Threats to deciduous forests include acid rain, clear-cutting of trees and introduction of non-native species. These threats jeopardize the atmosphere and lives of organisms living in temperate deciduous forests in several ways. Although stemming from different sources, the negative effects on deciduous forests contribute to a decline in health and even size of forests over time, changing their landscape and offsetting delicate ecosystem balances.
Acid rain, a human-caused threat, harms deciduous forests in several ways. This pollution stems from vehicle emissions and pollution from power plants as they burn fossil fuels. Toxic particles accumulate in the atmosphere, then release back to the earth in the form of acid rain. This chemical rain primarily affects trees and their leaves. It stunts growth of tree leaves, making them smaller and less efficient in producing berries and seeds. In turn, trees suffer from a lower reproductive capacity. They also become more vulnerable to diseases and damage from insects and frost.
The introduction of non-native species also threatens temperate deciduous forests. These species thrive in forest habitats and offset natural ecosystem chains. They out-compete native plants and animals for food, resources and land, sometimes killing off native populations entirely. Lastly, temperate forests suffer clear-cutting, or removal of large areas of tree cover. Humans clear large areas to create agricultural lands or harvest timber, leaving forests fragmented and impaired.