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Temperate Rainforest Biomes

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What is a Temperate Rain forest
 
There are two types of rainforest biomes temperate and tropical rainforests. Temperate rainforests are found along coasts in temperate regions. The largest temperate rainforests are on the pacific coast in North America, stretching from Alaska to Oregon. Other temperate rainforests are found along the coast of Chile, the United Kingdom, Norway, Japan, New Zealand, and S. Australia. The largest temperate rainforests are on the pacific coast in North America, stretching from Alaska to Oregon. Tropical rainforests are generally found between 30N and 30S latitudes, covering 6-7% of the Earth’s land surface.A temperate rainforest grows in four main layers, with different trees, flowers, and other plants in each layer.
These layers are:
The Top Layer (called the emergent layer)
Huge trees rising high above the rest of the forest, therefore receiving the most sunlight.
The second layer (called the canopy)
Tall trees growing close together so that their tops are close, forming a fairly continuous cover.
The third layer (called the understorey)
Smaller trees, bushes, and plants such as ferns, form the understorey. Not much sunlight reaches here, because the canopy blocks the sun.
The fourth layer (called the forest floor)
Few plants grow on the forest floor because almost no sunlight reaches it. The leaves and plants that drop from the upper layers provide food and shelter for animals and insects that inhabit the forest floor.

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Temperate Rainforest in pink
 
Tropical Rainforest in green

Animals

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Roosevelt elk are sometimes known as Olympic elk and they are the largest of the big game animals. A mature bull may weigh as much as 1,000 pounds or even more, but on the average they will weigh much less. Both male and female elk have a dark-colored neck mane. Antlers of the males are heavy, and tend to rise straighter and with much less spread than antlers of the Rocky Mountain elk.

The greatest difference between Roosevelt elk and Rocky Mountain elk is in their habits and distribution. Roosevelt elk choose to live in the rain forests of the Pacific coast. They prefer the logged and burned over areas of the coastal mountains and the western slope of the Cascades. Upon finding an area which meets their needs they spend their entire lives there. Huckleberry, trailing wild blackberry, vine maple, salal, and other shrubs are favorite food during the late summer, fall, and winter. Weeds and grasses are preferred in the spring and early summer.

Roosevelt elk are larger in size and darker than a Rocky Mountain elk. Antlers are shorter, heavier, with a narrower spread and often "webbed" or crowned at the top.

Feeding occurs just after daylight and again in the early evening. When food becomes scarce, the elk herd must spend more time in search of it.

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Gray wolves are carnivores that are related to the jackal and the domestic dog. Wolves range from Alaska to Mexico and have declined in population since the first Europeans began to settle in North America.

Wolves are one of the most widespread predators and are the largest of the wild dog family weighing between 80 and 120 pounds with the largest known wolf weighing in at 172 pounds. Most males rarely exceed 120 pounds while most females rarely exceed 100 pounds. From nose to tail tip wolves range in length from 4.5 feet to 6.5 feet. Heights range between 26-32 inches at the shoulder. Coloration varies and does not seem to be an adaptive function. Color ranges from black to almost white while the most common color is middle gray. The hair is not of a solid color but a mixture of red, black, white, gray, and brown.

Wolves have excellent hearing as well as a very sensitive olfactory sense. It is believed that wolves can hear and respond to other wolves’ howls at more than four miles away. It is also believed that wolves’ sense of smell is equal to that of dogs, which is 14 times that of humans

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The size of the mountain lion depends upon several environmental factors. Climate, elevation, vegetation, and food supply all affect the end outcome of the cat's size, as it does with other creatures of the wild. Adult males can be quite large, possibly more over 8 feet in length from nose to tail tip and weigh in between 130 and 200 pounds. Females, fully grown, can be 7 feet long and weigh somewhere from 90 to 120 pounds.

The mountain lion is an unspotted cat with tawny coloring on the upper parts and sides. It is darkest on the middle of the back and tail. Its face is memorable; from the nose to the eyes it's grayish brown with a pale patch above each eye. It has blackish areas in back of the ears and the tip of the tail is black. Whitish areas are evident on the chin, lips, throat, and underparts. The underside of the tail is grayish white. Of course there is some variance of coloration from cat to cat. The general coloration ranges from yellowish brown to grayish brown on the upper parts and a paler, almost buff color on the belly. The eyes of a fully grown mountain lion are sometimes grayish brown, but often are a remarkable golden color.

Mountain lions are most active at dusk and dawn. They do, however, roam and hunt at all times of the day and in all seasons. Deer is the main food source in areas where they are available. Other prey for the mountain lion are: wild sheep, raccoons, beaver, elk, rabbits and other wild animals, and unfortunately, livestock. An adult mountain lion is capable of bringing down and subduing a 600 pound moose.

Plants

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Deer Fern or Blechnum spicant are very common understory on upland prairies, less common in forest understory.  Two types of fronds occur on these fern.  Sterile fronds are perennial, growing in radial pattern from rhizomes with pairs of leathery leaflets.  One to three fertile fronds are deciduous, growing vertically from center of clump with smaller leaflets and rolled margins.  Growth forms, especially size, are different between forest and prairie.  Forest deer fern are typical of the species, with fronds 20-120 cm long, 35-70 pairs of leaflets on each frond, with leaflets 1-5 cm long.  These fern look similar to Sword Fern.  Deer fern on the prairies are very stunted.  Fronds are less than 20 cm long, often less than 10 cm with 10-20 leaflet pairs less than 2 cm long.

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One type of plant often found in a rainforest is an epiphyte. Epiphytes are plants that live on the surface of other plants, especially the trunks and branches. They often grow on trees to take advantage of sunlight in the canopy. In temperate rainforests common epiphytes are mosses and ferns, while in tropical rainforests there are many kinds of epiphytes, including orchids and bromeliads. There are more than 20,000 varieties of orchids found in the rainforest.

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Lianas are vines that begin life on the ground as small self-supporting shrubs and rely on other plants to reach the light-rich environment of the upper canopy. Because lianas use the architecture of other plants for support, they devote relatively little to structural support and instead allocate more resources to leaf production and stem/root elongation for rapid growth. Since lianas are rooted throughout their life unlike other structural parasites like epiphytes and hemiepiphytes they take nothing from the tree besides support.
    Lianas have a variety of adaptations for attaching themselves to their host and climb towards the forest canopy. These adaptations include stem twining, clasping tendrils arising from stem, leaf and branch modifications, thorns and spikes that attach the liana to its host, downward pointing adhesive hairs, and adhesive, adventitious roots . The relative proportion of lianas with different climbing mechanisms might be directly influenced by the successional stage or disturbance regime of the forest.

Threats to the Temperate rainforests
Most of the threats toward the temperate rainforest come from humans harvesting trees to use as resources for such things as paper, pencils ,and furniture .Other threats towards the temperate rainforest comes from nature. These threats include fire from thunder storms , floods from heavy rain, and lighting may destroy trees causing damage to some animal homes.
 

Glossary
The Top Layer (called the emergent layer)
Huge trees rising high above the rest of the forest, therefore receiving the most sunlight.
The second layer (called the canopy)
Tall trees growing close together so that their tops are close, forming a fairly continuous cover.
The third layer (called the understorey)
Smaller trees, bushes, and plants such as ferns, form the understorey. Not much sunlight reaches here, because the canopy blocks the sun.
The fourth layer (called the forest floor)
Few plants grow on the forest floor because almost no sunlight reaches it. The leaves and plants that drop from the upper layers provide food and shelter for animals and insects that inhabit the forest floor.
Deer Fern are very common understory on upland prairies, less common in forest understory. 
Epiphytes are plants that live on the surface of other plants, especially the trunks and branches.
Lianas are vines that begin life on the ground as small self-supporting shrubs and rely on other plants to reach the light-rich environment of the upper canopy.

For more information visit www.blueplanetbiomes.org;
Holt Envimental Science (2004) by Karen Arms