Deciduous Forests By: Ericka Fuller and Heather Lund
Deciduous Forest The mid-latitude deciduous forest biome is located between the polar regions and the tropics. Because of its location, air masses from both the cold polar region and the warm tropical region contribute to the changes of climate in this biome.
Fertile Soil “Deciduous" means to fall off, or shed, seasonally. Just as the name implies, these deciduous trees shed their leaves each fall. Lying on the forest floor, the leaves decay. As the leaves decompose, the nutrients contained in the leaves are absorbed by the soil. For this reason, the soils of this biome tend to be very fertile.
Five Layers of Forest Growth Tall deciduous trees make up the top layer of plant growth, and they create a moderately dense forest canopy. Although the canopy is moderately dense, it does allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. This sunlight allows plants in the other layers to grow. The second layer of plant growth includes saplings and species of trees that are naturally shorter in stature.
Five Layers of Forest Growth A third layer (or understory) would include shrubs. Forest herbs, such as wildflowers and berries, make up a fourth layer. During the spring, before the deciduous trees leaf out, these herbs bloom and grow quickly in order to take advantage of the sunlight. A fifth layer would include mosses and lichens that grow on tree trunks.
Agricultural Uses Because this biome has fertile soil and a long, 5 to 6 month, growing season, many deciduous forests have been converted into agricultural regions.
Deciduous Forest: Plants Trees of this biome include both broadleaf, deciduous trees, such as maple, oak, hickory, and beech, and evergreens, such as hemlock, spruce, and fir. A deciduous forest typically has three to four, and sometimes five, layers of plant growth.
Plant Adaptations In the spring, deciduous trees begin producing thin, broad, light-weight leaves. This type of leaf structure easily captures the sunlight needed for food production (photosynthesis). The broad leaves are great when temperatures are warm and there is plenty of sunlight.
Plant Adaptations However, when temperatures are cold, the broad leaves expose too much surface area to water loss and tissue damage. To help prevent this damage from occurring, deciduous trees make internal and physical adaptations that are triggered by changes in the climate.
Deciduous Forest Animals A wide variety of mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles can be found in a deciduous forest biome. Mammals that are commonly found in a deciduous forest include bears, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, wood mice, and, in the U.S., Deer can be found in these forests.
Animals in Danger While bobcats, mountain lions, timberwolves, and coyotes are natural residents of these forests, they have nearly been eliminated by humans because of their threat to human life. Other animals that were native to this biome, such as elk and bison, have been hunted to near extinction.
Animal Adaptations Migration and hibernation are two adaptations used by the animals in this biome. While a wide variety of birds migrate, many of the mammals hibernate during the cold winter months when food is in short supply.
Recommendations: Tip #1 Desk side recycling keep a box under your desk to use as your personal recycling bin rather than throwing paper in the trash. When the bin is full, take it to the communal recycling bin. Desk side recycling
Tip #2 Recycling Centers Are Always Adding to Their List of Accepted Items, Especially More Kinds of Paper Products. Check With Your Local Recycling Centers Frequently to See What Items Their Accepting.
Tip #3 Recycling at the copier If your office has a workstation with a photocopier, make sure that the recycling bin is easily accessible to those using the copier and recycle any unused or excess copies. Recycling at the copier
Tip #4 Separate your recyclables with paper bags Set up large paper bags in your kitchen to separate your recycling. Separate your recyclables with paper bags