The Temperate Deciduous Forest
Temperate deciduous forests are found in the eastern part of the United States and Canada, most of Europe, and parts of China and Japan.
The temperate deciduous forest is a biome that is always changing. It has four distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Winters are cold and summers are warm. Temperate deciduous forests get between 30 and 60 inches of precipitation a year. Precipitation in this biome happens year round. Because the soil is very fertile and hardwood trees are good for building, this biome has some of the world's largest population centers in it.
The leaves of deciduous trees change color and fall off in the autumn and grow back in the spring. The broad, flat leaves of deciduous trees lose water quickly. In the winter, when the ground is frozen, it is difficult for them to to absorb water, so they drop their leaves! Deciduous trees stay dormant in the winter and bloom again in the spring!
Temperate deciduous forests have a great variety of plant species. Most temperate deciduous forests have three levels of plants. Lichen, moss, ferns, wildflowers, and other small plants can be found on the forest floor. Shrubs fill in the middle level and hardwood trees like maple, oak, birch, magnolia, sweet gum, and beech make up the third level. Conifers like spruce, fir, and pine trees are also be found mixed in with the hardwood trees in this biome. Sometimes the taiga and the temperate deciduous forest overlap.
There is great diversity of life in this biome. In New Hampshire's temperate deciduous forests you'll find many species of insects, spiders, slugs, frogs, turtles, and salamanders. You'll also find birds like broad-winged hawks, northern cardinals, snowy owls, and pileated woodpeckers in this biome. Mammals in New Hampshire's temperate deciduous forests include white-tailed deer, raccoons, opossums, porcupines, and red foxes.
Animals that live in the temperate deciduous forest must be able to adapt to the changing seasons. Some animals in this biome migrate or hibernate in the winter.