The animals that live in temperate evergreen forests include black bears, brown bears, deer, elk, small rodents, robins, owls, hares, raccoons, newts, fleas, centipedes, wasps and hornets. In the Northwestern United States and other areas with formidable winters, evergreen forests are home to lynx, bobcats, bison and wolves. These forests are also home to dozens of bird species.
The diversity of temperate evergreen forests reaches beyond their fauna. Plants thriving in these forests include oak, laurel, cedar, pine, spruce and larch trees. The huge redwoods of California grow in temperate evergreen forests, as do trees in the cypress family. The trees and shrubs growing in these forests are typically hardy and able to grow in sandy soil, rocky outcroppings and other difficult locations. They must also tolerate dramatic, sudden temperature changes.
The animals and plants in temperate evergreen forests endure regular wildfires. The fires destroy many small plants and animal habitats. Larger evergreen and coniferous trees, however, have thick bark that preserves their living core from the ravages of fire. Decaying detritus from forest fires fertilizes the soil, making it easier for new shrubs, flowers and other small plants to take root. Berries, nuts and seeds from these plants are important food sources for animals such as bears, birds and rodents. Flowering plants are also vital to the local insect population.