Temperate forests can be found in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, located between about 25 and 50 degrees in latitude. These forests are prevalent in eastern North America, western and central Europe and northeast Asia, where the climate is moderate and precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year.
The temperature in these areas falls between -30 degrees and 30 degrees Celsius, and there are generally four distinct seasons, including a winter period. The growing season often lasts for 140 to 200 days, and yearly precipitation is usually between 30 and 60 inches. Oak, hickory, beech, hemlock, maple, pine and other tree species can be found in this type of forest, as well as many species of shrubs, ferns and wildflowers. Some of the animals that make their home in temperate forests are white-tailed deer, chipmunks, black bears, robins, foxes, hawks and squirrels. The soil in these areas is fertile and constantly replenished with nutrients from decomposing plant material. This type of forest first appeared on Earth around 65 million years ago, during a time when global temperatures dropped from previous levels. Temperate forests can typically be sub-divided as either coniferous or deciduous, depending on whether the dominant tree in the area is of the evergreen or broad-leaf variety, respectively.