Some of the most prominent characteristics of temperate forest are well-defined seasons, distinct winters, moderate climate and a long growing season. In contrast to tropical forests and boreal forests, temperate forests have a growing seasons of up to 200 days. Temperate forests consist mostly of deciduous trees, which lose their leaves in the autumn and grow new ones in the spring.
Temperate forests have a moderate to dense canopy which allows little sunlight through. The constant falling of leaves provides soil with rich supplies of nutrients from decaying organic matter, so a wide variety of trees and shrubs can grow in this biome. Another characteristic of temperate forests is the high level of precipitation in the form of rain, dew or snow.
Temperate forests contain a diverse selection of wildlife, mostly mammals and insects, but there are snakes and lizards that rest in hollowed-out logs. Birds make their nests in taller trees, and there are occasionally fish in streams and rivers that flow through temperate forest. The wildlife, like the plants, adapts to the winter conditions by wither migrating or hibernating. Bears are well-known hibernator species. Most of Eastern North America, Western Europe and Asia have a predominant temperate forest biome.