Wind The wind is a highly variable, nonliving factor that has a great impact on those that live in the deciduous forest. Strong winds fell branches and trees, beginning the decomposition process that returns nutrients captured in plants back to the soil. Plants rely on winds to spread pollen, fertilizing nearby plants. But winds also pick up particles from exposed soil, spreading not only dirt, but any bacteria or fungal microorganisms that may be present in the soil. Long periods of strong winds can even be responsible for spreading disease through a forest.
Water Water is nonliving, and plants and animals rely on it for survival. Whether falling on the forest plants as rain or drank by animals from a pond or slow-moving stream, life in the forest would not be able to survive without it. Standing and slow-moving water is also an entire habitat to a number of microorganisms, such as algae. When the temperature and chemical makeup of the water is right, this can encourage the growth of organisms like algae that can potentially throw off the existing balance of the ecosystem.. Rainfall is also a critical factor in the deciduous forest; the constant precipitation keeps soil moist without being wet, making it one of the most fertile biomes.
Temperature Warm spring months ease the plants and animals back to life, encouraging animal reproduction with the development of new leaves and plants. The warmer summer months allow these animals long enough to raise their young, often allowing them to set off on their own prepared to fend for themselves by the fall. As the temperature starts to drop, the trees of the deciduous forest lose their leaves and go into a state of hibernation. This temperature cue is critical for the animals as well, some of whom begin storing food for the winter months while others gorge themselves in preparation for hibernation. The long winter months mean a struggle for survival during the long period when the deciduous forest is snow-covered. The average annual temperature in a deciduous forest is 50° F
Sunlight All plants need sunlight to survive, and it is this basic building block of life that has formed much of the structure of the deciduous forest. Trees are encouraged to grow tall; the taller the trees, the more sunlight is available to the leaves of the canopy. Beneath these tall, established trees are a shorter layer, often close to the ground. These ferns and shrublike bushes tend to be varieties that thrive in shady conditions, as they have to survive on what sunlight makes it through the trees.
Animals A wide variety of mammals, birds, insects, and reptiles can be found in a deciduous forest biome. Mammals that are commonly found in a deciduous forest include bears, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, wood mice, and, in the U.S., deer can be found in these forests. While bobcats, mountain lions, timberwolves, and coyotes are natural residents of these forests, they have nearly been eliminated by humans because of their threat to human life.
ANIMAL ADAPTATIONS Migration and hibernation are two adaptations used by the animals in this biome. While a wide variety of birds migrate, many of the mammals and reptiles hibernate during the cold winter months when food is in short supply. Another behavioral adaptation some animals have adopted is food storage. The nuts and seeds that are plentiful during the summer are gathered by squirrels, chipmunks, and some jays, and are stored in the hollows of trees for use during the winter months.
Animals and their adaptations Chipmunks can run quickly to get away from predators. They have a good sense of hearing. They blend White-tailed Deer: White tailed in with the wood and forest aroundAmerican Black Bear deer are solitary animals and bear them. They have sharp teeth and reddish fur in summer that turns paws for finding and digging upLike most of the hibernating grayish in winter. The male deer food or making burrows. They alsospecies, these black bears have antlers that they tend to shed hibernate during the winter so theyalso like to hide in the winter and regrow in a particular period if dont die of cold. They find andseason, especially for the year. They feed themselves on store food all year long for the longbreeding. green leaves during summer and winter months. nuts and such things during winter.
Plants Trees of this biome include both broadleaf, deciduous trees, such as maple and oak. A deciduous forest typically has three to four, and sometimes five, layers of plant growth. Tall deciduous trees make up the top layer of plant growth, and they create a moderately dense forest canopy. Although the canopy is moderately dense, it does allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. This sunlight allows plants in the other layers to grow. The second layer of plant growth includes saplings and species of trees that are naturally shorter in stature. A third layer (or understory) would include shrubs. Forest herbs, such as wildflowers and berries, make up a fourth layer. During the spring, before the deciduous trees leaf out, these herbs bloom and grow quickly in order to take advantage of the sunlight. A fifth layer would include mosses and lichens that grow on tree trunks.
PLANT ADAPTATIONS In the spring, deciduous trees begin producing thin, broad, light- weight leaves. This type of leaf structure easily captures the sunlight needed for food production (photosynthesis). • The broad leaves are great when temperatures are warm and there is plenty of sunlight. • However, when temperatures are cold, the broad leaves expose too much surface area to water loss and tissue damage. • To help prevent this damage from occurring, deciduous trees make internal and physical adaptations that are triggered by changes in the climate.
PLANT ADAPTATIONS Cooler temperatures and limited sunlight are two climatic conditions that tell the tree to begin adapting. In the Fall, when these conditions occur, the tree cuts off the supply of water to the leaves and seals off the area between the leaf stem and the tree trunk. With limited sunlight and water, the leaf is unable to continue producing chlorophyll, and as the chlorophyll decreases the leaves change color. The beautiful display of brilliant red, yellow, and gold leaves, associated with deciduous forests in the fall, is a result of this process. Most deciduous trees shed their leaves, once the leaves are brown and dry. 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.
Plants and their adaptations Many trees have thickBroad leaves can bark to protect In the autumn,capture a lot of against the cold deciduous treessunlight for a tree. winters in the drop their leaves temperate deciduous to minimize water forest. loss.