The temperate deciduous forest is one of the Earth's most diverse and populated biomes. Deciduous forests stretch up the east coasts of China, the United States and Australia, fill the islands of New Zealand and Japan, and cover most of Europe. The terrain or landforms of the deciduous forest are similarly varied. Flat, hilly and mountainous terrain is interspersed with large lakes and winding rivers.
Mountainous regions can be found in many of the world's deciduous forests. In North America, the Appalachian and Adirondack Mountains rise from Alabama up to New York. Europe's Alps are largely covered with deciduous forest and have given their name to other mountain ranges in deciduous biomes, including the Northern Alps of Japan and the Southern Alps of New Zealand. However, when mountains reach extremely high altitudes, the cold climate and thin air cannot support the deciduous forest biome. The highest regions of certain ranges, such as the Alps, are alpine tundra, rather than deciduous forest.
A stretch of trees slowly rising and falling over changing terrain is a common sight in deciduous regions. The United Kingdom's Cheviot Hills form a boundary between England and Scotland, and the limestone hills known as the Pennines run down the center of the isle of Britain. In the regions of France that are not mountainous -- largely in the center and northwest of the country -- similar hilly terrain can be found. Hills also stretch through the Great Lakes and New England regions of the United States.
Deciduous forests are wet and well-watered environments, so it is no surprise that the world's largest unfrozen freshwater system is located in the deciduous forest. The Great Lakes -- Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior -- span over 700 miles of the border between the United States and Canada. Northeastern China is also covered by lake country. The nation's three largest freshwater lakes, Poyang, Dongting and Taihu, are all located in China's eastern deciduous forest.
In North America, the Saint Lawrence and Hudson rivers connect interior lake country to the Atlantic Ocean, and the Missouri river runs from the prairie of Montana through the westernmost parts of the forest, meets the Mississippi river and flows into the Gulf of Mexico. The Huang He, or Yellow River, flows East from central China and meets the Yellow Sea at Shanghai. Many of Europe's famous rivers flow into the North Sea from out of the deciduous forest: the Thames in England, the Seine of France, and the Rhine of Germany and the Netherlands.
- Marietta College: The Temperate Deciduous Forest
- Marietta College: The Alpine Biome
- The Encyclopedia of New Zealand: Mountains
- Wildscreen Arkive: Eastern Deciduous Forest
- Northumberland: Cheviot Hills
- World Atlas: France - Geography
- World Atlas: China - Geography
- Environmental Protection Agency: Great Lakes
- Top China Travel: The Largest Lakes in China
- National Park Service: Mississippi River Facts
- Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images