Forest Biomes represent the largest and most ecologically complex systems.  They contain a wide assortment of trees, plants, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, insects and micro-organisms which vary depending on the zone's climates.  Sadly, boreal and rainforest biomes are being cut down at an alarming rate, with hundreds of species of plants and animals disappearing from the planet on a daily basis.

Map of World Biomes
Images of Forest Biomes

Forests represent a third of the earth's land, and are found in the four corners of the globe.  The major attribute of the forest biome is its trees. While they are different from animals in many ways, they share one common characteristic:  they breathe.  While humans and animals breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, trees take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.  Deforestation represents a great threat to the future of the earth's atmosphere, and the only way this can be avoided is by careful management of this resource.  Once a tree is cut down, another should take its place, but there is still too large a number of trees being cut down as opposed to the number of trees being planted.

Boreal, or Taiga biomes

The largest of the land biomes is the boreal, or Taiga biome.  Taiga biomes can be found in areas with shorter, warm summers and long winters; there are Taiga Biomes in Europe, Asia, Siberia, and North-America.  Because of the cold climates, plant life in the boreal forest is sturdy, consisting mainly of evergreens and other resilient vegetation. Because the forests' canopy is dense, forest floor vegetation is thin.  Animal life in the boreal forest consists mainly of birds and mammals, such as deer, wolves, and various rodents, and very few reptiles.  Most of the boreal forests' creatures are well adapted to the cold climate, and hibernate during the long winters.

Temperate Deciduous

Temperate deciduous forest are a close relative of the Taiga biome, and can be found in areas with a milder, shorter winter season.  In addition to evergreens, trees in the temperate forest include maple, elm, oak, cedar and other trees which shed their leaves in the fall.  The temperate forest's soil in richer than that of the boreal forests' and features a larger assortment of forest floor plan life; this is also due to the fact that the forests' canopy is thinner, allowing more light and heat to penetrate, permitting photosynthesis in the forest floor plants, and the survival of smaller, and cold blooded animals such as garter snakes, turtles, and a few amphibians.  Again, several of the temperate forests' species hibernate, and/or burrow in the ground to pass the winter months.

Other forests which fall between the boreal and temperate classification include  moist evergreen forests, moist evergreen and broad-leaf forests, dry evergreen forests, mediterranean forests, temperate evergreen forests, and temperate broad-leaf forests.
School of Forest Resources and Conservation
Virtual Library Forestry Resource
The Greater Evergreen Area Guide : Including the Communities : Bailey, Conifer, Evergreen, Genesee, Indian Hills, Kittredge, Lookout Mountain, Morriso
by Kristen Blum, et al (Paperback - February 1999)

Temperate Forest (Biomes of the World)
by Elizabeth Kaplan (Library Binding - September 1996)

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Last modified: October 30, 2009

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