The deciduous forest is a type of biome found throughout the eastern portion of North America, the middle of Europe and in some parts of Asia. The average deciduous forest experiences between 30 and 60 inches of annual rainfall, and the average annual temperature is approximately 50 degrees F. This biome is named for its principle vegetation, which includes many species of deciduous trees that shed their leaves annually.
A unique feature of deciduous forests is their defined seasonality. They experience four distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. Each season is associated with specific changes in the trees that occupy this biome. In the fall, the leaves change color to orange and yellow, and they fall to the ground. The trees enter a period of dormancy in the winter, sprout new leaves in the spring, and then flourish and grow throughout the summer. Common trees in the deciduous forest include maple, beech, oak, basswood and elm. There is also an undergrowth region of smaller plants, including blackberries, ferns, mountain laurel and azaleas.
Animals that live in deciduous forests must be able to deal with seasonal temperature fluctuations. Many, including the black bear and brown bear, do so by entering a period of hibernation during the cold winter months. These animals also eat a wide variety of foods, which allows them to survive in various weather conditions throughout the year.