A place that has regular seasons of warm and cold weather is called a temperate climate. Forests that grow here are known as temperate forests. In areas with cold winters, such as New England, Canada and Europe, most of the forests have deciduous trees. These trees have thin, flat leaves that die in the winter. Warmer areas, such as the coast of Oregon, are covered with evergreen trees, such as spruce and pine trees. These trees stay green and keep their leaves all year long.
- Trees in temperate forests can usually take cold weather, but they don’t grow well without water.
- In the spring, deciduous trees are bare and sunlight streams down to the forest floor. Wild flowers, such as bluebells, columbines or Indian paintbrushes, spring up.
- Fallen leaves litter the forest floor. As they decay, they create a rich, moist soil. Mushrooms and other fungi thrive in this environment.
- Most insects either die or hibernate during the winter. Birds often migrate to warmer climates so they can find food.
- Many animals, such as squirrels and bears, go on a feeding spree in the fall. Their fat reserves help them survive the winter.
- Temperate: a climate that includes the four seasons
- Deciduous: a tree that loses its leaves
- Decay: rot, decompose
- Spree: frenzy of activity
Head over to the University of California Santa Barbara to learn more about temperate forests.
Question: Are temperate forests important to people?
Answer: Just like rainforests, temperate forests help clean the air. They also provide wood for paper, floors, furniture and homes. Most of all, though, temperate forests offer a home to wildlife and plants, and give us enjoyment. There’s nothing better than a walk through a forest on a crisp, fall day.
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