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Coniferous forests consist of conifer trees, which are cone-bearing evergreen trees that have needle-like leaves. They are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere, where there is temperate climate. Coniferous forests are home to some of the world’s oldest and tallest trees. The coniferous forest comprises one-third of the world’s forests.
See the fact file below for more information on the coniferous forests or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Coniferous Forests worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Conifer comes from a Latin word that means “the one that bears cones”. It is derived from the words conus (meaning cone) and ferre (meaning to bear).
- Conifer trees have needle-like or scale-like leaves.
- They are also called evergreen trees, as they usually stay green all winter.
- There are conifers that thrive in cold climates and those that thrive in warmer climates.
- Examples of conifer trees that thrive in cold climates are pines, spruces, and firs.
- Examples of conifer trees that thrive in warmer climates are cedar, cypress, and redwood.
- Conifers are woody, gymnospermous plants.
- Gymnosperms are plants whose seeds are exposed, which means they are not enclosed in an ovule.
- Conifers can be huge in size, while some are shrubs.
- The tallest conifer trees are the redwood trees, which are more than 350 feet tall.
- The Hyperion is the tallest redwood tree in the world, measuring over 370 feet tall.
- The pygmy pine of New Zealand is the smallest conifer.
- The first forests were a product of adaptation to the surrounding environment.
- Trees that adapted to warmer climates developed first, then trees that adapted to cooler climates followed.
- The earliest conifers were in the late Carboniferous period, approximately 300 million years ago.
- Coniferous forests developed approximately 160 million years ago during the Jurassic Period.
- Conifers were the primary food of herbivorous dinosaurs.
LOCATION AND DISTRIBUTION
- Coniferous forests are found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, such as Asia, Europe, and North America.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, there are coniferous forests in parts of Argentina, Brazil, and Africa.
- Conifer species are unevenly distributed.
- The most widely distributed genera are junipers and pines, which are found in both cooler and warmer climates.
- The coniferous forest is composed of two layers: the canopy layer and the understory.
- The canopy layer consists of the tallest trees, while the understory layer consists of plant life growing above the forest floor but beneath the forest canopy.
- The acidic, infertile soils of coniferous forests are called podzols.
- Podzols are light-colored and have a dense, fungi-filled humus layer known as mor.
- Podzol means “under-ash” in Russian, denoting its ashy soil that has been drained of mineral content, organic material, and nutrients.
- Coniferous forests are generally categorized into five subtypes: boreal forests, temperate evergreen forests, temperate pinelands, mountain coniferous forests, or Southern Hemisphere forests.
- Boreal forests are known as taigas. Taiga means “little sticks” in Russian.
- Forming some of the biggest forest biomes, taigas are found in areas bordering the Arctic tundra. Soil in these regions is poorly developed because of the freezing temperatures.
- Common conifers in taigas are pines, firs, and spruces. These trees grow at higher latitudes than trees in other types of forests.
- Temperate evergreen forests thrive in regions with moderate climates.
- Soil in these regions is usually reddish in color and high in iron and aluminum.
- Common tree species in temperate evergreens are Douglas fir, western hemlock, western red cedar, and coast redwood.
- Temperate pinelands are found in upland regions with warm, dry climates.
- Mountain coniferous forests are located on mountains below the snowfields in the Rocky Mountains, Cascades, and Sierra Nevadas of North America; the Carpathians and Alps in Europe; and the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush in Asia.
- Forests found on the upper slopes are called subalpine forests. Forests found on the middle and upper slopes are called montane forests.
- Soil in mountain forests is dry, which does not allow tree roots to penetrate deeply.
- Tree species common in mountain coniferous forests vary depending on the regions.
- Southern Hemisphere coniferous forests are not the same as those that grow in the Northern Hemisphere. They grow in the mountains or high plateaus.
- Conifers in these areas are smaller, and their leaves are of different shape.
- Mammals that inhabit coniferous forests include squirrels, lynx, shrews, voles, birds, and wolves, among others.
- Insects such as mosquitoes and flies are common in these forests, as well.
- Snakes and frogs are also common in these forests, as they thrive in cooler climates.
LANDFORMS AND ELEVATION
- Coniferous forests grow at different elevations, from sea level to more than 15,000 feet above sea level.
- Landforms in coniferous forests vary and may include mountains, valleys, plateaus, and hills.
Coniferous Forests Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the coniferous forests across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Coniferous Forests worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the coniferous forests which consist of conifer trees and are cone-bearing evergreen trees that have needle-like leaves. They are mostly found in the Northern Hemisphere, where there is temperate climate. Coniferous forests are home to some of the world’s oldest and tallest trees. The coniferous forest comprises one-third of the world’s forests.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Coniferous Forests Facts
- Vocabulary Review
- Main Features
- Spot the Inhabitants
- Sketch the Subtype
- Subtype Comparison
- Two Layers
- Forest or False
- Tree Word Search
- Conifer Acrostic
- Coniferous or Not
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Link will appear as Coniferous Forests Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 4, 2021
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.