Temperate and temperate deciduous (leaf-shedding) forests are forests with moderate climates that can be found between the tropics and the polar regions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. They are also called four-season forests because they exhibit four distinct seasons.
Locations and Climates
Some locations of temperate forests are the United States, Mexico, Europe, western Russia, China, Japan and Australia. These forests are located in moderate warm and cold climates where the seasons change, and many types of plants can grow all year round. Two-thirds of all temperate rainforests are in the Pacific Northwest. These forests receive 30-60 inches of rain per year. Temperate deciduous forests are less common because these are forests in which leaves change color and fall off during the autumn and winter seasons. These forests are located in eastern United States, western Russia, China and Europe.
During the winter of a temperate deciduous forest, the forest looks dead because leaves have fallen off of the trees. For both temperate and temperate deciduous forests, most animals hide from the cold or migrate to warmer climates and forest floors are covered by snow. During the springtime, wildlife slowly returns and leaves grow back on deciduous trees. Summer brings warmth and a proliferation of animals and plants. During the fall, temperatures get cooler and deciduous trees' leaves change color. Animals begin to store food for the winter.
The soil in temperate forests is very fertile, and these forests are populated with several types of trees: deciduous trees such as the maple, oak and elm, coniferous trees such as the pine, fir and cedar and broad-leaved trees, which typically populate regions such as Australia, New Zealand and the Mediterranean. Some examples of broad-leaved trees are the olive, holly, tea and eucalyptus tree. Mosses, ferns and other small shrubs tend to line the forest floors.
All types of animals can live in temperate forests because of the moderate climate, fertile soils which invites many types of plants, the shade of the trees and plenty of water. In Australia, animals such as koalas, opossums, wombats and other marsupials roam the forest. In Europe, squirrels, badgers and songbirds thrive in forests. In the United States, bears, lynx, deer and rabbits are common forest dwellers. Pandas thrive in the temperate forests of China. Most animals live on the forest floor because the canopy of trees protects them from the sun, wind and rain.