Skip Navigation
Button that takes you to the Dinosaur Floor page.Button that takes you to the Earth Floor page.Button that takes you to the Resource Room page.Button that takes you to the Teacher's Lounge page.Button that takes you to the Elevator page.
     

Image that says Biomes. Image of a deciduous forest.

Deciduous Forest: Plants
Trees of this biome include both broadleaf, deciduous trees, such as maple, oak, hickory, and beech, and evergreens, such as hemlock, spruce, and fir. A deciduous forest typically has three to four, and sometimes five, layers of plant growth.

Tall deciduous trees make up the top layer of plant growth, and they create a moderately dense forest canopy. Although the canopy is moderately dense, it does allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. This sunlight allows plants in the other layers to grow. The second layer of plant growth includes saplings and species of trees that are naturally shorter in stature. A third layer (or understory) would include shrubs. Forest herbs, such as wildflowers and berries, make up a fourth layer. During the spring, before the deciduous trees leaf out, these herbs bloom and grow quickly in order to take advantage of the sunlight. A fifth layer would include mosses and lichens that grow on tree trunks.

Image of deciduous forest trees with leaves of red and orange.Plant adaptations
In the spring, deciduous trees begin producing thin, broad, light-weight leaves. This type of leaf structure easily captures the sunlight needed for food production (photosynthesis). The broad leaves are great when temperatures are warm and there is plenty of sunlight. However, when temperatures are cold, the broad leaves expose too much surface area to water loss and tissue damage. To help prevent this damage from occurring, deciduous trees make internal and physical adaptations that are triggered by changes in the climate.

Cooler temperatures and limited sunlight are two climatic conditions that tell the tree to begin adapting. In the Fall, when these conditions occur, the tree cuts off the supply of water to the leaves and seals off the area between the leaf stem and the tree trunk. With limited sunlight and water, the leaf is unable to continue producing chlorophyll, the "green" stuff in the leaves, and as the chlorophyll decreases the leaves change color. The beautiful display of brilliant red, yellow, and gold leaves, associated with deciduous forests in the fall, is a result of this process. Most deciduous trees shed their leaves, once the leaves are brown and dry. Photos 2000-www.arttoday.com

Back | Next

 

 


Image that says Earth Floor.
Button that takes you to the Diversity page.
Button that takes you to the Adaptation page.
Button that takes you to the Plate Tectonics page.
 Button that takes you to the Cycles page.
Button that takes you to the Spheres page.
Button that takes you to the Biomes page.
Button that takes you to the Geologic Time page.

  Biomes
  Biome Summary
  How to Read a Climograph
 

Arctic Tundra

Image of a star. Deciduous Forest
[ Animals | Plants ]
Desert
Taiga
Tropical Rainforest
Tropical Savannah
 
             
     
Button that takes you to the Exploring the Environment home page.

Animals | Plants

Biomes | Biome Summary | How to Read a Climograph | Arctic Tundra | Deciduous Forest | Desert | Taiga | Tropical Rainforest | Tropical Savannah

Diversity | Adaptation | Plate Tectonics | Cycles | Spheres | Biomes | Geologic Time

  Image of a castle that links back to the MSESE home page.  
Button that takes you to the Dinosaur Floor page.Button that takes you to the Earth Floor page.Button that takes you to the Resource Room page.Button that takes you to the Teacher's Lounge page.Button that takes you to the Elevator page.

Site maintained by the ETE Team
Last updated on
April 28, 2005

Some images 2004 www.clipart.com

Privacy Statement and Copyright 1997-2004 by Wheeling Jesuit University/NASA-supported Classroom of the Future. All rights reserved.

Center for Educational Technologies, Circuit Board/Apple graphic logo, and COTF Classroom of the Future logo are registered trademarks of Wheeling Jesuit University.