Temperate Deciduous Forest

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Temperate Deciduous Forests are located in the eastern half of North America and central Europe. Japan, eastern China, and southwest Russia are covered in deciduous forests. Southern Chile and Paraguay are also hot spots. New Zealand and southeastern Australia have them as well.

The 5 Zones

A temperate deciduous forest has 5 different layers/zones:
1. Tree Stratum- this is the tallest layer (60-100 feet high) and has oaks, maple, beech, chestnut, hickory, walnut, etc.
2. Small tree/Sapling layer- short and young trees
3. Shrub zone- azaleas, mountain laurels, huckleberries
4. Herb zone- short and small plants
5. Ground- lichens, mosses


The animals that live in this biome have adapted to frozen winters and hot summers. Since the trees are bare in the fall and winter, it is harder for them to blend in and hide from predators.

Competition: Squirrels and chipmunks both eat and store acorns. They compete against each other for food, but not for nesting. The chipmunks compete against the other chipmunks (squirrels against other squirrels) for shelter.

Cooperation: If two squirrels or two chipmunks were to work together to find acorns, they would be cooperating and helping each other.

Predator/Prey Relationships:
-Skunks eat insects and use their scent glands as protection against predators.
- Possums eat insects and small mammals. To protect itself from predators, it will "play possum" and act dead.
-Owls eat rodents and other birds.
- Brown bears stalk and eat deer, but they also eat plants.


The trees change color in the fall and lose their leaves. Because winters are so cold, they have thick bark. Instead of needles, they have leaves. They flower in the spring and summer. The growing season is about 6 months long. The soil is fertile, which allows plenty of plant growth. Plants and trees have adapted to this biome by having large leaves to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight during growing season.

Temperature and Precipitation

The average temperature is around 50 degrees F., but can reach up to 86 degrees. In the winter, it can drop to freezing. The temperate deciduous forest has 4 seasons: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. It gets an average of 30-60 inches of rain/snow a year.

Ecological Concerns

Acid rain is a major threat to the deciduous forest. It comes from the industrialized cities and it kills the leaves and trees. Also, clear cutting is reducing the amount of forest. Trees are being cut down for lumber and this is taking away animals homes.

Temperate Deciduous Forests are very important because they provide timber, food, and oxygen.

Endangered Species:

Interesting Fact

Some of the insects in this biome cannot survive the harsh winters. Before they die, they lay eggs. The eggs can survive through the winter and hatch in the spring.