What is a deciduous forest?
A forest, also known as the woodlands, is one of the seven important biomes found on our planet. The forest is classified as a large amount of land covered in trees, bushes, and grasses. The trees provide shelter and food for the many animals, insects, and flora (flowers and fungus).
What does deciduous mean?
The word deciduous means “to fall off.” Each Autumn, the leaves and flowers of the trees and flora within a deciduous forest fall to the ground and become part of the forest floor.
Trees use leaves to collect sunlight and turn it into energy (food) through photosynthesis. However, in autumn, deciduous trees shed their leaves as they are no longer needed, and the amount of sun has reduced.
What are the different types of forests?
There are three main types of forests throughout the world: tropical, temperate, and boreal – each with its kinds of animals, trees, and plants.
America has primarily temperate forests, which can be separated into four different types:
- Moist conifer and evergreen forests are known for mild and wet winters and dry summer seasons.
- Dry Conifer forests: Often found at higher elevations with little rainfall and colder temperatures.
- Mediterranean forests: Found around the coast, mostly filled with evergreen trees
- Temperate broad: Lots of rain throughout the whole year, mild winters
Identifying a deciduous forest
Temperate deciduous forests are most notable because they experience four seasons each year: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. They also drop their leaves in the autumn and winter to allow the trees and plants to survive the cold winters.
What are deciduous forest animals?
A significant of the animals on Earth live in various types of forests. Some of the most common are:
- Small Mammals: Rabbits, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, badgers, chipmunks, skunks
- Large Mammals: Bears, Deer, Moose, Bobcats
- Insects: Ladybugs, beetles, praying mantis, bees, spiders
- Reptiles and Amphibians: Frogs, turtles, salamanders, snakes
- Birds: Woodpeckers, hummingbirds, bluebirds, cardinals
Which animals live in deciduous forests?
Deciduous forest animals usually fall into small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. However, a few large mammals call deciduous forests their home.
- Large mammals: Predators such as wolves, bears, and mountain lions can sometimes be seen roaming in deciduous forests.
- Small mammals: Several herbivorous mammals, such as deer and moose, use the forest as it is full of shrubs and plants.
- Birds The tree trunks and seeds on the floor make a perfect home for many bird species, such as jays, woodpeckers, and robins.
- Reptiles: Grass snakes and box turtles like to use the forest floor to stay hidden and safe.
- Amphibians: Toads, frogs, and salamanders enjoy the warm, wet climate of the forest to thrive.
- Insects: The vast amount of leaves and water provide amble food for countless insect species, such as termites, bees, caterpillars, and butterflies.
How do deciduous forest animals thrive?
Deciduous forest animals use the seasons to help themselves thrive in the forest. For example, large animals such as bears will hunt for herbivorous animals through the spring and summer but make a nest and hibernate through the cold winter months when there is little activity in the forest.
Amphibians such as frogs and salamanders will use spring’s warm, wet weather to lay their eggs in small ponds and collections of water. These ponds make it easy for many plants to grow nearby, attracting insects and providing newborn frogs and salamanders with food.
What other types of biomes exist?
Forests make up a large part of the land area on earth, but they are certainly not the only biome we have. We can categorize different regions of the planet into six different biomes. Each has different weather, patterns and animal and plant species.
- Rainforest: Hot and wet all year round, they are home to half the world’s animals and plants!
- Desert: Hot and dry all year round. Small animals survive here and use the cooler evenings to find food.
- Savannah: Full of grasses and shrubs and home to various animals, from gazelles to nonessentials to lions.
- Woodland: Many animals survive in woodlands, mostly made of trees and moss.
- Grasslands: Temperate climate with lots of open space. Large mammals make their home here.
- Tundra: Freezing temperatures for most of the year. A few animals can manage to survive here.