Forests: Temperate Evergreen and Deciduous

Authored by: Lindsay M. Dreiss , John C. Volin

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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Temperate forests represent one of the major biomes on Earth. They are most common in eastern North America, western and central Europe, and northeastern Asia, where the climate is defined by warm summers, cold winters, and intermediate levels of precipitation. To a lesser extent, they are also present in this same climate in Australia, New Zealand, South America, and South Africa. Temperate forests are dominated by either deciduous or evergreen canopies. In temperate deciduous forests, more commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere, plants drop their leaves in autumn, allowing for high seasonal variation in light availability to the understory. By contrast, in temperate evergreen forests, which are more commonly found in the Southern Hemisphere, plants keep their leaves year round. The temperate forest biome is rich in geologic and anthropocentric history, with much of the land shaped by glacial and human activity. Located in some of the most industrialized places in the world, temperate forests have been instrumental to socioeconomic development in these regions. As a consequence, these forests have been heavily impacted by expanding human populations, which remain the primary continuous threat to the structure and function of these forests.

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