For other uses, see Forest (disambiguation).
A forest is a piece of land with many trees. Many animals need forests to live and survive. Forests are very important and grow in many places around the world. They are an ecosystem which includes many plants and animals.
Temperature and rainfall are the two most important things for forests. Many places are too cold or too dry for them. Forests can exist from the equator to near the polar regions, but different climates have different kinds of forests. In cold climates conifers dominate, but in temperate and tropical climates forests are mainly made up of flowering plants. Different rainfall also makes different kinds of forest. No forests exist in deserts, just a few trees in places where their roots can get at some underground water.
Forest biomes[change | change source]
The three major forest biomes are coniferous forests, deciduous forests, and tropicalrain forests.
Coniferous forests[change | change source]
Evergreenconiferous forests stretch across Canada, Alaska, Northern Asia, and Northern Europe. They are composed of conifers which produce seeds in cones.
The weather during the winter is cold, but the snow melts completely in the spring, turning some parts of the forest into swamps. There are only eight types of trees in the coniferous forests, including balsams, firs.[source?] There are not many different types of trees in coniferous forests because of the cold weather, and the poor soil. Fallen branches, needles, and dead animals do not decay as fast as in warmer regions. This is why the soil in coniferous forests is not very fertile. Also, only those trees that have adapted to cold weather and poor soil have been able to survive. These trees have flexible branches that support heavy snowfalls. Less water evaporates from their leaves because of the shape of their needles.
Many coniferous trees shade large parts of the soil below them, which keeps many plants from growing on the forest ground. Some animals that live in the coniferous forests are pine martens, deer, bears, caribou, moose, lynxes, beavers, and birds such as grey owls, crossbills, and warblers.
Deciduous forests[change | change source]
Deciduous forests mostly grow in the temperate zone of North America, Europe and Asia. They have a moderate climate during the spring, summer, autumn (fall) and winter, with rainfall of at least 500mm a year. Summers are warm and winters are cold, but not as cold as the northern coniferous forests. In the winter, snow covers the ground and the deciduous trees and plants lose their leaves. The decaying leaves help make the soil rich in nutrients. Many insects, spiders, snails, and worms make their homes in this rich soil. Wild flowers and ferns grow almost everywhere in the spring. New leaves capture the energy of the sun and sprout before the tall trees shadow them.
During the winter, many birds migrate to warmer climate. Many small animals hibernate or aestivate, in other words, slow down their metabolism and sleep or stay in their burrows. Some of the other animals just slow down their metabolism and eat food they stored during the summer and fall months. The trees in winter are bare, but with the coming of spring, leaves sprout, birds return, animals are born, and all the forest animals get busy with their lives. Animals that we may see or hear in this biome include bears, deer, raccoons, otters, beavers, foxes, frogs, squirrels, snakes, salamanders, and birds such as woodpeckers, robins, owls, blue jays and the small birds usually called tits.
Some deciduous forests grow in tropical places that do not have a winter but do have a wet season and a dry season.
Rainforests[change | change source]
See also: Peat swamp forest
Tropical rainforests grow in South America, the Congo, Indonesia and some nearby countries, Hawaii, and eastern Australia. Tropical rainforests are aptly named, as it rains here on about half the days. The only season in a tropical rain forest is summer, so plants grow for all 12 months of the year. Trees are tall and thick in the rain forest and they grow so close together that they seem to form a big umbrella of greenery called a canopy. This blocks out most of the sunlight. The air is muggy as it filters through the dense canopy cover of the trees. The light that filters through this tree cover is dim and green. Only along river banks and in places that have been cleared does enough sunlight allow plants to grow on the forest ground.
Millions of species of plants and animals live in the world's tropical forests. Life in the rain forest exists at different levels or layers in the trees. Each layer has a name, such as 'emergent', 'canopy', 'understory', and 'forest floor. Animal life is found on all levels.
Related pages[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
- ↑Blue Planet. McGrawHill. 2010.
- ↑In a deciduous forest there are alway places where the sunlight reaches the ground.
Different Types of Forests in the World
There are three types of forests that are explained briefly below:
Evergreen Forests :
- An evergreen forest is a forest consisting entirely or mainly of evergreen trees that retain green foliage all year round.
- Evergreen forests are usually found in areas receiving more than 200 cm of rainfall and having a temperature of 15 °C to 30 °C.
- They occupy about seven per cent of the Earth’s surface and harbour more than half of the world’s plants and animals. They are found mostly near the equator
- These forests are dense, mulch-layered and harbour many types of plants and animals. The trees in an evergreen forest have broad leaves that release excess water through transpiration.
- In India, evergreen forests are found in the Western Ghats in the states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka. They are also found in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura, West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Deciduous Forests :
- Forests where a majority of the trees lose their foliage at the end of the typical growing season are called deciduous forests.
- Deciduous forests are found in several parts of the world including North America, Europe, New- Zealand, Australia, and Asia. These forests go through a lot of seasonal changes and are specially adapted to withstand these environmental changes throughout the year.
- Trees found in a deciduous forest vary by region, but generally include species such as oak, beech,walnut, maple, chestnut and hickory. Deciduous forests grow in areas where rainfall is sufficient to support tree growth.
- Deciduous forests are well suited to deal with extremes in temperatures. After losing leaves in winter, the trees enter a period of dormancy until the warmer weather returns and the growing season is once again underway.
Coniferous Forests :
- Coniferous forests are made up mainly of cone-bearing or coniferous trees, such as spruces, hemlocks, pines and firs. The leaves of these trees are either small and needle-like or scale-like and most stay green all year around.
- Coniferous forests are found mainly in the northern hemisphere, although some are found in the southern hemisphere.
- Coniferous trees thrive where summers are short and cool and winters long and harsh. The needle-like leaves have a waxy outer coat which prevents water loss in freezing weather and the branches are soft and flexible and usually point downwards, so that snow slides off them.
- The temperate coniferous rain forests sustain the highest levels of biomass in any terrestrial ecosystem and are notable for trees of massive proportions
- Name a few animals that you would find in an evergreen forest.
- Do a little research about the Hickory tree and find out about its benefits.
- Find out about 5 more trees which grow in each of these forests.
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