Temperate Deciduous Forest
Inch in a Pinch Caterpillar
Inch in a Pinch

 

"Hi, everyone. I'm Inch in a Pinch and this is my home, the Deciduous Forest! WOW! I think this habitat area is the greatest! I'd love to show you around, but I have to line up a guide for a trip I'll be making to Antartica. I also need to get some very warm clothing - boots, hat, gloves, a scarf. It's really cold in Antarctica. While I'm doing that I'm going to put you in the very capable hands of my favorite raccoon, Racky at Risk. He knows this place as well as I do and will do a super job! Have fun and I'll be waiting for you when you're all finished."

Racky at Risk
Racky at Risk Raccoon

 

"Thanks for the compliment, Inch! I shouldknow this habitat area. I've lived here my whole life! This habitat area is known for its many tree species, its abundance of wildlife and its rich fertile soil. "Did you know that the word deciduous comes from Latin and means 'to fall down', which is exactly what the leaves in a deciduous forest do - first they change colors, and then they fall all over the ground. That's what sets this habitat area apart from other forests. Right before the cold season every year, the trees lose their leaves! As the seasons change here in the TDF, so do the colors of the trees. It's really quite beautiful! Humans think so, too. I see them each fall, running around in the forest with cameras, pointing them at anything that moves and squealing with delight! Strange, very strange! Well, let's get started. Here are some facts about this habitat area. Read through them and I'll catch up, with you when you're done!"




Where are the Deciduous Forests?
Location of Deciduous ForestsDeciduous forests are found in Europe stretching from the British Isles and France through central and eastern Europe as far as the Ural Mountains. In East Asia these forests cover the Russian far East, Manchuria, Korea and Japan and in North America from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Description
Bullet
Deciduous forests have four seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter caused by the position of the sun and rotation of the Earth.
Bullet
The average yearly temperature is at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit but can be as high as 86 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the forest altitude. Humidity is 60 to 80%. Deciduous forests receive from 20 to 60 inches of precipitation each year. This precipitation is distributed evenly throughout the year. Next to the rainforest, the temperate deciduous forest gets the second-most amount of rainfall per year. In winter, this is seen as snow.
Bullet
The growing season in the TDF is approximately 6 months long. The non-growing season is due to temperature-induced drought during the cold winters.
Bullet

Autum, TreesThe shortening days of fall stimulate the plants to withdraw chlorophyll from their leaves, allowing a brief display of other pigments before the leaves are shed and plants enter an extended period of dormancy.

 

 

Fall Foliage

 

Bullet
The soil in the deciduous forests is fertile, enriched with decaying litter (mostly composed of the fallen leaves).
Bullet
There are five recognized layers in the Deciduous forest:
  • a tree stratum, 60 -100 feet high, dominated regionally by various combinations of oak, maple, beech, chestnut, hickory, elm, basswood or linden, walnut, and sweet gum.
  • a small tree or sapling layer, with not only younger specimens of the tall trees but also with species limited to this layer such as (in Virginia) Allegheny serviceberry or shadbush, sourwood, dogwood, and redbud.
  • a shrub layer often with members of the heath family, such as rhododendron, azaleas, mountain laurel, and huckleberries .
  • an herb layer of perennial forbs that bloom primarily in early spring.
  • a ground layer of lichens, clubmosses, and true mosses. Lichens and mosses also grow on the trunks of trees.

Inch in a Pinch Caterpillar

 

 

"By the way, if you have any questions, be sure to click on Professor Owl. You can send him an email and he'll answer as soon as he gets your question!

 




Racky at Risk Raccoon

 

"There's more diversity in this habitat area than you can imagine! Trees, I love trees! Don't you? They're great for climbing. If you sit real still in them, no one even knows you're there!! Some of my friends, who live here in the TDF, do just that. They use the trees to hide in. Speaking of my friends, let's take a look at the plants and animals that live in the Deciduous Forest! I sure hope you like them as much as I do! Click on the buttons below. Catch you in a little bit!"

 Plants LinkAnimals Link

Racky at Risk Raccoon

 

"Nice folks, huh? There are some really crummy things happening to the temperate deciduous forests on Earth. It's getting really risky to live in this forest! In case you haven't realized it yet, that's why my name is Racky at Risk! I think, if you know what they are, you might be willing to do something about them. Below are listed the problems this habitat area is experiencing. Please read through them very carefully. Take all the time you need. I'll just sit here and wait 'til you're done!"




Threats to the Deciduous Forests
Bullet

Industrial Air PollutionAir pollutants from fuels we burn are destroying forests, killing our wildlife and poisoning the soil.

 

 

 

Industrial; Air Pollution

 

Bullet
Millions of acres of forests have suffered from the effects of acid rain. It damages their leaves and causes production of smaller fruit and less seeds used in reproduction. Even slight damage to trees can easily kill them because it reduces their resistance to frost, fungi, and deadly diseases and pests. Examples of this are:
 
  • Today, American chestnuts survive only as isolated stumps, with a few sprouts. In the early l900's, a fungus called chestnut blight spread in the forests, leaving dying and dead chestnut trees all over the Eastern United States.
  • Dogwoods (a berry tree) are being attacked by disease and are declining.
  • Dutch elm disease wiped out millions of trees in the US and Canada.
Bullet

Clear Cut Logging Clearing land for use in agriculture and clear cut logging have destroyed and continue to destroy millions of trees in the deciduous forest! Only in remote, mountainous areas, where farming and logging were impractical, are forests untouched.

 

 

Clear Cut Logging

 

 

Bullet

Strip Mining Mining involves stripping off the forest to get to the rock underneath. The acres and acres of land used in mining are damaged to the extent that forests do not regrow on the damaged and depleted soils.

 

 

Mining in Germany

 

Bullet
Global warming has definite debilitous effects on the Earth's Deciduous forests. As the Earth's temperature gradually increases, less and less precipitation falls on the deciduous forest. Less precipitation means less growth. The ability of the temperate deciduous forest to regenerate itself is severely impaired.
Bullet
A long history of human occupation of these wooded regions has reduced many forests to tiny remnants. In parts of Western Europe, thousands of years of forest destruction have resulted in the development of extensive areas of treeless heaths. Many areas in deciduous forests have been under continuous cultivation since the Neolithic.
Bullet
The introduction of non-native plant and animal species to the Deciduous forest can destroy the balance of the forest. Introduced non-native species compete for food and habitat often resulting in the endangerment of native species.
Bullet
Naturally occurring forest fires are part of the overall plan for keeping a forest healthy. As human development pushes further and further into wildlife habitat, people interfere with this natural cycle. Homes need to be protected from fire. Measures are taken to prevent fires and in the event that one occurs, it is extinguished immediately. Some plant species depend on fire as a seed release mechanism. Without fire the renewal of the forest does not take place.
Racky at Risk Raccoon

 

"Did you know that the Deciduous forest is the most altered of any habitat on Earth!? Everyone here in the DF sure could use your help! Please help us!! Read the list of things you can do and please start doing them! Thanks!" 




Things You Can Do To Help
Bullet
Use fewer products that come from trees. This will result in less logging and save forests and wildlife habitat. The high use of paper products results in increased logging. Every Sunday, more than 500,000 trees are used to produce 88% of newspapers that are never recycled! Recycle paper whenever possible!
Bullet
Always buy recycled paper products when they are available! If your local stores and markets do not carry recycled paper products, ask them to start carrying them!
Bullet
When camping, hiking or visiting our forests, put trash in available receptacles and keep our forests free of litter. If trash cans are not available, take your trash home with you and dispose of it there!
Bullet
Use cloth towels for cleaning up messes instead of paper towels.
Bullet
Use both the front and back of a sheet of paper before throwing it away. This saves money as well as trees!
Bullet
Plant trees! Trees planted around your home will help shade it in the summer. This helps keep the house cooler and lessens the need for air conditioning!
Bullet
Read books about forests; watch programs on television about forests; and surf the web to learn about the temperate deciduous forest. Educate others!
Bullet
The biggest contributor to air pollution is car exhaust. Car exhaust also contributes to acid rain and global warming. It is vital that we all drive less! Carpool whenever possible. Walk or ride a bike! Leave your car at home as much as you can!
Bullet
Make sure you are aware of any mining operations that are proposed for your area. Attend town meetings and let your voice be heard in opposition for any mining operations that might harm wildlife or wildlife habitat! Write to your government representatives and let them know you oppose these kind of mines!
Bullet
Grow native plants in your yards and gardens. They will withstand the changing seasons of the TDF and provide food and cover for native insects and small animals!
Bullet
Next time you're buying lumber, furniture, or other wood products, look for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label. It signifies that the wood came from trees grown in well-managed, independently certified forests!
Bullet
Never release or introduce non-native species into the area where you live. If you are unsure as to the consequences of releasing an insect or animal or planting a flower, call a local forestry agent and ask before you do it!

Racky at Risk Raccoon

"Boy, there are some good ideas in that list, aren't there? You know, I spend a lot of my time going through your garbage cans. I have a suggestion for how you can help - cut down on how much trash you guys generate! Jeez, all I see are fast food containers (all empty, I might add!) and paper bags! Don't eat so much fast food! Take your own cloth bags to the grocery store or at least re-use the bags you bring home! We really can't risk losing this habitat area! It's where a lot of the people on Earth live! Work with me on this, okay? Thanks!!" 

Inch in a Pinch Caterpillar

 

 

"I'm with Racky! We really cannot afford to lose the Temperate deciduous forest habitat or its inhabitants! I'd like to think my kids and grandkids will always have a home! You don't have to live in this area to help save it. Every little bit helps. Please do your part!! See you next month. We're gonna' look at the desert habitat. While you were looking at the deciduous forest, I managed to line up some camels for transportation! Sounds like fun, huh? Oh, I almost forgot, Racky says he's left a forest picture to print and color."

To learn more about Deciduous Forests, visit the following:
Deciduous Forest
What's It Like Where You Live? Temperate Deciduous Forest
Deciduous Forest
 

Paw printBack to Habitat Awareness Main page

Produced by Make Mine Magic Inc.
©1999-2009
.