Temperate Forest

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The temperate rainforest biome is cooler than their tropical counterpart. It receives a large amount of rain, as the name would indicate, but as it is further away from the equator, it goes through different seasons.

Temperate rainforests receive over 200 centimeters of rainfall a year. In some locations, that goes up over 350 centimeters. The precipitation can take the form of rain or snow.

The temperate rainforest biome is one of the smaller biomes of the world. It is found in the areas between warmer ocean waters and mountains.

This biome is found mostly in the Pacific northwest of North America. Smaller regions exist in areas of Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

Temperate Forest

Seasons

Different from tropical rainforests, temperate rainforests have two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The wet season is longer than the dry season.

The dry season is often foggy. This fog provides moisture allowing the plants of the temperate rainforest to survive.

Temperate rainforests lose their leaves as the dry season approaches. They regrow in spring in anticipation of the wet season.

The climate of a temperate rainforest is mild. Temperatures during the wet season rarely fall below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). During the dry season temperatures rarely exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperate coniferous forest

Plants

The temperate rainforest has two layers: emergent and canopy. Unlike the tropical rainforest canopy that has much of the leaves high in the air, the tallest trees in the temperate rainforest canopy grow their leaves very near the ground. This absorbs most of the sunlight, leaving the temperate rainforest floor for mosses and ferns.

Between the dry and wet seasons there is an increase in sunlight that reaches the lower layer of the temperate rainforest. This allows specific species of plants to thrive before the larger trees grow their flowers.

Large coniferous trees dominate much of the temperate rainforest. These include Douglas firs, spruces, and maples.

Temperate deciduous forest

Animals

Animals need to adapt to the changing seasons of the temperate rainforest. One way that they do this is through migration. Animals migrate away from temperate rainforests during the dry season and return to feed on fruit as the wet season approaches.

There are many different types of animals that live in the temperate rainforest. They include: amphibians, birds, deer, foxes, and raccoons. There are fewer mammals than in other biomes due to the temperate rainforest only have two layers of vegetation.

Interesting Facts:

  • Banana slugs thrive in temperate rainforests as the constant precipitation keeps them from drying out
  • Most trees in the temperate rainforest grow leaves as low as 15 centimeters from the ground
  • Fog accounts for 18-30 centimeters of the annual precipitation

Earth Science

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