Temperate Deciduous Forest

Nana Pourshiravi APES 3

Basic Description

Temperate deciduous forests are located in the mid-latitude areas which means that they are found between the polar regions and the tropics. They are found in areas with warm, moist summers and mild winters. The deciduous forest regions are exposed to warm and cold air masses, which cause this area to have four seasons. Temperate deciduous forests or temperate broad-leaf forests are dominated by trees that lose their leaves each year.

Locations and Abiotic Factors

Temperate deciduous forests can be found in middle Europe, eastern North America, Russia, Japan, and parts of eastern China. ex. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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Climate

This biome has 4 distinct seasons, unlike any other biomes. The 4 seasons are: summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Temperate deciduous forests have an average temperate of 70 degrees in the summer, and the winters are generally cool, never too cold. Summer months consist of about 18+ inches of rainfall. In the winter months, there is an average of 14 inches of rain. This biome is commonly located near the sea, so the ocean and wind have a major effect on the general climate changes of this biome.


Soil Type

The main soil types are alfisols and ultisols. Alfisols are moderately leached soils, and are considered to have high fertility, which makes sense given that the broad-leafed species in this biome demand a lot of nutrients. Their high fertility is enhanced by the fact that temperate deciduous forests are situated in mild climates with favorable weather for most of the year. These soils do not have a bleached E horizon, but do have clays that accumulate in the subsoils. Ultisols are warmer-weather soils, and chiefly in the U.S. Southeast, ranging from northern Florida to about Louisiana and north into Pennsylvania. They tend to be reddish or yellowish, owing to a high content of oxidized iron. These soils here are a lot older and more acidic.

Plant Life

Temperate deciduous forests have a diverse selection of plants. The majority of plants are trees that cover large portions of temperate deciduous forests and can exceed massive heights. All of the plants have found their own way of adapting to the changing seasons and climate of temperate deciduous forests. For example, wildflowers grow in early spring before the trees grow back leaves and shade them from the sun. The deciduous trees have thin leaves that absorb plenty sunlight for food during the warmer seasons. During the colder seasons, they drop the leaves and grow new ones in the springs. Trees in this biome also have thick bark that shields them from the harsh, cold weather during winter. Before the leaves die, some of the food they already have is stored back in the tree and it is used for the spring. Plants in the temperate deciduous forest biome include: maple, oak, birch, and magnolia trees.

Animal Life

Temperate deciduous forests have a biodiversity of animals. That includes: eagles, cardinals, white-tailed deer, brown bear, geese, and chipmunks. Since temperate deciduous forests have changing seasons, the animals have to adapt. Many animals, for example, bears, hibernate during the cold winter months. Also, the climate that the bald eagle lives in may affect its reproduction, therefore, they have learned to reproduce during the winters. Different species of birds (e.g. geese) have to migrate to warmer habitats during winter to find food. When food is rare in the winter months, squirrels and chipmunks gather nuts and seeds to keep under leaves or in tree hollows. To adapt to the freezing winters, white-tailed deer will create herds to stay warm. An example of competition would be a bear and a cougar both fighting over fish. An example of cooperation would be a squirrel and a chipmunk working together to get the food they needed. Predator/prey relationship examples would be: a cougar preying a white-tailed deer, a bald-eagle preying on an Eastern chipmunk, a fox preying on a small rodent, or a brown bear preying on a deer.


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Ecological Concerns

There are many threats to the world's temperate deciduous forests. One, the burning of the fossil fuels are creating pollutants that harm the wildlife and poison the soil. Also, many of the forests and trees are being cleared and cut down which deprives many animals of shelter. Endangered species include: the blue-spotted salamander, the wood turtle, and the long-eared owl. The blue-spotted salamander for example is mainly endangered due to being frequently impacted by development or habitat fragmentation. The temperate deciduous forest is very biodiverse, therefore protecting it means protecting biodiversity.

Fun Facts!

  • Temperate deciduous forests are divided into five zones according to the height of the trees.
  • Temperate deciduous forests have the second most amount of rainfall after the rain forest biome.
  • The trees are deciduous, meaning they change colors during each season and fall during winter.
  • Temperate deciduous forests get their name because temperate means temperature that's not extreme.