Deciduous forest

South of the taiga is the broad-leaved temperate forest or deciduous forest, occupying large part of Europe, China and the United States, i.e. approximately 5% of the lands above sea level. The adjective ‘deciduous’ comes from the Latin de cadere and refers to the fact that leaves fall off these plants during the cold season. In these areas, temperatures differ remarkably from one season to the other: warm and wet in summer and cold in winter. Leaves fall in winter to avoid a useless loss of water through transpiration.
As to the climate, the rainfall here is approximately 300-1200 mm, steadily falling all through the year: there is no dry season. Summer generally lasts 4 to 6 months, and is very fertile for the vegetation, while in winter most plants stop growing. Winters are however much milder than at higher latitudes: even in the coldest days the daily minima never drop below -2°C

Special reports

From the Multimedia section