Deciduous Forests

Deciduous Forests

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Deciduous Forests


The definition of a deciduous forest is a biome characterized by the presence of trees that lose
their leaves in the fall. I chose to narrow down this subject a little and do my report mainly on
the Temperate Broadleaf Deciduous Forest. It is mainly dominate in eastern North America. It
is very well known for its leaves which turn brilliant colors like brilliant reds, oranges and golds
in autumn. The shortening of days in fall stimulates the plants to withdraw chlorophyll from
their leaves, allowing a brief but spectacular showing of other beautiful colors before the leaves
are shed completely and plants enter an extended period of dormancy.

The temperature of the deciduous forest is associated with warmer continental and humid
subtropical climates. There is about a six month growing season in this forest. The average
precipitation distributed evenly throughout a year is about 20 to 60 inches . The non-growing
season is do to temperature induced drought during cold winters. The summers are warm. The
deciduous forest has four definite seasons.

The long summers of this biome support many life forms, but the cold winters still
provide formidable challenges. The cold weather and scarcity of food test the endurance of the
animals. Plants must find ways to ensure their survival through dormant periods, and to produce
enough seeds to continue their species.

The deciduous forest supports a diverse ecology. A warm growing season with abundant
moisture encourages plants to grow, and the ground is covered with small plants, flowers, and
grasses. In summer the tall trees cast shades on the forest floor, and shade-tolerant plants grow.
There are only open areas in which grasses grow without sunshine in this forest on occasion.
Ferns and wild flowers are abundant, and there are also many deciduous shrubs, such as some
berry bushes.

The deciduous forest biome is the home to many kinds of flowering trees. Deciduous
trees need a growing season of about 120 frost free days. When spring comes the trees must
draw to there reserve food to make new leaves. This takes time for the trees because the weather
in spring is still cool. But by the early summer trees can use some of the food to create a build
up of energy reserves and make seeds. In the autumn, the leaves fall. When the snow comes,
only a little of it weighs down the bare branches.

Animals found in this biome include deer, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, wood mice, and

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Essay on Deciduous Forests

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chipmunks. Insects and birds are numerous. However, when the chill of winter weather comes
birds migrate south and some small animals hibernate. Some larger animals include cougars and
bears. They are less dominate than ever thanks to humans who hunt them.

The soils are fertile, due to plenty of leaf litter. There is extensive plant diversity in this
biome, dominated by broadleaf deciduous hardwood trees such as oak, hickory, maple, ash,
beech and more. The forests consist of 3-5 layers, which are relatively open with rich ground
flora. There are usually one or two strata of trees, an understory of shrubs, and low growing
forbs.

Melting snow in spring, and intermittent rain during the summer, provide water for
streams and ponds. Water birds, insects, and fishes are found in this biome. Amphibians such as
frogs and salamanders find homes and so do some lizards and small birds. Decomposers include
soil bacteria and many kinds of fungi.


Bibliography:
Encarta Encyclopidia 1997
Comptons Encyclopidia 1993
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