The Forest Biome
Forests makeup about 30% of the total land cover on earth and are of incredible value to life on
earth. They are a store of carbon and play a very important role in climate control. They have a
watershed role and are a source of many raw materials that humans depend on. It is believed that
forests have the most biodiversity. A small portion of the Rainforests, for example, may be home
to millions of insects, birds, animals and plants. There are three main biomes that make up Forest
Biomes. These are the Tropical Rainforest, Temperate and Boreal Forests (also called the Taiga)
Temperatures of forests biomes (especially the tropical rainforest) are generally high all year though,
but a lot cooler at the surface. This is because there is very little sunlight reaching the forest floors
as a result of the heavy vegetative cover.
Humidity is extremely high with lots of rainfall, exceeding 200cm all year though.
Soils are loose and very airy, with high acidity and decaying organic matter.
Plant types of the Tropical Rainforests are usually huge trees with buttress roots, lots of large green
leaves and shallow roots. Ferns and palms are also common. Plants in the Temperate forests are less
dense with a bit of sunlight reaching the floors. Tree types include the willow, basswood and elm. Plants
of the Boreal are mostly conifers with needle-like leaves. There is very little understory and lots of light
at the floors. Trees like fir and spruce are common.
Small mammals, birds, insects and bats are common in the tropical
rainforests, as they either can fly up for sunlight or do not need
sunlight. However all the forest biomes have lots of skunks, deer,
squirrels, foxes, birds and reptiles.
An example of the Tropical Rainforest is the Amazon. Other
examples are the Scandinavian forest (boreal) and those in the
North East of America.
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