Temperate forest

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A temperate forest is a forest found between the tropical and boreal regions, located in the temperate zone. It is the second largest biome on our planet, covering 25%[1] of the world's forest area, only behind the boreal forest, which covers about 33%. These forests cover both hemispheres at latitudes ranging from 25 to 50 degrees,[2] wrapping the planet in a belt similar to that of the boreal forest. Due to its large size spanning several continents, there are several main types: deciduous, coniferous, mixed forest, and rainforest.


The climate of a temperate forest is highly variable depending on the location of the forest. For example, Los Angeles and Vancouver, Canada are both considered to be located in a temperate zone, however, Vancouver is located in a temperate rainforest, while Los Angeles is more subtropical.[3] Temperate forests typically have winters that often reach below freezing, however even this is not always true. The East Coast forests retain their deciduous nature largely due to the excessive freezing days each winter,[4] as the leaves often freeze over and are only designed to live for one season. Milder areas such as the southern coast of British Columbia where the average winter lows are above freezing[5] often have evergreen rainforests.

Types of temperate forest[edit]


They are found in Europe, East Asia, North America, and in some parts of South America. Deciduous forests are composed mainly of broadleaf trees, such as maple and oak, that shed all their leaves during one season.[6] They are typically found in three middle-latitude regions with temperate climates characterized by a winter season and year-round precipitation: eastern North America, western Eurasia and northeastern Asia.[7]


Coniferous forests are composed of needle-leaved evergreen trees, such as pine or fir. Evergreen forests are typically found in regions with moderate climates. Boreal forests, however, are an exception as they are found in subarctic regions.[8] Coniferous trees often have an advantage over broadleaf trees in harsher environments. Their leaves are typically hardier and longer lived but require more energy to grow.


As the name implies, conifers and broadleaf trees grow in the same area. The main trees found in these forests in North America and Eurasia include fir, oak, ash, maple, birch, beech, poplar, elm and pine. Other plant species may include magnolia, prunus, holly, and rhododendron. In South America, conifer and oak species predominate. In Australia, eucalypts are the predominant trees. Hardwood evergreen trees which are widely spaced and are found in the Mediterranean region are olive, cork, oak and stone pine.

Temperate rainforest[edit]

Temperate rainforests are the wettest of all the types, and are found only in very wet coastal areas. Trees here are all evergreens, and are typically covered with thick moss and underbrush.[9] Adding to its rarity is that most of the temperate rainforests outside protected areas have been cut down and no longer exist.[10] Currently, complete temperate rainforests can only be found in select areas of the Pacific Northwest, parts of Chile and New Zealand. Small stands can be found in Great Britain and southern Australia.[11][12]

Effect of human activity[edit]

Temperate forests are located in the middle latitudes where much of the planet's population is. Not only were these forests cut down to build cities (i.e. New York City, Seattle, London, Tokyo, Paris), they have also been "cut down long ago to make way for cultivation."[13] This biome has been subject to mining, logging, hunting, pollution, deforestation and habitat loss.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Forest Regions Temperate Zone". Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Temperate forest". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  3. ^ Platnick, Norman I. (1991). "Patterns of biodiversity: tropical vs temperate". Journal of Natural History. 25 (5): 1083–1088. doi:10.1080/00222939100770701.
  4. ^ "Environment of the Temperate forest". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010 Station Data". Environment Canada. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  6. ^ Basic Biology (2016). "Forest".
  7. ^ "deciduous forest", "Encyclopaedia Britannica", Retrieved on 20 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Temperate forest | ecology". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Temperate Rain Forests". NPS. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Temperate Rain Forests". NPS. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Temperate Rainforest Biome Location". Earth Eclipse. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  12. ^ Webb, Len (1 October 1959). "A Physiognomic Classification of Australian Rain Forests". Journal of Ecology. British Ecological Society : Journal of Ecology Vol. 47, No. 3. 47 (3): 552, 553, 559, 564, 565, 567, 568. doi:10.2307/2257290. JSTOR 2257290.
  13. ^ de Rothschild, David (19 May 2008). Earth Matters. DK Children.
  14. ^ "Human Influences on the Temperate Rainforest". Sciencing. Retrieved 17 July 2019.