By definition, a temperate forest is a forest that lies in the region sandwiched by the tropics and the world’s polar regions on either side of the equator. More precisely, these forests exist between latitudes 25° and 50° on either side of the equator. As they move closer to the poles, these forests gradually become boreal forests, which have both coniferous and deciduous trees. The region in which temperate forests lies is known as the temperate zone. The temperate zone is a region that is characterized by some of the globe’s widest changes in seasons. Temperate forests have several subcategories including deciduous, broadleaf, mixed, rainforest, and coniferous. Temperate forests have been existence for around 65.5 million years now after their origination during the early stages of the Cenozoic Era.
Temperate Deciduous Forests
Also known as temperate broad-leaf forests, temperate deciduous forests are a type of temperate forest whose main type of tree is one that sheds the leaves every year. This type of forest mainly grows in places with cool winters and warm moist summers. In the world, these forests exist in places like East Asia, Western and Central Europe, and North America. Some of the trees growing in these forests include oak, elm, beech, and maple. Places with milder winters have more diversity compared to those that do not. In the world, the largest forest of this kind is at New York’s Adirondack Park where it spans an area of about six million acres.
Temperate Coniferous Forests
This type of forest grows in areas where the winters are cool, the summers are warm, and there is enough rainfall for tree survival. Evergreen conifers dominate most of these forests although some of them have a mixture of other kinds of trees. These forests grow wildly in the United States, Asia, Europe, and other places. Some of the vegetation and trees growing in these forests include pine, cedar, Douglas fir, spruce, and juniper. A related type of this forest is the tropical coniferous forests, which, as the name suggests, grows in tropical climates.
Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests
This type of forest exists in places where the temperatures range between 37 and 60°F. The places where they occur are characterized by rainy and warm climates that may have dry seasons such as in East Asia. Other areas where these forest exists are characterized by a fair rainfall distribution all around the year. Some of the shortleaf trees that grow in these forests include oaks, beeches, birches, and maples. Coniferous trees that also grow here include pine, spruce, and fir.
These forests grow in areas that receive high amounts of rainfall. The average rainfall in these areas is about 55 inches while the mean annual temperature ranges from 39 to 54°F. The wet conditions of these forests allow for the growth of undergrowth, which includes ferns, shrubs, and mosses. In the world, they occur in places such as New Zealand, the southwestern region of South America, southeast Australia, southern Japan, and other regions. Some the trees that grow in these forests include Douglas fir, Fraser fir, and Red spruce.