Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

The temperate forest biome, as its name suggests, is located in the temperate regions of the world i.e. the ‘northern temperate zone’ and the ‘southern temperate zone’ on the planet. It spans across the continents of North America, Europe and Asia in the northern hemisphere of the planet, and covers a significant portion of the South America and Australia in the southern hemisphere. Even with such vast expanse, temperate forest biome is not really as popular as the other biomes of the world, such as the rainforest biome or the tundra biome; and that is quite surprising considering that it is quite rich in terms of biodiversity.

Facts about Temperate Forest Biome

In a broad sense, the temperate forests are categorized into temperate deciduous forests, temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, temperate coniferous forest and temperate rainforests. Discussed below are the general details of each of these temperate forest types found across the world.

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Deciduous Forest

Also referred to as the temperate broadleaf forest or temperate broadleaved forest, temperate deciduous forests are typically characterized by the presence of trees which lose their leaves every year as a part of survival adaptations. As with the other temperate forest types, even temperate forests have a temperate climate, with maximum temperature reaching 90�Fahrenheit in summer and 55�Fahrenheit in winter, and an annual precipitation of 35 to 60 inches. Other than the ability to shed their leaves and minimize transpiration, specially modified leaves which absorb sunlight as well as water help plants survive in the temperate deciduous forests. Species like oak, maple, elm, etc., are found in abundance in these forests.

Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests

At times simply referred to as mixed forests, these are temperate forests which are typically characterized by four layers – the canopy layer, sub-canopy layer, shrub layer and the herbaceous layer. The name mixed forests can be attributed to the fact that coniferous trees are included as a canopy component in these forests. Mixed forests experience somewhere around 24-60 inches of rainfall every year. The Himalayan broadleaf forests, Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests, East Central Texas forests, Mississippi lowland forests, etc., are some of the best examples of temperate broadleaf forests of the world. Plant species found here include broadleaf trees such as maple and birch, as well as conifers such as pines and firs.

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Coniferous Forests

Temperate coniferous forest are forests in temperate regions which experience heavy rainfall and mild winters. These forests are typically characterized by the presence of gigantic trees such as the Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron gigantea) and the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). As opposed to mixed forests which have four layers, temperate coniferous forests only have two layers – the overstory made up of trees like cedar, cypress, Douglas-fir, fir, juniper, pine and spruce, and understory of mosses, ferns and a few shrubs. The Klamath-Siskiyou forests in the United States and the Carpathian montane conifer forest in Slovakia are some of the best examples of temperate coniferous forests.

Temperate Rainforests

Temperate rainforests are forest typically characterized by a rainfall of somewhere between 200-400 cm and mean annual temperatures fluctuating between 39�Fahrenheit and 54�Fahrenheit. While temperate forests cover a significant portion of the planet, temperate rainforests are seen in pockets in North America, South America, Australia, Asia, Africa and Europe. Some noteworthy examples of temperate rainforests are Pacific temperate rain forests, Appalachian temperate rain forests, Valdivian and Magellanic temperate rainforests, Taiheiyo rain forests, etc. These forests boast of being the most biodiverse among the different types of temperate forests on the planet.

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Biome Animals

Even though temperate forests don’t boast of biodiversity at par with tropical forests of the world, there is no doubt about the fact that they provide shelter to a significantly large number of animal species. In fact, quite a few of these species are native to these forests of the temperate regions. Other than the type of temperate forest they come from, these animals can also be classified on the basis of the continent on which they are found. While North and South America are home to species like bobcats, bears, cougars, wolves, etc., marsupials such as koalas, possums and wallabies are endemic to the Australian continent. Similarly, badgers, boars, wolves, etc., inhabit the temperate coniferous forests of Europe, while animals like the Giant panda, red panda, etc., are found in temperate rainforests of Asia. Other than the animals mentioned above, the list of forest animals found in this region also includes several species of reptiles, birds, insects, microorganisms and primates.

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

Temperate Forest Food Chain

With all these species to its credit, temperate forest biome does boast of being more biodiverse than various other biomes on the planet. If all these animals are able to survive in the temperate forests, it is only because of the super adaptation skills that they are armed with. While temperate forest biome plants shed leaves during the winter season to minimize transpiration and retain water, animals in this biome resort to hibernation to survive the harsh cold and scarcity of food during this season. At the same time, these animals have a range of other adaptations – including camouflage, migration, nocturnal behavior, etc., all of which help them survive in the dense forests of the temperate region.

With such biodiversity, there is no doubt about the fact that the temperate forest biome is important for the overall well-being of the planet. However, human encroachment – mainly for the purpose of agriculture, has resulted in widespread destruction in this biome. Other than large-scale deforestation attributed to clearance of land for agriculture, even acid rain – caused due to industrial pollution in the surrounding regions, is known to cause harm to these forests. We have already lost a significant portion of the forest cover in this region, and if the damage continues at this rate we are bound to end up destroying all these forests, and disturb the ecological balance on the Earth.

By Abhijit Naik
Article Source: buzzle.com