INTRODUCTION A deciduous forest, simply described is a forest that is leafless
during the winter. Eury species make up this type of forest, meaning that the
species can tolerate a wide range of conditions. In the extreme northern
latitudes, the growing season is short causing the trees to be leafless the
majority of the year. The deciduous forest is subjected to distinct weather
cycles and temperature shifts. In this area of the northeast we experience four
distinct seasons, and for a tree species to thrive it must adapt to the stresses
corresponding to each season.
Of the three basic types of temperate broadleaf forests, (temperate deciduous
forest, temperate woodlands, and temperate evergreen forest) our lab data deals
with characteristics of the temperate deciduous forest. This forest type once
covered large portions of Eurasia, South America, and North America. As with
most native forests, they have been cleared so that the land could be used for
farming or residential use. The temperate deciduous forests of North America
were more diverse than the same type of forests in Europe due to glacial history.
Glacial action dumped till as the ice edge retreated, and North America
inherited a fertile soil base. Soil type is an important factor for which
species of trees can thrive in an area. The general dominant tree species for
temperate deciduous forests are Beech, Ash, Oak, and in our region also Tulip,
Maple, Birch, and Hickory. Developed forests consist of four layers. The layers
are: canopy, sub canopy, shrub, and ground cover. This layering affect benefits
the diversity of the ecosystem by providing a rich variety of habitats. It is a
result of adaptation and competition for sunlight and shows the continuing
process of succession. The stratification of a forest, by intercepting the some
of the available sunlight at various locations, also creates micro-climates with
a wide range of temperatures and moisture conditions. The soil composition... [continues]
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