Sometimes, the subshrub and moss layers in the taiga forest are distributed in patches, in a mosaic pattern.
In many taiga ecosystems, it has been shown that almost the only place where tree seeds germinate successfully is on fallen logs and trunks, as leaf litter prevents successful germination elsewhere.
These animals are scarce in the taiga, however, and their contribution to the formation of mosaics is almost irrelevant.
Thus, the spruce forests of the plains of eastern Europe and Siberia typically show a variation in plant biomass from 45-89 short tons/acre (100-200 metric tons/ha) in the northern taiga, 89-120 short tons/acre (200-270 metric tons/ha) in the central taiga, and 120-156 short tons/acre (270-350 metric tons/ha) in the southern taiga.
Animal biomass in the European taiga increases from 89 lb/acre (100 kg/ha) in the northern subzone to 268 lb/acre (300 kg/ha) in the southern subzone.
In the northern European and western Siberian taiga, the annual growth of the plant biomass is 1.8-2.7 short tons/acre (4-6 metric tons/ha), and less than 0.9 short ton/acre (2 metric tons/ha) in eastern Siberia; the figures reach 2.7-3.6 short tons/acre (6-8 metric tons/ha) in the central taiga, 3.6-4.5 short tons/acre (8-10 metric tons/ha) in the southern taiga, and even higher in some places.
Because most of the plants in boreal forests are evergreen, photosynthesis can take place even during the colder periods of the year, despite the harsh climatic conditions, and this is why the level of production in the taiga is very high.
The vertebrates of the taiga are mainly herbivores.
Taiga invertebrates can barely digest recently fallen leaves, but they become much easier to digest once rain has washed out a part of the phenolic substances they contain.
One of the most distinctive features of the taiga is the large number of saprophytic and semisaprophytic plants that grow there.
In the taiga, dry rot is mainly due to species of Coniophora, Coriolus, Gloeophyllum, etc., while white root rot is mainly owing to species of Fomitopsis, Stereum, Armillaria, and others.
Fungi are important in taiga ecosystems because in addition to decomposing organic matter, they perform another vital function: forming mycorrhizae (a symbiotic relationship) with the roots of vascular plants.