented. People in some far northern regions operate sheep, cattle or reindeer farms, according to the Encarta Encyclopedia. Such animals eat small plants that grow in these areas. Encarta indicates that human activities can easily damage the ecosystem of the tundra; it's important for farmers to avoid causing excessive harm to the environment.
Both natives and foreigners conduct hunting activities in the tundra. They hunt caribou, musk ox and other animals, according to the High Arctic Lodge. The lack of trees means that hunters do not apply the same techniques they use in many parts of the world. ThinkQuest indicates that over hunting seriously endangers some species in the far north, especially musk oxen. Some hunters are drawn to the tundra to find species that seldom or never appear elsewhere in the world.
Drilling and mining activities also occur in the tundra. Canada, Greenland and Russia conduct mining for various resources, such as nickel, according to ThinkQuest. Canada and the U.S. drill for oil in the tundra, as well, sometimes exporting it to other countries. These activities have caused significant environmental harm. The lack of large human populations in tundra areas helps oil and mining companies to avoid scrutiny. However, corporations and governments have faced increasing pressure from environmentalists to protect the arctic from further harm.
People also visit the tundra as tourists and engage in activities such as mountain climbing. Some scientists travel to tundra regions to study climate, wildlife and other subjects. Workers construct buildings and infrastructure from time to time. The small human population that lives in the tundra carries out day-to-day activities such as buying groceries, going to school, listening to music, cooking and so on.
- "Encarta Encyclopedia Standard"; Tundra; Robert Leo Smith; 2004
- "Encarta Encyclopedia Standard"; Arctic; Microsoft; 2004
- High Arctic Lodge: Hunting