Deciduous Forest Biome Project
By: Ammar Dharani and Aditya Mohekar
Deciduous Forest Introduction
Deciduous Forests are found in mid- latitude areas, places between polar and tropic regions. The regions Deciduous Forests are in Eastern United States, Canada, Europe, China, and Japan. The biome has temperate weather throughout the year, but still experiences all four seasons. The leaves change color in autumn, fall off in the winter and grow back in the spring. The biome is called “Deciduous,” because the trees shed their leaves annually. The terrain of Deciduous Forests is categorized in 3 ways: sparse, medium and dense. Sparse terrain has little or no vegetation. Medium terrain has many trees and has about 70% of it is covered with vegetation. The dense terrain has a huge amount of land that has trees and vegetation, about 85% covered. From cardinals to red foxes and maple oaks to magnolias, Deciduous Forests give shelter to a diverse amount of plants and animals.
Deciduous Forest Climate
Average Temperature - 10° C or 50° F
Temperature Range - -30°C which is -22° F to 30°C which is 86° F.
Deciduous Forests have 4 distinct seasons : spring, summer, autumn, winter.
Winter is extremely cold.
Plants and animals adapted to the climate.
The leaves of trees change color in autumn, fall in winter, and grow back in spring.
Types of Precipitation - rain, snow and sometimes hail
Annual Precipitation - 30 to 60 inches per year
Red Tailed Hawk
Red Tailed Hawks, or Buteo jamaicensis, are a common bird in Deciduous Forest and are the most common hawk in the United States. They prey on voles and rabbits.
The Javelina, also known as Tayassu tajacu, is a pig like mammal that resides in Deciduous Forests in Southwestern United States and Mexico.
Brown Bears, scientifically known as Ursos actos, is a large mammal that inhabits in deciduous forests in Eurasia and North America. It is the largest land- based predator on Earth.
Red Tailed Hawk
Duck- Billed Platypus
Duck- Billed Platypus,' or Ornithorhynchus anatinus, resides in Deciduous Forests in Australia. The Platypus also lives in the freshwater biome. The platypus is a unique mammal since it lays eggs, there are only 2 other mammals like this.
The Eastern Chipmunk, or Tamias striatus, is a ground-dwelling squirrel in many Deciduous Forests in North America.
Least Weasel, scientifically known Mustela nivalis, is found in the deep Northeast Asian Deciduous Forests. It has a long and slender body with sharp nails to harm its prey. This weasel is the smallest carnivore in the world.
Duck- Billed Platypus
Myoxus glis, commonly known as the Fat Dormouse, can be found in Deciduous Forests in Africa, Europe, Asia and Japan. The Fat Dormouse is a nocturnal animal that relies on its whiskers and ears for navigation.
Pileated Woodpecker, or Dryocopus pileatus, is the largest woodpecker in the North American Deciduous Forests. These birds eat carpenter ants by pecking vertically on trees.
Vulpes vulpes, commonly known as Red Fox, are carnivorous hunters who consume rodents, rabbits and birds. They are flexible, in that they can eat almost any animal or plant, including fruits, vegetables, fish, frogs and worms.
Hibernation- Mammals hibernate in the winter because the weather is cold and there are few resources. Hibernation is a sleep-like state in a metabolic decline.
Migration - Birds and other animals migrate in the winter to escape the freezing temperatures. They usually travel south to a place that is warmer and has more resources.
Claws - Claws are a common adaptation in deciduous forests. Birds, foxes and bears have claws that they use to catch and hold prey. Claws also help climb trees, self-defense and digging.
Camouflage- Some organisms, mostly amphibians, use camouflage to blend into their surroundings. One of the most camouflaged organisms, the gray tree frog, uses their warty skin to change color. As the color of the tree changes throughout the seasons, the frog camouflages and changes its color as well.
- Tails - The dormouse, squirrel and other rodents use their tails to balance on rocks and logs. They also need them for climbing up trees. They rarely fall, but when they do, they have a fluffy tail for protection.
The Quercus alba, more commonly known as the White Oak, is a large deciduous tree that can grow from 80 to 100 feet tall. If undisturbed, it can grow for 500 to 600 years. Oak trees are most famous for acorns which are their seeds. Acorns also feed many animals.
The Betula papyrifera, also known as the White Birch is a deciduous tree that grows 70 to 80 feet tall. It lives to about 140 years, which is not very long for most trees. It is most commonly known for having white, paper-like bark that peels easily and its horizontal dark marks.
The Pecan Tree also known as Carya illinoensis, is a deciduous tree that is most commonly known for its nuts, which are called pecans. Pecans are in the walnut family because their nuts are very similar to those of walnuts. The Pecan Tree is also the state tree of Texas.
The American Beech, also known as Fagus grandifolia, is an American tree that grows in the eastern and southern United States. The American Beech reach heights of 90 to 100 feet. The American Beech is generally used for furniture such as tables, benches, and stools.
The Common Lime, known scientifically as Tilia x europaea, is a deciduous tree found in Europe, the British Isles, and in the USA. The Common Lime can grow up to 130 feet and can live for up to 500 years. It has been used as a home remedy for colds, flu, coughs, epilepsy, and indigestion.
Carya ovata, more commonly known as the Shagbark Hickory, is a deciduous tree that grows to about 100 feet tall. This tree usually grows well among Oak Trees. The Shagbark Hickory has several uses including sports equipment and furniture. The nuts of this tree are also edible for humans and squirrels.
Thin, broad and lightweight leaves - Plants in Deciduous Forests have thin broad leaves to capture a lot of sunlight for photosynthesis in the summer.
Leaves fall off - In the winter, the leaves of a deciduous plant fall off to conserve energy by stopping production of chlorophyll and leaves. The leaves grow back in the spring, when temperatures are warm enough to resume normal energy production.
Waxy layer- Cuticles, the waxy layers on a leaf, prevent water loss, known as transpiration. The most common plant that use cuticles are crocuses, which are wild flowers.
Thick, smooth Bark - Many trees have thick bark that is helpful in the winter months by providing warmth. In addition, it helps in the dry times, because it limits evaporation of stored water. The smoother it is, the fewer organisms will grow upon it.
Drip Tips - Drip Tips are an adaptation for many trees, shrubs and other plants because, in the rainy months, it enables water to drip off the leaf quickly. This helps the water to not accumulate on the leaf, which would weigh the leaf down.
Food Web Relationships
Predation - The wolf predates the coyote for energy.
Mutualism - Cardinals and other birds eat insects off of a deer’s skin. This beneifts the cardinal by giving it food and benefits the deer because it becomes insect- free.
Commensalism - The squirrel uses the oak tree for food and protection. The squirrel benefits, but the oak tree does not.
Parasitism - The parasite, Nematode, is common on the skin of bears. Bears are harmed by the parasite, and Nematodes benefit themselves.Competition - The brown bear and the coyote both compete for the white - tailed deer. It is good that there are numerous deer in the forest.
- Many trees contain sap to prevent their roots from freezing in the winter.
- There are five layers of vegetation in any deciduous forest: the ground zone, herb zone, shrub zone, small tree and sapling zone, and the tree stratum zone. Each zone contains plants within a certain range of heights.
- Many insects in the deciduous forest cannot survive the cold winters so they lay their eggs before it gets cold. After it starts to get warmer in the spring, the eggs hatch.
- There is rainfall throughout the year in deciduous forests making water available to the animals that live there. However in the winter the water is usually frozen and animals are unable to drink it.
- When the leaves fall off the trees in the fall it becomes more difficult for several species to hide from predators.