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Deciduous forests or temperate deciduous forests are forests dominated with broad-leaf trees that annually lose their leaves. This means that most trees in this type of forest shed of their leaves seasonally. Below are more facts about deciduous forests.
- The temperate deciduous forest biome [a biome is a vast ecological area with plants and animals within it adapting to its environment] experiences all four seasons – summer, spring, fall and winter. During the fall or autumn season, the leaves of the trees change color. In winter, the trees shed off and lose their leaves. The four seasons are easily recognizable in the forest and generally last 3 months each.
- Trees in the deciduous forest adapt to the changing season by shedding leaves in winter, sprouting leaf buds in spring, growing full leaves in summer and changing leaf colors in autumn.
- The deciduous forest biome is very close to the taiga biome or the snow forest.
- The temperate in this forest’s name means that temperature do not reach extreme levels and are generally pleasant during the summer season. On the other hand, the deciduous comes from the Latin word deciduous which means fall down or off pertaining to the leaves of trees that fall off during autumn and winter seasons.
- The average temperature in this biome is 50˚ F [10˚ C]. Come winter, though, temperature could go down below the freezing point.
- The deciduous forest biome receives about 30 – 60 inches of rain each year putting it second in the rainiest biome next to the rainforest.
- During the autumn/fall season, the leaves of the trees in this biome change colors. This is because they stop producing chlorophyll [which gives the leaves their green color] during this time.
- The trees shedding off their leaves during the winter season is very important. After losing their leaves, the trees in this biome go through a period of dormancy [during the winter months] where they do not grow or consume excessive amounts of nutrients.
- Deciduous trees are trees with broad leaves. In comparison, majority of the trees native to snow forests have pine needles [pin-like leaves].
- Deciduous forests are subdivided into five zones. The zones depend on the heights of the trees.
The first zone is the Tree Stratum Zone where trees reach the height of 60 to 100 feet. This zone contains sweet gum trees, maple and elm among many others.
The second zone is the Small Tree and Sapling Zone. Here, young and short trees are found.
The third zone is the Shrub Zone where shrubs like azaleas, rhododendrons and mountain laurels grow in abundance.
The fourth zone is the Herb Zone and it contains short plants and herbs.
Finally, the last zone is the Ground Zone. Lichen and mosses belong to this zone.
- Deciduous forest biomes can be found in North America’s eastern half and the middle part of Europe. There are also many temperate deciduous biomes in Asia with major parts found in eastern China, Japan and southwest Russia. There are two major deciduous forest areas in South America — in Paraguay’s Middle East coast and in southern Chile. New Zealand and southeastern Australia have deciduous forest biomes as well.
- Because of the characteristic [shedding off leaves in certain seasons] of the trees in this biome, the soil here is very fertile and nutrient rich.
- Majority of the trees in this biome have saps. The trees use the sap to keep their roots from freezing come winter season.
- Plants in the forest adapt in two ways: first, they lean more towards the sun and second, they use their roots to soak up nutrients from the ground.
- The growing season in this biome lasts for about 6 months.
- Animals living in temperate deciduous forests adapt to the cold months by hibernating. Those who don’t hibernate migrate to warmer locations during the cold season. And still those animals that don’t do either develop special adaptations to survive like growing a warm winter coat [of fur or other body covering] then shedding that off when summer season starts to roll in.
- Some insects in the biome cannot survive the winter so they lay their eggs before they die when the cold season comes. The eggs survive winter and hatch during the spring season.
- Common animals found in this biome are black bears, coyotes and wolves.
- Most of the animals found in this biome are camouflaged to look like the ground. The camouflage makes it easier for them to blend in their surroundings and escape their predators. The plants in the deciduous forest serve as these animals’ sources for food, water and shelter. When winter comes, though, camouflaging is difficult as there’s less foliage. Animals become more prone to being caught by their hunters.
- Black bears, in particular, are the most well adapted animals for the temperate deciduous forest biome. They have heavy coats of fur that keep them warm in the winter months. Their long claws allow them to climb up trees, an essential characteristic since they make their homes inside tree hollows. Black bears are also omnivores, meaning, their diet is composed of plants and animals both of which are found in the biome. But their most important adaptive skill is hibernation.
- To date, a large part of the deciduous forest biomes are lost to farming and urbanization. Many of the animals that are native to this ecological habitat have been displaced and lost their homes. And while there has been a significant move in the preservation of deciduous forests around the world, the animals have fallen prey to indiscriminate poaching.
- The deciduous forest biomes are important to human lives, too. They are a great resource for food, timber and oxygen. But humans are also bringing harm to these ecological areas. Indiscriminate logging has thinned out the forests. Acid rain, caused by emissions coming from factories and vehicles, also damages the leaves of the trees making them less resistant to pests, plant diseases and frost during the winter season. Acid rain also causes the plants in general to produce smaller and fewer seeds.
- Another problem in the deciduous forest biome is the introduction of non-native flora and fauna [plants and animals]. These none native species compete with the native species for food and space thereby threatening the latter. They upset the balance of the existing ecosystem in the forest.
- One way to save the forests – not just the deciduous biome – is to recycle.
Deciduous Forest Worksheets
This bundle contains 9 ready-to-use Deciduous Forest Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Deciduous forests or temperate deciduous forests which are forests dominated with broad-leaf trees that annually lose their leaves. This means that most trees in this type of forest shed of their leaves seasonally.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Deciduous Forest Facts
- Quick Quiz
- Color Me
- Forest Zones
- Deciduous Four Seasons
- The Art of Camouflage
- Deciduous Residents
- Forest Four
- Protecting the Forests
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Link will appear as Deciduous Forest Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, July 13, 2017
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.