Temperate Deciduous Forest Adaptations

  • Wildflowers grow on forest floor early in the spring before trees leaf-out and shade the forest floor. Many trees are deciduous (they drop their leaves in the autumn, and grow new ones in spring). Most deciduous trees have thin, broad, light-weight leaves that can capture a lot of sunlight to make a lot of food for the tree in warm weather; when the weather gets cooler, the broad leaves cause too much water loss and can be weighed down by too much snow, so the tree drops its leaves. New ones will grow in the spring.The trees have thick bark to protect against cold winters.


  • During a fire, while above-ground portions of grasses may perish, the root portions survive to sprout again. Some prairie trees have thick bark to resist fire. Prairie shrubs readily resprout after fire. Roots of prairie grasses extend deep into the ground to absorb as much moisture as they can. Extensive root systems prevent grazing animals from pulling roots out of the ground. Prairie grasses have narrow leaves which lose less water than broad leaves. Grasses grow from near their base, not from tip, thus are not permanently damaged from grazing animals or fire. Many grasses take advantage of exposed, windy conditions and are wind pollinated. Soft stems enable prairie grasses to bend in the wind.