Types of Forests

Types of Forests
There are three main types of forests. The tropical forest exists in regions such as Central and South America and parts of Africa and Asia. Temperate forests occur in North America, Europe and northeast portions of Asia. The boreal forests grow in northern Europe, Asia, Alaska and Canada, with two-thirds of the planets boreal forests found in Siberia. The differences between these forests come from the differences in their climates.

Tropical Forest

The tropical forest is a type that grows in the equatorial regions around the globe. They experience high degrees of both humidity and rainfall that precipitates growth. There is a dry season and a rainy season, with no winter in which the weather turns cold. The daylight is always around 12 hours per day, another factor that contributes to the growth of these forests. Tropical forests possess the ability to regenerate rapidly when trees are lost to harvesting and agriculture. In the typical tropical rainforest plants such as vines, mosses, ferns, palm trees and orchids exist along with large trees that keep their leaves. The animal life is diverse and features creatures such as bats, smaller mammals that live in the trees, an abundance of insects and a multitude of bird species. Not all tropical forests are rainforests however as some go through a prolonged dry season that results in deciduous trees or a mix of evergreen trees and trees that annually shed their leaves.


Temperate Forest

The temperate forests have seasons in which there are obvious and distinct temperature differences. The growing season is between 140 and 200 days in length and there is no frost for a period of between 4 to 6 months depending on the severity of the weather. These forests take much longer to grow back when cleared than tropical forests do since the growing season is much shorter. The rainfall is also less, with an average between 30 and 60 inches per year according to the region. Light filters down through the tops of a temperate forest's trees. This allows for growth under the trees of plants such as mosses and ferns. Trees such as the oak, maple, beech, birch, cottonwood and willow grow in temperate forests. Animals like deer, bears, foxes, bobcats and many bird species reside in these forests.

Boreal Forest

The boreal forest, also called the taiga, grows in the area between 50 degrees and 60 degrees of latitude in the Northern Hemisphere. The summers in a boreal forest are usually short and warm while the winters are prolonged and cold. The climate calls for a hardy type of plant, with the trees evergreen for the most part. Spruce trees, pines and fir trees dominate these forests. The growing season is no longer than 130 days, making regeneration to full growth much longer than other forest types. There is little to any penetration by the sun's rays through these thick forest canopies, translating into very sparse growth on the forest floor. The boreal forest animals include lynx, wolves, pine martens, fishers, wolverines, hares, squirrels and woodpeckers.


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