Temperate Deciduous Forest
By Richelle Matarazzo
Abiotic Factors, location and more!
The Temperate Deciduous Forest has many features making it a very interesting biome. They can be located in every continent except for Antarctica. In North America they are mostly located in the east. In Asia they are heavily located in Southwest Russia, Japan and Eastern China. Big areas of Chile and the middle east coast of Paraguay have them. New Zealand and Southern Australia are also known for the forests. The temperate deciduous forests have hot summers and very cold winters. Precipitation in this biome happens year round making the soil very fertile attracting many plants and animals.
The average annual temperature in the Temperate Deciduous Forest is 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. The average rainfall is 30 to 60 inches in a year. It is known for having four distinct seasons. There is Summer, Spring, Winter, and Autumn. In Autumn the leaves change color from a green color to a red, fall off, and grow back in the spring. This is because in the winter the plants and trees adapt to the cold and go into a hibernation or dormancy so then when the warmer temperatures come back, they can bloom again.
The Temperate Deciduous Forest is known for having a wide variety of plants. Most of these forests have three, four or even five layers of plants. There is the floor level of plants that consist of lichen, moss, ferns, and other small plants. Shrubs make up the middle level and hardwood trees such as maple, oak, magnolia, sweet gum, beech and even the tall spruce, fern, conifers and pine trees make up the third layer. Plants adapt differently for the climate. For example, wild flowers and berries bloom quicker than the deciduous leafs do because they try and take advantage of the sunlight at the top layer. Also, tall trees like maple, oak, and beech trees produce thin leaves in the warm weather so they can soak in sunlight better, thus making them able to make food for themselves (photosynthesis.) In the winter though, they adapt and cut off water supply to the leaves and the path from the leaf stem to the tree trunk. This is because they can't have the thin leaves out during the cold weather due to water and tissue damage it can cause. So, the trees won't be able to produce chlorophyll, the leaves will turn red and dry, and they will fall off until the next spring.
A wide variety of mammals, birds, insects and reptiles make up The Temperate Deciduous Forest. Common mammals found in this biome are squirrels, raccoons, deer, elk, skunks, wood mice, bobcats, mountain lions and coyotes. Eating, drinking, finding shelter, and reproducing are essential for survival. In the forest organisms must be able to adapt to climate changes to as well. Birds such as cardinals and hawks migrate off the land during winter to adapt to the weather. Squirrels, hedgehogs, and bears hibernate during the winter to adapt to the cold weather.
Predators/Prey relationships in The Temperate Deciduous Forest:
- Cougar (predator)/deer (prey)
- Skunk (predator)/ butterfly (prey)
- Fox (predator)/ mouse (prey)
- Bear (predator)/ deer (prey)
Competition in the forest is very common. For example, a bear and cougar fight for food. They both eat deer, so they have to compete for it so they get the amount they both need to survive. Many species compete for shelter. You need that resource to survive. So, species must fight for where they can live or else they could get killed off.
Many Temperate Deciduous Forests have lost land to farming and towns. People are trying to build homes where the animals of the Temperate Deciduous Forests' habitats are. Hunting is also a big issue. Animals such as elk and bison have nearly been hunted toward extinction. People need to keep this biome alive because it is not only important for the animals and plants that live there but for the humans as well. It supplies oxygen, food and prevents acid rain. The plants, animals and we are at risk because we could loose a valuable biome from our own doing.
- Sometimes the Taiga and Temperate Deciduous Forest overlap.
- Recycling can help the forest stay alive
- A behavioral adaption animals of the forest have used is food storage during the winter