Deciduous Forest – Concept, flora, fauna, climate and location

We explain what the deciduous forest is, where it is found, its flora, fauna and climate. Also, what factors can destroy it.

deciduous cosque
Deciduous forest trees lose their leaves in the fall.

What is the deciduous forest?

Temperate deciduous forests or simply deciduous forests, also known as aestisilva or estisilva, are those forests located in the temperate region of the planet. Is it so composed of plant species that lose their leaves during the fall, in order to survive the winter and sprout during the spring.

That’s where its name comes from: deciduous, from Latin caducus, “Fall” and folium, “Leaves”, as opposed to evergreen or evergreen. This mechanism is nothing more than a biological adaptation that allows trees to keep their water levels stable, since the loss of leaves prevents them from perspiration.

However, the fall of the leaves also has the effect of providing organic matter to the soil and increasing its fertility margins, which is why these forests are usually found on very nutrient-rich soils.

Deciduous forest location

Deciduous forests are found in different locations in both hemispheres of the planet. The relief in which they usually occur is diverse, both plain and mountainous.

They are found in much of Europe (western, central and eastern), from western Asia, the east coast of North America and fringes of southern Chile and southeastern Australia.

Deciduous forest flora

deciduous forest flora
Ferns, moss, shrubs, and other small plants thrive in the understory.

The typical species of the deciduous forest are usually broad-leaved and flat treessuch as oak, birch, beech, poplar, elm, and maple. Their slender, domed crowns tend to reach 30 meters in height with ease, with hard, smooth and brown rinds.

Smaller plant species are found in the understory, such as lichens, mosses, ferns, wild flowers and other small plants, with a medium level of shrubs of various types.

Deciduous forest fauna

deciduous forest animals fauna fox
A wide variety of foxes live in deciduous forests.

Like plants, deciduous forest animals are adapted to the changing climate already marked stations. Before the arrival of cold, some species resort to defense mechanisms such as:

  • Hibernation. It consists of isolation in its burrow while waiting for spring to arrive.
  • Migration. The massive movement towards warmer areas to return when the cold has passed.

Likewise, the animals of the deciduous forest are found distributed throughout the vegetation strata, being able to stay in the undergrowth or at the top of the branches for entire periods.

Thus, while the fallen wood provides shelter for salamanders, toads and other amphibians, migratory birds such as geese, woodpeckers, raptors, hawks, columbids, strigiforms and pheasant remain aloft.

Reptiles are less common in this forest during the cold season, whereas raccoons, cattle, goats, porcupines, felines, canids and beavers are frequent. There is a good representation of snakes, too.

Deciduous forest climate

deciduous forest climate
In the deciduous forest the four seasons are well differentiated.

They are typical of the humid continental climate, as well as the maritime climate in Western Europe. Average temperatures are always recorded above 0 ° C, abundant and well distributed rains throughout the year, without periods of aridity that harm plant development.

On the contrary, there is an excess of water that the soil is not able to absorb and puddles the low areas. This climate has its four very well defined seasons, with very well differentiated biological activity.

Deciduous forest destruction

Deciduous forest regions are of high interest for human colonization, given their fertile soil and valuable wood. Consequently, indiscriminate logging and land reform have reduced entire forests to practically nothing throughout the decades.

Attempting to repair the damage done, there are programs for the reinsertion of fauna and restoration of the deciduous forest in Europe, the United States and other regions.