Temperate deciduous forests are located in the middle areas, which means that they are found between the Polar Regions and the tropics. The deciduous forest regions are exposed to warm and cold air masses, which cause this area to have four seasons. The temperature varies widely from season to season with cold winters and hot, wet summers. The average yearly temperature is about 10°C. The areas in which deciduous forests are located get about 750 to 1,500 mm of precipitation spread fairly evenly throughout the year. During the fall, trees change color and then lose their leaves. This is in preparation for the winter season. Because it gets so cold, the trees have adapted to the winter by going into a period of dormancy or sleep. They also have thick bark to protect them from the cold weather. Trees flower and grow during the spring and summer growing season. Many different kinds of trees, shrubs, and herbs grow in deciduous forests. Most of the trees are broadleaf trees such as oak, maple, beech, hickory and chestnut. There are also several different kinds of plants like mountain laurel, azaleas and mosses that live on the shady forest floor where only small amounts of sunlight get through.
The biggest feature of this biome happens in the fall, when the leaves change colors. This attracts many visitors to the Temperate Deciduous Forest to gaze upon the beautiful array of colors. The leaves change there before they fall off. They fall off in autumn, which is why these trees are deciduous. Deciduous trees will shed their leaves at the end of each growing season in order for the tree to be able to live through the harsh winter. The trees will grow their leaves back every spring. Trees do this because they go through a dormant state throughout the winter and have no need for leaves. The landscape is also a great place for camping, hiking, or any to do with the outdoors. Those are some of the very few features that draw people to this biome.
Temperate forests are very important to people as they provide enjoyment as well as many resources including food, timber, and oxygen for us to breathe. However, we are also the cause of some major threats to this biome, one of which is acid rain. Acid rain caused by industrial and vehicle emissions damages the leaves of trees, and causes them to produce smaller and fewer seeds. It also reduces the trees' resistance to disease, pests, and frost. Clear cutting of forests is also a threat to this biome. Trees are cut for timber and land cleared for agriculture. Another problem associated with deciduous forests is the introduction of non-native plant and animal species because it upsets the balance of the forest ecosystem. Non-natives may compete for food and habitat space, possibly threatening the native species.
Special Adaptation: beech trees have many leaves to catch sunlight.
Special Adaptation: maple trees lose their leaves in the winter, which cuts down on water loss and prevents the leaves from icing up and killing the tree, it also has bark to protect it from winter.
Special Adaptation: oaks protect themselves by letting their leaves die so that insects won’t destroy them, it also has bark to protect it from winter.
In a temperate forest there are about two to five feet of snow and rain each year. The average temperature of a temperate deciduous forest is about 50 degrees F. The summer temperature is about 82.4. The winter temperature is about 42.8. In the summer there is 60 to 80% humidity. Summer is hot and humid. There is very little sunlight in the temperate forest. They have dense canopies, so very little sunlight can get through.
White tailed deer: The white tailed deer uses camouflage to hide from predators. Box turtle: When the turtle is scared, it pulls inside its shell to blend in to its surroundings and protect itself. Eastern cotton tail rabbit: The Eastern cotton tail rabbit has good eyesight and sense of hearing so they can stay alert from predators.
Hawks: Hawks are really known for their incredible acuity in sight, they are very good at seeing detail and they use their sight to catch prey Coyotes: Coyotes have very sharp teeth so they can catch their prey and feed their young ones (called pups). Also they have a fur coat that keeps them warm during high winds and cold weather. Finally the color of their fur helps them blend into their ecosystem. Black rat snake: Black rat snake is venomous and that would help it catch its pray and avoid being prey.
Brown bears: They have thick insulating coats that are large which enables them to control their body heat. They have sharp claws and teeth that can kill prey and protect their young ones. Also they hibernate during the winter. Cougars: A cougar can leap very high off the ground. They have great hearing, and eye sight which helps them catch their prey. They are also very good swimmers and good at climbing. Squirrels: Squirrels use their busy tails for balance, and has long claws to help it grip the surface it is climbing. It has sharp teeth to crack nuts and sharp claws to protect against enemies. It sleeps away the hottest part of summer.
WIND The wind is a highly variable, nonliving element that has a great impact on things that live in the deciduous forest. Strong winds make the branches and trees fall and begin the decomposition process that returns nutrients that is in plants back to the soil. More mild, less noticeable winds are not any less important. Plants rely on winds to spread pollen, fertilizing plants that are close. But winds also pick up particles from open soil, spreading not only dirt, but any bacteria or fungal particles that may be present in the soil. Long periods of strong winds can even be responsible for spreading disease through a forest. Water: River water: Contains fresh water and food like fish and other living organisms like algae. Animals need fresh water and food to live and without the food and water the animals would die. Animals like bears fish in the river for fish, so the food in the river is very important. Also the fish need water to live. Rain water: The rain water moistens the soil and does not get too wet, making it one of the most fertile soils. That means that plants will grow in the soil and the herbivores will be able to eat the plants off the ground.
Temperature When the warm weather comes plants and animals come back alive, inspiring animal reproduction with the making of new leaves and plants. The warmer summer months allow these animals enough time to raise their young, often preparing them to set off on their own prepared to protect themselves by the fall. As the temperature starts to drop, the trees of the deciduous forest lose their leaves and go into hibernation. This temperature cue is critical for the animals as well, some of whom begin storing food for the winter months while others gorge themselves in preparation for hibernation. SUNLIGHT All plants need sunlight to survive, and it is this basic building block of life that has formed much of the structure of the deciduous forest. Trees are encouraged to grow tall; the taller the trees, the more sunlight are available to the leaves of the canopy. Beneath these tall trees are a shorter layer of plants, often close to the ground. These ferns and shrub like bushes tend to thrive in shady conditions, as they have to survive on what sunlight makes it through the trees. In turn, many of the herbivores in the forest are species that have adapted to live on these smaller plants. The animals eat the plants that are on the ground floor and animals that are herbivores need these plants to live.
Plants: The plants need the carbine dioxide from the animals to live. Without carbine dioxide the plants will die. Also the plants need water. Without water the plants will have no nutrients and will no grow. One more thing the plants need is sunlight, without the sunlight the plants will die. Another main element the plants need is soil. The plants would not get to grow without the soil. The animals need the trees and the ground as shelter from the cold weather and predators. They need the plants to create oxygen for them to breathe. Also some animals eat certain plants and they need the plants to survive. Certain insects like worms help break up the soil for the plants and eat waste and poop out nutrients.
Earth worm: The earthworm’s role is to help the soil by getting rid of waste and adding nutrients into the soil. This process starts when earthworms eat dead plants and animals. When they eat the dead plants or animals, they also eat soil and tiny pebbles. They take in nutrients from very small organism in the material they eat. Earthworms then get rid of wastes in the form of casts. Casts are rich in nutrients, phosphorus, and potash. In addition to breaking down organic materials and adding nutrients to the soil, earthworms also help loosen the soil so air can go through. This helps plants grow.