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Temperate forest: characteristics, flora and fauna

The biomes of temperate forests are very varied, since we can differentiate between them different types such as the temperate deciduous forest, the temperate rain forest, the temperate coniferous forest, the temperate deciduous forest or the mixed temperate forest, among others. These forests, as their name suggests, are located in the Earth’s temperate zones, contain great structural complexity and are considered biodiverse.

If you want to know which are the temperate forest plants, as well as the temperate forest animals, among more details, continue reading this interesting AgroCorrn article in which we will talk about the characteristics of the temperate forest, its flora and fauna .

What is a temperate forest and its characteristics

Among the characteristics of the temperate forest we find:

  • We begin by clarifying where the temperate forest is located. We can say that the location of the temperate forest extends through the northern hemisphere in central and western Europe, to the north of the United States and Canada, to the east of Russia, to the north of Scandinavia and Russia and partly to Japan and China. On the other hand, when looking at the distribution of temperate forests in the southern hemisphere, we see that they are found in New Zealand and the southern edge of South America.
  • The temperate forest floor is mainly made up of silty and brown soils. They are soils rich in organic matter in their A horizon (which is the most superficial part and in which the herbaceous vegetation takes root), as well as deep and well structured.
  • As we have already mentioned, temperate forests are very varied and, in general, are found where tropical masses collide with polar air masses. Therefore, it is possible to speak of some common characteristics about the climate. The temperate forest climate presents a seasonal pattern of cold, wet and snowy winters and warm summers, especially in forests located in the north.
  • Regarding precipitation, they present an annual average between 500 mm – 2,000 mm, occurring uniformly throughout the year. On the other hand, average temperatures range from -30 ºC to 30 ºC, with an average of 10 ºC. It should be emphasized that those forests closer to the Equator have warmer temperatures.
  • Temperate forests present a relief characterized by being a flat and mountainous terrain mixed with rivers with strong currents and large lakes.
  • There are different types of temperate forests . If these are categorized by their vegetation are the temperate hardwood forest , the forest of coniferous or mixed forest .

Temperate forest flora

The temperate forest flora shows very notable seasonal changes and is made up of deciduous trees , conifers, lianas, and grasses. It has an open undergrowth , not very dense, and usually a large number of ferns. The production of seeds from these forests occurs simultaneously and their quantity varies each year. Flowering, in general, occurs in the month of May, due to the optimal climatic conditions that occur. Here are some examples of temperate forest plants :

  • Among the trees of the temperate forest are families Aceraceae, Betulaceae, Fagaceae, Junglandaceae and Pinaceae .
  • In temperate forests it is very common to find oak and beech trees . Trees of the genus Quercus with ages ranging from 200 to 1600 years are found in the oak forests . Among them are Q. robur, Q. humilis, Q. rubra, Q. faginea, Q. petraea and the most widespread Q. Pyrenean. On the other hand, in beech trees there are deciduous trees such as Fagus sylvatica in Europe, Fagus grandifolia and Fagus mexicana in America, or the common beech belonging to the Fagaceae family. They are trees that can reach up to 40 m in height.
  • Among the shrubs the Ericaceae and Rosaceae families predominate , and among the herb families are Caryphyllaceae, Compositae, Cruciferae, Labiatae, Ranunculaceae and Umbelliferae .
  • There are also geophytic plants with a herbaceous structure and rapid growth in the spring when the temperature is suitable; However, in winter they go into inactivity due to low temperatures, remaining as tubers, rhizomes or bulbs.

Temperate forest fauna

The fauna of temperate forests has been seen and is threatened by anthropic activities, that is why many animal species have been displaced and others are in danger of extinction. However, the variety of animal species that can be found in them is great. Here are some examples of temperate forest animals :

  • Among the mammals of the temperate forest are species of herbivorous animals, such as deer and beavers, other species of omnivorous animals , such as bears, wild boar, dormouse, raccoons, deer, some species of rodents such as squirrels, bats and moles. Among the most common carnivorous mammals are foxes, wolves, and the bobcat.
  • Among the variety of birds present in these forests are those of the passerine order, containing more than half of all known birds. In this group there are birds with diets based on fruits, that is, frugivores , or on insects, also called insectivores .
  • Add that in the temperate forest, in addition, there is a great variety of species of small animals such as salamanders, lizards, turtles, small snakes, worms and insects, which are normally found on the ground, between the grass and the litter.
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