Deciduous forests are biomes that are classified by the seasonal weather patterns they experience – in that they go through all four seasons, with trees losing their leaves each fall and winter.
The deciduous forest biomes lie between regions and the tropics. This is why the air masses from both the biomes contribute to the changes in climate in this biome.
- Deciduous forests occur in locations all over the world, including in both Northern and Southern hemispheres.
- The world’s largest deciduous forests are typically concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere, with North America, Europe, and parts of Russia, China, and Japan.
- However, there are deciduous forests in the Southern hemisphere as well, although these are typically much smaller than those in the Northern.
- Parts of Australia, southern Asia and South America are home to some deciduous forests, though the animal life in these regions is typically different from those in the North.
- Deciduous forests tend to thrive in areas that have mountains, and particularly in places that have a range of types of soil.
- Since deciduous forests are defined by the fact that their trees lose leaves every year with the change of the seasons, it goes without saying that the climate of most deciduous forests is not extreme, but does change depending on the time of the year.
- These areas will experience four clearly defined seasons a year, and each time of the year promotes a range of different activities in both the plant and animal life.
- Deciduous forests are also sometimes called Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forests, which suggests that they are often found in temperate climate zones.
- Deciduous forests are full of the quintessential fall trees, those that change color before their leaves drop entirely during the winter.
- The deciduous forest in the Northeastern United States attracts millions of people each year who wish to experience the changing leaves.
- The deciduous forest regions have four seasons.
- The temperature varies from cold winters to hot and dry summers.
- These deciduous trees shed their leaves each fall. As leaves decay, the nutrients contained in the leaves are absorbed by the soil. The leaves change color in autumn, fall off in winter, and grow back in the spring.
- The tree life in a deciduous forest is affected by the region’s weather. Milder winters will typically promote a larger diversity among tree species.
- While deciduous forests are mostly found in temperate zones that experience the four seasons, there are also some to be found in tropical, sub-tropical, and savanna regions.
- Because deciduous forests are found all over the world, the temperatures found in each will vary depending on location.
- However, since trees in these forests lose their leaves once a year, the average temperature of a deciduous forest is typically around 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), with winters dropping much colder.
- Deciduous forests must have a period without frost on the ground for at least 120 days, but in some areas, this is as much as 250 days without frost cover a year.
- Rainfall will vary depending on the location of forests, but in general, deciduous forests will require enough rain to promote new leaf growth on trees and to provide enough moisture for the lower plants and animals under the tree despite canopy cover.
- Rain falls around the year in deciduous forests, and in some locations, snowfall is common for winter precipitation.
- Typically, the average rainfall for a deciduous forest is in the range of 30 to 60 inches annually.
- Temperate deciduous forests have a great variety of plant species.
- Most have three levels of plants.
- Lichen, moss, ferns, wildflowers and other small plants can be found on the forest floor.
- Shrubs fill in the middle level and hardwood trees like maple, oak, birch, magnolia, sweet gum and beech make up the third level.
- Conifers like spruce, fir and pine trees can also be found mixed in with the hardwood trees in this biome.
- Sometimes the taiga and the temperate deciduous forest overlap.
Animals that live in the temperate deciduous forest must be able to adapt to the changing seasons. Some animals in this biome migrate or hibernate in the winter.
- The yearly change in the amount of canopy cover also affects the animal life of deciduous forests.
- While there are many animals that thrive in this biome, the presence of humans and industry has affected the longevity of many species.
- Birds have learned to migrate with the timing of the seasons and return to deciduous forests when the canopy is covered, which allows safe place s to raise young and easy access to a number of insects. Spring warblers and a number of woodpeckers are very common in deciduous forests.
- Amphibious creatures thrive in deciduous forests, both because they can easily find shelter in old and worn wood, but also because they can access pools of moisture and vary amounts of sun and shade. Salamanders, in particular, are a common sight.
- Insects are essential components of the deciduous forest biome because they are responsible for pollinating much of the plant life. Bees are found in nearly every forest, and butterflies, moths, and flies also serve pollinating purposes.
- Animal Life includes Red-crowned crane, Owls, Hawks, Squirrels, Sable,Black bears, Wolves, Leopard, Lynx, Siberian tiger, Otters, Red panda
- Deer: Though not typically thought of as forest-dwelling animals, deer have adapted to areas that have been changed by the presence of humans. Unfortunately, deer can be harmful to new growth in forests, so they have become a concern for the long-term preservation of deciduous forests
- Humans: Most temperate forests have become attractive homes for people over the course of social and cultural development. Most of the trees in deciduous forests have long served lumber purposes, making many parts of the world prone to deforestation. Also, because these areas are home to many people, roads and development have encroached further on both the plant and animal life in the area. The adaptable and fertile soil of deciduous forests has also made it attractive as agricultural land, another concern for forest preservationists.