Students of GCSE Geography will look at some of the different climates and environments on Earth. One environment they will study is that of the temperate forests - coniferous, broadleaf and mixed.
Temperate climates are found in the milder places between the tropics and the polar regions. Without the extremes of temperature found in the tropics and at the poles, the temperate regions are considered moderate and their seasons show less extreme changes. The UK is in this temperate region and is heavily influenced by the maritime climate as the North Atlantic Current brings warmer waters up from the south.
Temperate forests have on average between 200mm and 350mm of rainfall per year, and mild and moderate temperatures. This steady rainfall and lack of extremes allows for shrubs, flowers and trees to grow at a steady rate and adapt to more generalised conditions.
Temperate forests are divided into three types - coniferous forests, broadleaf forests and mixed forests. A specific type of broadleaf forest is the deciduous forest, a type that is found widely in the British Isles. Some temperate forests receive enough rainfall to be considered rain forests. Whilst these mostly occur in North America, the coastal regions of Africa and the mountainous regions of Asia, they also notably occur in New Zealand and the British Isles. In the British Isles these so called Celtic rainforests or Atlantic oakwood forests occur in isolated pockets around some notable lochs in Scotland, in the English Lake District, in Devon and Cornwall, on the valley sides of the River Dart and some riverine gorges on the slopes of Snowdonia. Some of these regions that are considered temperate rainforests receive in excess of 2,000mm of rainfall per annum.
These temperate areas are valuable ecosystems for a huge variety of species. They are simpler in terms of structure, having a canopy and under structure, but without the other layers that characterise tropical forests. Play this quiz and test your knowledge of coniferous, broadleaf and mixed temperate forests.