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Deciduous Forest Plant Adaptations

Deciduous means to shed or to fall off; trees of the deciduous biome shed their leaves once in a year. The deciduous biomes are located in between the Polar Regions and the tropics. Deciduous forests are found in the eastern part of the United States and large areas of Europe. The deciduous biome has four seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter. They have warm summers and cold usually snowy winters. Plants in these climates have special features of adaptations to cope with the yearly weather changes.

The trees of the deciduous biome include broadleaf and evergreen trees. The broadleaf deciduous are like the maple, oak, hickory and beech and the evergreens are the hemlock, spruce and fir. In typical deciduous forests there are three to four or sometimes five layers of plant growth.

The top layer of the canopy comprises of the tall deciduous trees. Though this layer is quite thick it allows passage of sunlight to reach the forest floor, encouraging the other layers to grow. The second layer comprises of the shorter kinds of trees. The third layers are shrubs while the fourth layer is the forest herbs. These herbs are wildflowers and berries. The fifth layer is the mosses and lichens that grow on tree trunks.

Deciduous forest plant adaptations:

The trees of the deciduous forest shed their leaves once in a year and during the dry or cold season the leaves are grown back in the spring and summer. The deciduous trees have broad leaves like in ash, beech, maple and oak.
In the spring the deciduous trees bear thin, broad light-weighted leaves. These leaves can easily capture sunlight that is necessary for food production by the process of photosynthesis.

In summer, the broad leaves help in food production.Drop in temperatures causes the trees to cut off the supply of water to the leaves and they area between the leaf stem and the tree trunk is sealed off. Due to limited sunlight and water the leaves are unable to produce the green pigment chlorophyll and this causes them to change into red, yellow and orange leaf colors of the fall.

Exposure of the broad leaves to the cold temperatures leads to water loss and tissue damage. To prevent his damage the deciduous trees make physiological and physical adaptations which are triggered by changes in the climate. During the winter season, the temperatures drop too low and the trees to protect their leaves from freezing simply shed their leaves and seal the places where the leaves attach to the branch. This method of losing leaves helps to conserves water loss through transpiration process. Before the complete death of the leaves, the food material in the leaves are drawn back into the twigs and branches, this food is stored and used until the following spring.
In the warmer temperatures of the spring, the trees grow back new leaves and restart the cycle.

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From Wikipedia

Temperate deciduous forest

A temperate deciduous forest, more precisely termed temperate broadleaf forest or temperate broadleaved forest, is a biome found in the eastern and western United States, Canada, central Mexico, southern South America, Europe, West Asia, China, Japan, North Korea, South Korea and parts of Russia. A temperate deciduous forest consists of trees that lose their leaves every year. Examples include oak, maple, beech, and elm.

Organisms and their adaptations

Many well-known animals live in this kind of forest. Some examples are the Eastern Gray Squirrel, bears, beavers, foxes, deer, rats, snakes, mice, wolves, raccoons, and large birds of prey like red-tailed hawks. These animals have unique adaptations suited for seasonal life. For example, some rodents store up fat, then hibernate during cold winters. Birds include the bald eagle, nightingale, cardinals, hawks, and the snowy owl.

The plants are adapted to survive in these conditions. For example, trees like the palm, white spruce, and the elm have leaves that absorb water and sunlight. The soaring branches do more than just provide shade for other creatures of this biome; they also provide nutrients necessary for the tree to live. Another example of adaptation: these trees shed their leaves in the winter. By shedding their leaves, they cannot transpire. Consequently, they are able to retain water for the winter. Plants also soak up nutrients from the soil. These plants shed their leaves in fall.


The temperate deciduous forest has a temperate climate, with summer highs of around 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (27 to 32 degrees Celsius). Winter highs are around 30 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 15 degrees Celsius). Temperate forests get about 35 to 60 inches (900 to 1500 millimeters) of pate]

human effects

Humans have often colonized areas in the temperate deciduous forest. They have also harvested wood for timber. As a result, less than one quarter of original forests remain. Temperate forests have also been used for farming.


''See also''

From Encyclopedia

Deciduous Forests Deciduous Forests

The temperate deciduous broadleaf forest (TDBF) is composed of broad-leaf angiosperm trees like the oaks, maples, and beeches familiar to many Americans and Europeans. The forests exist best in moderate climates that are neither too hot nor too cold and neither too wet nor too dry. In addition to the temperate zone, deciduous forests are found in tropical and sub-tropical climates in open savannas and/or in closed forests. While there are roughly thirty families and sixty-five genera in the TDBF, variation in the precise definition and defined area of the forest make absolute numbers impossible. With thousands of species, the TDBF is a highly diverse biome. Worldwide, there are five major groups of TDBFs. Within each group, botanists define TDBFs by the species that tend to occur in a given area. These collections of species, together with their environment, are called associations. Eastern North America today contains the most extensive TDBF. The forest reaches from about longitude 95°W (just west of the Mississippi River) to the Atlantic coast and from 30 to 45°N, thereby forming a quadrant that includes most of the northeastern quarter of the United States. The eastern United States TDBF was almost completely deforested for agricultural purposes by 1850. At that time, land was opened for agriculture in the Mississippi valley, and many farms were abandoned. Pines grew well in the remaining grassy fields, but after a catastrophic hurricane in 1937, the TDBF grew back. Today, there is much more TDBF in the United States than there was one hundred years ago (though still less than before the arrival of European settlers). There are nine generally recognized associations in the United States TDBF, each defined by differences in vegetation (see accompanying table). Though the species are representative of common dominants, many other species exist. TDBF associations are not completely separate. Many species, such as northern red oak and sugar maple, exist in more than one association. Nor are the boundaries between the associations sharp and easily identifiable. In particular, the Western Mesophytic association can be difficult to distinguish from its neighbors to the east (Mixed Mesophytic) and west (Oak-Hickory). Associations can change with time too. The Oak-Chestnut association is now almost completely devoid of chestnut, but many people still use the association name even though it is now mostly oak and maple. Association names in North America and elsewhere are most useful for distinguishing broad differences in forest type often associated with variation in soils, topography, and climate. The European TDBF, stretching through most of Europe (except for very hot and cold areas) from the Atlantic Ocean to the Ural Mountains, is the second-largest TDBF. Due to the moderating influences of the Gulf Stream, the TDBF exists as far as 60°N in northwestern Europe. Forests in Europe have been extensively modified by humans for more than two thousand years and are some of the most manipulated forests in the world. In the northern European TDBF, birch species are common, while in the middle European latitudes, beech (Fagus sylvatica ) is widely distributed and commercially valuable. Towards the south, various oak and maple species abound. As in North America, much of the once-cleared TDBF is now regrowing. The European TDBF is replaced by drought-resistant shrubs and evergreen broadleaf trees in the south and the boreal coniferous forest in the north. The last three TDBF areas are much smaller than the first two. East Asia, from 30° to 60°N and from central Japan to longitude 125°E in the northwest and longitude 115°E in the southwest, originally maintained very large forests. Today, even though the species mix is still very diverse, much of the East Asian forest outside of Japan is currently under cultivation and most existing forest fragments are protected refuges or in areas unsuitable for agriculture. Nearly all TDBF genera are present in East Asia, especially China. The Near East between 35° and 45°N, including areas around the eastern Black Sea and mountainous regions in Iran and near the Caspian Sea, supports a diverse TDBF. Finally, a narrow strip of South America including southern Chile and Argentina contain TDBF. Acacia caven and seven Nothofagus species are also found there. In nearly all cases, the deciduous trees of South America occur in mixtures with evergreen broadleaf species. Of the three major TDBFs, East Asia has by far the greatest diversity, followed by North America and Europe. East Asia was glaciated less severely than America and Europe, so most species were able to survive with little difficulty. In North America, the north-to-south orientation of major mountain ranges allowed species to migrate, and species diversity here is only slightly lower than in East Asia. In Europe, on the other hand, the east-to-west mountains caused the TDBF to be trapped by advancing glaciers. Many modern European TDBF species survived only in the Near East TDBF and migrated back after the glaciers retreated. Consequently, Europe has very low-species diversity. TDBFs are generally restricted to a warm temperate climate with four identifiable seasons in which the average temperature of the coldest month is between 3 and 18°C and the average temperature of the warmest month exceeds 10°C. The length of the frost-free period ranges from 120 to over 250 days. Precipitation is year-round and averages between 80 and 200 centimeters per year. Snowfall can range from nonexistent in the southeastern United States to extremely heavy in northern habitats. Climates that are wet and warm all year are occupied by tropical forest consisting of broadleaf evergreen trees. As climates become drier, as occurs at the western edge of the Oak-Hickory association, drought stresses are too extreme for TDBF and grasses become dominant. To the north of the major TDBF, extreme cold, short growing seasons and poor soils favor evergreen coniferous forests. TDBF soils tend to be deep and fertile and, unlike some soils in the northern coniferous forest, do not freeze year-round. For this reason, TDBFs have historically been popular for agricultural use. Deciduous leaves are the most distinctive feature of the TDBF. In the fall, spectacular reds, oranges, and yellows produce breathtaking displays across the TDBF. Why does this occur? During autumn, as temperatures cool and days shorten, trees send hormonal signals to their leaves causing them to turn colors and fall off the branch. First, leaves form a barrier between the leaf and the branch, known as the abscission layer. At the same time, chlorophyll, the compound that gathers light for photosynthesis, begins to degrade in the leaf. Many of the nutrients in the leaf are sucked back into the tree for next year's leaves. Chlorophyll is responsible for the usual green leaf color: once it is gone, yellow and orange pigments that were there all along become visible. Some of the sugar in the leaves of oaks and maples may be converted into red colors. Once the leaf is totally shut down and no longer conducting any photosynthesis, the abscission layer becomes very brittle. Any small breeze can snap the leaf off at this point. In the spring, using carbon from special storage cells in the trunk, trees grow a new batch of leaves. In an evolutionary adaptation designed to maximize the amount of light received, shrubs and small trees growing in the understory will begin growth before the overstory. The study of any recurring biological cycle and its connection to climate is called phenology. Patterns of bird migration and insect outbreaks are examples of phenological cycles. For centuries, scientists have been studying phenology in the TDBF. In the deciduous forest, phenology refers to the timing of spring leaf growth and fall leaf drop and their relationship to climatic variation. Observational evidence has shown that TDBF phenology is highly sensitive to variation in weather. Warm springs will cause leaves to grow earlier, sometimes by up to as much as one month. Conversely, plants respond to a cold fall by dropping th

From Yahoo Answers

Question:I am doing a science project in my science class and I need someone helpful here to help me with my project and tell me at least 4 decomposers in a Temperate Deciduous Forest and 1 adaptation for each one of them, 1 thousand thanks if someone answers my question. I have searched all over and can't find it. You don't even have to tell me what it is, you could suggest a website besides Wikipedia.

Answers:Heres a start you will need to research each category fungi --reproduce via spoors so that the wind can carry them to new habitats (ie logs, leaves, etc.) decomposers...can make their own food. (Instead, consumers must feed on other organisms, including producers and other consumers.Most animals, for example, eat plants or other animals that have fed on plants.) Decomposers feed on the tissues of dead or dying producers and consumers. Bacteria and fungi are common decomposers. saprophites(a bacteria--produces enzymes to digest the food externally then vacuum it such as fungi etc) lichen-- earthworms nematodes (soil invertebrates) The best wood rotters in the natural world are fungi (Barron, 26). The major wood rotters belong to the phyla Basidiomycota and Ascomycota. These fungi have the distinctive capacity to infiltrate and enzymatically digest the lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose components of the hardest wood. Roughly 80 billion tons of carbon are returned to the atmosphere each year as carbon dioxide through the biodegradation of woody material. Consequently, fungi play an important role in the carbon cycle (Barron, 27).

Question:I have to find out some adaptations, for example i know that woodlice are adapted to live in dark places and plants that grow under tree's are adapted to live under shade. But i need atleast 5 more adaptations so if you know any it would be really helpful

Answers:Deciduous forest plants lose their leaves. These means the temperature in these types of forests gets cold in the winter time (northern latitudes) Adaptations for living organisms: 1) Hibernation (sleep in dens ex. bears) 2) Migration (birds fly south for winter) 3) Winter Coats (rabbits & squirrels grow thick fur to stay warm) 4) Large Root System ( shorter growing period for plants & they need to maximize water collection) 5) Early Seed Production & Release - lots of trees & plants generate seeds during June so they can find soil, take hold, & start to grow before winter comes

Question:What are Relationships of Biotic and Abiotic Recources in a Decidudous Forest????????????????

Answers:1. Deciduous trees need more rainfall than grasslands, so rain is an abiotic factor that affects the species in the plant community. 2. Deciduous trees are adapted for cold winters and hot summers, so temperature affects the tree species. 3. Periodic fires are good for a deciduous forest because they burn off the fallen branches and undergrowth. When this material isn't burned and is allowed to build up, then a fire can be too big, too hot, and disastrous to the forest, burning up the trees instead of just rushing across the ground. There are plenty more, but this is a start.

Question:I need to know for a science project of college! this is needed!

Answers:Deciduous forests can be found in the eastern half of North America, and the middle of Europe. There are many deciduous forests in Asia. Some of the major areas that they are in are southwest Russia, Japan, and eastern China. South America has two big areas of deciduous forests in southern Chile and Middle East coast of Paraguay. There are deciduous forests located in New Zealand, and southeastern Australia also. Deciduous forests cover approximately 5% of the earth surface. The average annual temperature in a deciduous forest is 50 F. The average rainfall is 30 to 60 inches a year. In deciduous forests there are five different zones. The first zone is the Tree Stratum zone. The Tree Stratum zone contains such trees as oak, beech, maple, chestnut hickory, elm, basswood, linden, walnut, and sweet gum trees. This zone has height ranges between 60 feet and 100 feet. The small tree and sapling zone is the second zone. This zone has young, and short trees. The third zone is called the shrub zone. Some of the shrubs in this zone are rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, and huckleberries. The Herb zone is the fourth zone. It contains short plants such as herbal plants. The final zone is the Ground zone. It contains lichen, club mosses, and true mosses. The deciduous forest has four distinct seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In the autumn the leaves change color. During the winter months the trees lose their leaves. The animals adapt to the climate by hibernating in the winter and living off the land in the other three seasons. The animals have adapted to the land by trying the plants in the forest to see if they are good to eat for a good supply of food. Also the trees provide shelter for them. Animal use the trees for food and a water sources. Most of the animals are camouflaged to look like the ground. The plants have adapted to the forests by leaning toward the sun. Soaking up the nutrients in the ground is also a way of adaptation. A lot of deciduous forests have lost land to farms and towns. Although people are trying to protect the forests some poachers are trying to kill the animals in the forests. The animals are losing their homes because of people building their homes.