About 420 million years ago, during the Silurian Period, old plants and also arthropods started to accounting the land. Over the countless years that followed, this land colonizers arisen and adjusted to their brand-new habitat. The first forests were conquered by large horsetails, society mosses, and also ferns the stood approximately 40 feet tall.

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Life top top Earth ongoing to evolve, and in the so late Paleozoic, gymnosperms appeared. Through the Triassic period (245-208 mya), gymnosperms conquered the Earth"s forests. In the Cretaceous period (144-65m mya), the very first flowering plants (angiosperms) appeared. Lock evolved in addition to insects, birds, and mammals and radiated rapidly, conquering the see by the end of the Period. The landscape adjusted again throughout the Pleistocene Ice eras — the surface of the earth that had actually been dominated by tropical woodlands for numerous years changed, and temperate forests spread in the northern Hemisphere.

Today, forests occupy around one-third of Earth"s soil area, account for over two-thirds that the sheet area of floor plants, and also contain about 70% of carbon current in life things. They have actually been held in reverence in folklore and also worshipped in old religions. However, forests are becoming major casualties of people as human populations have increased end the past several thousand years, happen deforestation, pollution, and also industrial usage problems to this important biome.

Present-day woodland biomes, organic communities the are dominated by trees and also other woody vegetation (Spurr and also Barnes 1980), can be classified follow to countless characteristics, v seasonality being the many widely used. Distinctive forest species also happen within each of these broad groups.

There room three major types that forests, classed according to latitude:

Tropical forest

Tropical woodlands are identified by the greatest diversity the species. They happen near the equator, within the area bounded by latitudes 23.5 levels N and 23.5 levels S. One of the major characteristics that tropical forests is their unique seasonality: winter is absent, and only two seasons are existing (rainy and also dry). The size of daylight is 12 hours and also varies little.


From left: Olympic Peninsula rain forest, Washington; Patria River, Costa Rica; Ranomafana nationwide Park, Madagascar; Hawaiian forest.

Temperature is on median 20-25° C and also varies small throughout the year: the median temperatures of the three warmest and also three coldest months carry out not different by more than 5 degrees. Precipitation is evenly dispersed throughout the year, with yearly rainfall exceeding 200 cm. Floor is nutrient-poor and acidic. Decomposition is rapid and soils are subject to heavy leaching. Canopy in tropical woodlands is multilayered and also continuous, allowing little light penetration. Flora is highly diverse: one square kilometer might contain as many as 100 various tree species. Trees are 25-35 m tall, v buttressed trunks and also shallow roots, largely evergreen, with big dark eco-friendly leaves. Plants such together orchids, bromeliads, vines (lianas), ferns, mosses, and also palms are existing in tropic forests. Fauna include countless birds, bats, small mammals, and also insects.

Further subdivisions that this group are established by seasonal circulation of rainfall:

evergreen rainforest: no dried season. Seasonal rainforest: quick dry duration in a very wet tropical an ar (the woodland exhibits definite seasonal changes as trees undergo developmental transforms simultaneously, yet the basic character that vegetation remains the same as in evergreen rainforests). Semievergreen forest: longer dry season (the top tree story is composed of deciduous trees, if the reduced story is still evergreen). Moist/dry deciduous forest (monsoon): the size of the dry season increases additional as rainfall reduce (all trees are deciduous).

More 보다 one fifty percent of tropical forests have already been destroyed.

Temperate forest

Temperate forests occur in eastern North America, northeastern Asia, and western and central Europe. Well-defined seasons with a unique winter characterize this forest biome. Middle climate and a growing season of 140-200 days throughout 4-6 frost-free months differentiate temperate forests.


From left: Wisconsin woods; a forest along California"s north coast; the forested hills that the Adirondacks, new York.

Temperature varies from -30° C to 30° C. Precipitation (75-150 cm) is distributed evenly throughout the year. Soil is fertile, enriched through decaying litter. Canopy is moderately thick and permits light to penetrate, resulting in well-developed and richly diversified understory vegetation and also stratification the animals. Flora is defined by 3-4 tree varieties per square kilometer. Trees are differentiated by large leaves that are shed annually and also include such species as oak, hickory, beech, hemlock, maple, basswood, cottonwood, elm, willow, and also spring-flowering herbs. Fauna is represented by squirrels, rabbits, skunks, birds, deer, hill lion, bobcat, timber wolf, fox, and black bear.

Further subdivisions that this team are identified by seasonal distribution of rainfall:

moist conifer and evergreen broad-leaved forests: wet winters and dry summers (rainfall is focused in the winter months and also winters are relatively mild). Dried conifer forests: dominate higher elevation zones; short precipitation. Mediterranean forests: precipitation is focused in winter, less than 100 cm per year. Pleasant coniferous: gentle winters, high annual precipitation (greater than 200 cm). Temperate broad-leaved rainforests: mild, frost-free winters, high precipitation (more than 150 cm) evenly distributed throughout the year.

Only scattered remnants of initial temperate forests remain.

Boreal forest (taiga)


From left: taiga in Jasper national Park, Alberta, Canada; woodland west the Stockholm, Sweden.

Boreal forests, or taiga, represent the biggest terrestial biome. Occuring between 50 and also 60 degrees north latitudes, boreal forests can be discovered in the large belt the Eurasia and also North America: two-thirds in Siberia with the rest in Scandinavia, Alaska, and Canada. Periods are split into short, moist, and moderately heat summers and also long, cold, and also dry winters. The size of the growing season in boreal forests is 130 days.

temperature are really low. Precipitation is primarily in the type of snow, 40-100 cm annually. Soil is thin, nutrient-poor, and acidic. Canopy permits short light penetration, and also as a result, understory is limited. Flora consist greatly of cold-tolerant evergreen conifers v needle-like leaves, such as pine, fir, and spruce. Fauna incorporate woodpeckers, hawks, moose, bear, weasel, lynx, fox, wolf, deer, hares, chipmunks, shrews, and also bats.

Current considerable logging in boreal woodlands may soon reason their disappearance.


Top photo by Sherry Ballard © 2004 California Academy of Sciences. Tropical forest photos, indigenous left: Albert P. Bekker © 2000 California Academy that Sciences; Lloyd Gomez © 2004 California Academy that Sciences; Gerald and also Buff Corsi © 2000 California Academy that Sciences; Carl Austin Rietz © 2004 California Academy of Sciences. Temperate forest photos, from left: Sherry Ballard © 2004 California Academy the Sciences; Mona Bourell © 1999 California Academy the Sciences; David K. Smith, jajalger2018.org. Boreal forest photos, from left: Reuel R. Sutton © 2006 California Academy that Sciences; David K. Smith, jajalger2018.org.

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The original biomes pages were produced in autumn 1996 by the Biomes Group, biologic 1B class, section 115, at UC jajalger2018.org; every were reformatted, through many new photos added, in March, 2007. Coral reef photograph by Marguerite Gregory © 2004 California Academy the Sciences. The pages were re-designed in 2019 as component of a basic jajalger2018.org website overhaul. Uneven noted, contents on this pages have not to be updated.