Eileen A. Inocelda
Jamyla P. Yala
Characteristics of deciduous Forest
1. 4 distinct seasons, summer, spring, autumn and winter
2. A good place for almost all sorts of birds and animals
3. A deciduous forest is a good source for water and food as well as good shelter for
4. There are 4 ditinct zones in this kind of forest
(see the details in the given link below)
5. The avarage temperature there in the forest is about 50 degree
Deciduous Forest Plants and Animals
The American Beech tree grows in the southern and eastern parts of the United States. It
grows in deciduous forests all over Maine and northern Massachusetts. It grows best in
deep, rich, moist, well-drained soils.
The American beech is a tall and wide tree. The mature tree size is anywhere from 90 to
100 feet tall, and spreads 50 to 70 feet. The bark that grows on the tree is very smooth,
pale and gray. The growth buds have a yellow tinge, looking a little like a bullet. The
leaves are bright green and are about three inches in length. They start wide, and then get
smaller and smaller, until they come to a point. The leaves have distinct, strong veins and
The American Beech tree does not like city living, probably because of the carbon
monoxide. The American Beech tree has a shallow root system and likes bottom land,
and upland soil. There are two reasons why it is hard to grow anything beneath the tree.
The first is because the leaves that grow on the tree block the sunlight and keep the
ground constantly in shade. The second reason is because much of the root system grows
all over the ground's surface, and uses any moisture that may reach the ground.
Mosses are simple, rootless evergreen plants. They can live in a wide variety of habitats,
but are most often found covering the ground, growing on stream beds, and on the base of
trees in deciduous woodlands. Carpet moss grows in eastern North America and Europe.
Carpet Moss, like its name, carpets the ground. In the spring the carpet moss is golden
green, and turns dark green as it gets older. It looks almost velvety. Its leaves grow
parallel to each other and taper off to a point at the end. The edges of the leaves have
long, narrow cells which grow in pairs and make the margins look serrated.
Mosses originated from aquatic plants and still have a lot of things in common with them.
Arctic moss actually survives the bitter cold of the arctic by growing under water. They
absorb water through pores which always stay open, and require constant moisture. They
don't have true roots, stems or leaves. They reproduce through spores and not through
The common lime is a tall, stately tree, which grows in the deciduous forests of Europe,
the British Isles, and the USA. In the USA it is known as a linden tree. It is the tallest
broad-leaved tree in Britain. In the past it was found growing throughout the old growth
forests of Europe. Today there are no original forests left there, but the common lime is
still widespread because it is frequently planted along avenues and in gardens. The
common lime can live up to 500 years.
The tree can grow to a height of 120-130 ft (25 m). Bushy side shoots grow along the
trunk from near the ground. The lower branches arch out, giving the tree an upside-down
The leaves of the common lime growsingly along a stem but not opposite each other, and
about 4-7 inches (5-10 cm) wide. They are roundish and slightly heart shaped with small,
fine-toothed edges. Their color is a dull, dark green color above and lighter green
underneath. The tops of the leaves are hairless but have tufts of white hairs at the junction
of the veins underneath. The leaves often have small blisters caused by aphids and other
The Guelder Rose prefers to grow at low altitudes and in semi-shade in Scotland and
England. It is native to the woodlands of the European deciduous forest. It is found at the
edges of woods, hedgerows and marshes. In the United States it is found in agricultural
zones 3 to 8, which is a relatively cool climate. It grows in both heavy clay and acidic
soil. It was first cultivated in Gelderland, a Dutch province, then introduced to England
The Guelder Rose is a deciduous shrub and a member of the honey-suckle family. This
shrub is also like the Common Elder. The Guelder Rose's flower is snowy white with flat
heads which are 3 to 5 inches across. The flower is wheel shaped and the outer flowers
have five petals and are sterile. The inner flowers are fertile and very small. They provide
nectar for the insects that pollinate them. The flowers turn into red berries. The Guelder
Rose is beautiful in August when the berries are ripe, and the leaves turn to a bright red
or rich purple before falling. It has maple-like leaves. This shrub can grow to 5 to 10 feet
You may have Lady fern in your own house. Many people use it to decorate their homes.
You may see it hanging or potted. People in Victorian times were crazy about Lady fern.
However, Lady fern is not only found in the house. It also grows in the wild, especially in
deciduous forests and the taiga of North America and Eurasia.
Lady Fern is a deciduous, perennial fern about 24 to 36 inches tall. Its light green, lacy
leaves are about 24 to 30" long and 6 to 9" wide and tapered at both ends. The fronds are
cut twice andgrow from a central base. The J-shaped spore casings, or sori, grow on the
underside of the leaf.
In the wild, Lady ferns can be found growing in meadows, open thickets, moist woods,
and along stream beds. They also grow in the cracks of rocks. In the taiga it usually
grows in the understory of white spruce, black spruce, Douglas-fir and western hemlock.
Lady ferns prefer shaded areas.
These plants have dark green, oval deciduous leaves which grow opposite each other on
the stem. The tips of the leaves are pointed and the bottoms are rounded or heartshaped.
The leaves are about 4 inches long and 3 inches across. Northern Arrowwood is different
from other viburnums because its leaves have big spiky edges, but its surface is smooth.
It has small white to pink flowers in flat-topped clusters about 4 inches across. The plant
blooms from May to June. The leaves and flowers grow on the top of long shoots.
The fruits of the arrowwood are fleshy and blue-black in color about 1/2 inch across.
They are a favorite food of Ruffed Grouse and chipmunks. Deer love to eat the leaves
and stems. The shoots were once used by Native Americans for arrow shafts.
The bark of Northern Arrowwood is grey and smooth. This shrub can sometimes grow to
fifteen feet in height.
The pecan tree can grow to enormous heights, sometimes to heights of 180 feet, and has
an upright growing pattern. The bark is pale gray or whitish brown, scaly, and deeply
furrowed. The bark on the pecan tree is rough and scaly, and is pale grey or brown. The
heartwood is solid brown and black.
The leaves grow in groups of 11-17. Each leaf is slightly pointed at the tip. The width of
the leaves are approximately 3 inches. Each full grown leaf is about 5 inches top to
bottom. This tree is a perennial. The Pecan tree has a shallow root system. The flowers
are tiny and hang down in tassels. The pecan uses wind topollinate. The pecan nut is long
and pointed with a thin shell.
The Shagbark Hickory tree has an ashy gray bark similar to birch trees except its bark
separates into long strips, which give the trunk it's shaggy look. The Shagbark Hickory
tree is tall and straight and can grow to about 100 feet tall. The Shagbark Hickories
branches can spread to 25 feet, the lower branches somewhat droop while the upper
branches are upright. The branches in the middle are just about horizontal. The wood of
this tree is strong and tough. The Shagbark has both male and female flowers. Male
flowers grow in bundles called catkins and female flowers are in clusters called petallets.
Tawny Milkcap Mushroom
The Tawny Milkcap Mushroom can be found in most deciduous forests. On the North
American continent it can be found in southern Canada and the eastern United States. It is
also common in Europe. In Japan it is known as chichitake and is used to make a
If you are a mushroom hunter, you may like to eat the Twany Milkcap. This species is
edible and is a favorite of collectors. It is besteaten fresh because a white "milk", or
sticky latex, seeps out and turns brown when the gills are cut, giving it the name Twany
Milkcap. It has a strong fish-like odor, especially when dry. Their flavor is mild.
The White Birch is a small to medium sized deciduous tree which grows to 70 or 80 feet
in height. As far as trees go it doesn't live very long, only about 140 years. Small hear-
shaped leaves are found at the ends of drooping twigs and branches. The paper birch has
both male and female flowers called catkins. These turn into little winged nutkins, which
ripen in early August to mid September. The wings help the seeds to fly away from the
parent tree so there won't be competition for food and water
The White Oak tree can grow from 80 to 100 feet tall ,3 to 4 feet in diameter around the
trunk and can spread from 50 to 80 feet. The Oak tree grows upright and its bark is
whitish gray . The life span of the Oak tree, if undisturbed is 500 to 600 years old. The
Oak tree's leaves have 7 to 9 rounded points which resemble finger like lobes. In May
and early June male flowers appear in slender catkins. Female flowers are not noticeable
to the naked eye. The Oak tree's seeds are commonly known as acorns, they are small
oval shaped nuts with a cap and they are mostly eaten by squirrels ,chipmunks and deer.
American Black Bear
The American black bear is the most common bear species in North America. These
bears hibernate in winters. They are omnivorous and feed on anything depending on the
location and availability. This native species communicate by grunting and marking trees
using its teeth and claws. The American black bear is listed by the IUCN as Least
American Burying Beetle
The American burying beetle or giant carrion beetle is between 25 and 45 mm long and
can be identified by its distinctive orange-red markings. These nocturnal species are
critically endangered and are on the verge of extinction. A huge number of these beetles
were found in the region east of the Rocky Mountains, but are now limited only to
Also known as the American eagle, bald eagles are birds of prey and feed on fish, small
sea birds, reptiles and mammals. They are found in various habitats including the eastern
deciduous forests of Quebec and New England. Bald eagles are listed as 'least concern' by
IUCN. The female bald eagle is larger than the male. The bald eagle is also the national
symbol of the US, and appears on its seal.
Beavers are large semi-aquatic rodents who are known for building dams and canals.
They build small lodges with the help of sticky mud, alongside water bodies. Beavers are
herbivores and their diet includes tree barks, twigs, leaves and water plants. They have
powerful front teeth which are used to cut trees as well as for food. Other characteristics
include webbed hind-feet and a broad, scaly tail. They are listed as 'least concern' by the
The bobcat is an adaptable predator found in the deciduous and coniferous woodlands of
North America. It is twice as large as the domestic cat but a little smaller than the Canada
lynx. Their diet varies according to location, season, and abundance. These solitary
predators mainly feed on rabbits, hares, chickens, small rodents, and deer. The bobcat is
listed as 'least concern' by IUCN.
Brown bears are comparatively larger than black bears and are often found in cool
mountainous regions. They are omnivorous, mainly feeding on fish and fruit, though they
are also known to eat small mammals and insects. Due to their big size, they are generally
immune to predatory attacks, except from other bears. Brown bears hibernate in dens and
are not sound sleepers like other hibernators, as they are easily awakened. They are listed
as 'least concern' by the IUCN.
Although coyotes can live almost anywhere, deciduous forests are one of their favorite
dwellings. Also known as American jackals, they usually hunt in pairs. Their diet consists
of small mammals, reptiles, mice and fruits. Coyote packs are generally smaller than wolf
packs, consisting of closely-related adults and offspring. Coyotes are listed as 'least
concern' by the IUCN.
The duckbill platypus is a semi-aquatic mammal only found in Australian deciduous
forests. They have a very unusual appearance with beaver-like tail, duck-like mouth and
webbed feet. Platypus is among the few mammals that are venomous, and it is also the
only mammal to lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. Platypus are carnivores,
feeding mainly on annelid worms, insect larvae and freshwater shrimps. They are listed
as 'least concern' by the IUCN.
The eastern chipmunk lives in deciduous wooded areas throughout eastern United States
and southern Canada. It forages for food and prefers bulbs, seeds, fruits, nuts, green
plants, mushrooms, insects, worms, and bird eggs. When there is excess food, chipmunks
transport food by storing it in pouches in their cheeks. Eastern chipmunks are listed as
'least concern' by the IUCN.
The eastern cottontail is one of the most common rabbit species in North America. Their
diet largely depends on availability, they mainly forage for bark, twigs, leaves, fruit,
buds, flowers, grass seeds, sedge fruits, and rush seeds. However, they also feed on
insects at times. Eastern cottontail rabbits run in a zigzag fashion when chased, and can
reach up to 18 mph. They prefer to live in forests, swamps, thickets, and bushes, where
there are plenty of places to hide. This rabbit species is listed as 'least concern' by the
Eurasian Red Squirrel
These red squirrels are arboreal, omnivorous rodents and can be found throughout
Eurasia. They can live up to 15 years, and their predators include eagles, hawks, and
coyotes. The numbers of Eurasian red squirrel have decreased drastically in Great Britain
and Ireland because of introduction of the eastern gray squirrel from North America.
They are listed as 'least concern' by the IUCN.
The European hedgehog is endemic to western Europe and Russia. Hedgehogs are
usually related to porcupines because of their appearance but they are closer to the moles.
Their diet includes slugs, earthworms, beetles and caterpillars. They are also known to eat
mushrooms, fruits, and occasionally, frogs and small rodents. European hedgehogs are
listed as 'least concern' by the IUCN.
Muskrats are small, dome-shaped, semi-aquatic rodents that live around water marshes,
lakes and streams. They mainly eat water plants and small shellfish, their predators
include raccoons and foxes. Muskrats are often mistaken to be rats because of their
appearance, however they are not related to rats. They are listed as 'least concern' by the
The Northern cardinal is a beautiful bird with a vibrant red color and a tall head crest.
Females are grayish olive in color. Gender of the species is also distinguished by the
mask-like pattern on the face, which is black in males and gray in females. They eat
insects, seeds and tree saps. They are territorial and tend to sing in loud whistles. This
species has been listed as 'least concern' by the IUCN.
Northern copperhead camouflages perfectly amidst fallen tree foliage, which help them in
hunting and protection against predators. Young copperheads have a lighter shade of
color. The bright-colored tail tip is a peculiar characteristic. They are listed as 'least
concern' by IUCN.
Opossums have a flexible diet, which make them successful survivors in diverse
locations and conditions. Opossums can be found in deciduous forests of North America.
They are nocturnal and opportunistic omnivores. Their varied diet includes fruits, berries,
insects, lizards, snails and leftovers by other predators. One peculiar characteristic of this
animal is that when threatened, they "play possum", which means that they act dead and
also emit a foul smell of a sick or dead animal. They are listed as 'least concern' by
Raccoons can adapt to a wide range of habitats, deciduous forest being one of them. The
most distinctive feature of raccoons is the mask-like pattern on its face, and its front
paws. This intelligent animal is usually nocturnal and is omnivorous, mainly feeding on
fruits, nuts, bird eggs, insects, small mammals and reptiles. Since its diet consists of such
wide variety of foods, raccoons are known as one of the world's most omnivorous
animals. This species has been listed as 'least concern' by IUCN.
The red-tailed hawk is one of the most common hawk species and can be found
throughout most of North America. They are carnivorous and opportunistic feeders. Their
diet ranges from mammals to rodents and insects to birds. Due to the abundance of rodent
species, deciduous forests are one of the most preferred habitats by red-tailed hawks.
This owl species is found in deciduous and mixed forests across Eurasia. They are
nocturnal, and mainly hunt rodents. Their physical characteristics, such as vision and
hearing adaptations and silent flight, are perfect for hunting at night. Due to their
nocturnal habits, appearance, and eerie cry, tawny owls are often associated with bad-
luck. This species of owl is listed as 'least concern' by IUCN.
The white-tailed deer can be found all over the USA, parts of Canada, South America and
Central America. They prefer deciduous vegetation, and forage for shoots, leaves, cacti,
and grasses. This deer species can be recognized by the characteristic white underside of
its tail. The white-tailed deer is listed as 'least concern' by IUCN.
Other deciduous forest animals
• Mallard Duck
• Mountain Lion
• Collared Peccary
• Wood Mouse
• Least weasel
• Fat Dormouse
Types of soil
The soils found in deciduous forests are some of the most fertile in the world. Like
grassland soils, these soils have been exposed to thousands of years of dense plant life.
The decayed material from living things accumulates in deciduous forests soils to make
them more suitable for sustaining plant and animal life. The soils found in these forests
are deep, well drained and contain clay, sand, silt and ample organic matter. Soils are
classified into 12 orders. The orders that that predominate in deciduous forests are
Alfisols and Ultisols.
• Deciduous forest soils are rich in organic matter. The particles that accumulate in
the soil from the waste products of animals, leaf litter and dead plants and animals
turns into the rich humus that darkens the color of the soil. Organic matter traps
plants nutrients in the soil so that they can be absorbed by plants rather than
washed out of the soil by water. Some deciduous forests are in regions with high
enough temperatures and enough water that organic matter breaks down quickly
in the soil. These deciduous forest soils are not as fertile as others.
• The material that a soil forms on is called its parent material. Parent material can
be solid bedrock, an ancient lake bed, a dried-up river or material blown in from
another area. Deciduous forests are defined by the type of trees that grow in them.
The type of tree is determined by the temperature and amount of water that falls
on an area. These two factors also change the way the soil is formed. Deciduous
forest soils can form on many different types of parent material, but since the
amount of water received annually, temperature and fauna are similar, the soils of
these forests are similar.
• Some of the soils found under deciduous forests are called Alfisols. Alfisols are
known to have several layers called horizons. These horizons have varying
amounts of clay, sand, silt and organic matter depending on how old the soil is
and what it formed on. Alfisols are separated into five suborders: Aqualfs,
Cryalfs, Udalfs, Ustalfs and Xeralfs. These suborders are defined by distinctive
properties such as moisture, clay content and annual temperature.
• Other soils found in deciduous forests are Ultisols. This soil order is separated
into five suborders: Aquults, Humults, Udults, Ustults and Xerolts. These soils are
all less fertile, acidic and leached by heavy rains. Ultisols are very old and as such
the mineral components of the soil are highly weathered. There is a lot of clay in
these soils as well as less calcium, magnesium and potassium then in other soils.
Ultisols can sustainably support old forests but are not suitable for intensive
Climate in Deciduous Forest
One thing that is interesting about this biome and its climate is that it has four distinct
seasons; spring, summer, autumn, and winter. Most deciduous forests have mild summers
averaging about 70 °F. Summer months usually begin in early June and end in late
August. Winter months don't begin until December. Winter temperatures are fairly cool
with an average temperature of a little below freezing. Almost all of the world's
deciduous forest is located by an ocean. The ocean and the wind are two big factors of
why the temperature and climate change so much in this biome.
Climate is a mix of temperature and precipitation. Deciduous forests have almost 14
inches of rain in the winter months and more than 18 inches of rain in the summer.
I hope you enjoyed my report on the climate of a deciduous forest and that you learned a
few things from it. Just remember that next time you look out your window you could be
looking at a deciduous forest.