Knowing which plants and animals commonly inhabit forests could make woodland walks more interesting and satisfying and improve your understanding of the world. The variety of flora and fauna found in tree-dense areas depends very much on the type of forest and what part of the world it is in.
People in the U.S. are most familiar with deciduous forests, as these are commonplace in the eastern states as well as across Europe and parts of Asia. Deciduous forests grow in areas with quite temperate climates, so animals and plants that live there are adapted for colder conditions. Some of the creatures that inhabit deciduous forests include brown and black bears, foxes, raccoons and grey squirrels. The trees lose their leaves in the fall and, depending on where in the world the forest lies, may include species such as red and white oak, yellow buckeye, white basswood, American beech and white ash. Smaller plants include Dutchman's breeches, sassafras and redbud.
Rainforests grow in the areas around the equator including Central and South America, Africa, southern Asia and Australia. The climate in these places is very hot and humid and the animals and plants that live there have adapted to these conditions. Although the rainforests only cover 6 percent of Earth's surface, over half of all the species of fauna and flora in the world live there. Animals inhabiting rainforests include boa constrictors, spider monkeys, toucans, gorillas, jaguars, sloths and macaws. Plants of the rainforest include strangler figs, which grow up trees and wrap around them until they die, vines called lianas, orchids and passionflowers.
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Temperate rainforests are not as widespread as their tropical counterparts. They grow in some parts of New Zealand and Chile, but are most common on the northwest coast of North America, from southern Alaska to California. Animals that inhabit these areas include coyotes, deer and bears as well as blue grouse and another bird called Clark's nutcracker. Coniferous trees like western red cedar, mountain hemlock, lodgepole pine and Douglas fir are common here. Other plants include the Indian paintbrush and various mosses and lichens.
Boreal forests exist in North America, Europe and Asia. The climate is cold with heavy snowfall, which affects which animals and plants live there. Animals that live in these areas include elk, snowshoe hares, porcupines, bobcats and amur tigers. Coniferous trees are the dominant species, including pines, larches, hemlocks, spruces and firs. Various forms of mosses and lichens also grow in boreal forests. [RES 4]