Temperate Forest – Concept, flora, fauna, relief and characteristics

We explain what the temperate forest is, its flora, fauna, relief and other characteristics. Also, where is it located.

temperate forest ecosystem
The temperate forest has five layers of vegetation from the ground up to 60 feet high.

What is the temperate forest?

Temperate forests are, as their name implies, the characteristic forests of temperate climate regions of the two hemispheres of the planet. Its climate is characterized by a annual average temperature of 18 ° C and average rainfall between 600 mm and 2000 mm per year.

However, their specific conditions vary enormously between seasons and geographical locations. In other words, they are very diverse in nature, although they are usually very humid (between 60 and 80% constant).

They are organized based on five layers of vegetation:

  • An initial layer of mosses and lichens, at ground level.
  • A secondary layer of grass and creeping plants.
  • A third layer of shrubs, such as blueberries or blackberries.
  • A fourth layer of young trees, already with a certain height.
  • A last layer of trees around 60 feet tall.

The soil of this type of forest is usually fertile and rich in nutrients, given the abundant fall of leaves, branches and other organic matter that later decomposes.

Characteristics of the temperate forest

These forests occupy vast areas of abundant and uniform precipitation. Their temperatures follow the seasonal pattern, since the seasons are clearly differentiated one from the other.

It is common to find them before the appearance of the taigas, with which they can become confused. They are distinguished from other thicker forests in that have a much less thick and dense canopyso that the sky can be seen from the understory.

Temperate forest fauna

temperate forest fauna wolf
In the temperate forest there are some hunting animals such as the wolf.

The fauna of the temperate forest is diverse, although not as diverse as in tropical forests. Many of its native species hibernate during the period of frost, escaping from the deadly cold to resurface in the spring. This means that they are not very visible animals, some of nocturnal habits, others hidden in the grass.

Secondly, there are a significant number of birds, insects and rodents, as well as large herbivores (deer, elk, wild boar, deer), ferocious hunters and omnivores (bears, foxes, wolves, wildcats). Squirrels, salamanders and woodpeckers are also frequent.

Temperate forest flora

temperate forest sequoias flora
Sequoias are giant trees that form temperate forests.

Deciduous species predominate in some forests, adapted to the arrival of cold, with possible frosts and snowfalls, while in others conifers are the majority, thus giving rise to temperate deciduous forests or temperate coniferous forests.

Too it is common to find mixed forestsevergreen, broadleaf deciduous and evergreen. In these forests can be found the famous sequoias, giant trees capable of reaching 275 meters in height throughout their thousands of years of existence, generally in North American temperate forests.

Other typical temperate forest species are maple, fir, spruce, and other seed trees, such as walnut.

Relief of the temperate forest

The relief of these forests is very diverse. It can occur in plains, valleys or mountains indistinctly, depending on your geographic region. It is in the flatter regions where the greatest human concentration on the planet is found, probably to take advantage of the richness of the soil for agricultural work.

Location of temperate forests

temperate forest alaska
The temperate forest is in both hemispheres, near the polar zones, like Alaska.

The main locations of this type of forest are in the northern regions of North America (much of the United States, Alaska, Canada), Europe (Scandinavia, England, Finland) and Asia (Russia, especially Siberia, but also China) .

In the southern hemisphere, however, they are found in the southern regions of Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina. It is the forests that prelude the different polar zones of each hemisphere, in which plant life becomes much more difficult.