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TEMPERATE DECIDUOUS FOREST BIOME

The maple-basswood forest region, encompassing lower Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and western Wisconsin, comprises the northwestern corner of the temperate deciduous forest. Sugar maple and American basswood (Tilia americana) are the major tree species within this region. Sugar maple is a prolific seeder, while basswood is a vigorous sprouter--properties which coupled with their understory tolerance, help account for the dominance of these species. Other important tree species in the region include boxelder (Acer negundo), blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata), and northern red oak. Bur oak and bitternut hickory occupy sites lower in nutrients. 

 

 

The beech-maple forest region is found almost entirely within Indiana and northern Ohio. American beech, similar to the codominant sugar maple in shade tolerance and most environmental requirements, prefers slightly moister sites. Because of its thin bark and shallow root system, beech is especially susceptible to fire injury, sunscald, and winter cracking. Other important species in the beech-maple region include black cherry (Prunus serotina), yellow birch, American ash, black walnut (Juglans nigra), tullip-poplar, red elm (Ulmus rubra), northern red oak, and, in the southern section, Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra). Shagbark hickory and various oaks occupy dry sites throughout the region. 

 

 

The oak-pine region occupies an area between the hardwoods of the Appalachians and the pure pines of the southlands. Generally speaking, half of this forest is comprised of hardwoods, primarily upland oaks, while the other half is a mixture of loblolly, shortleaf and Virginia pines (P. taeda, P. echinata, and P. virginiana, respectively). The dominant hardwoods are white oak, post oak, shagbark hickory, mockernut hickory, pignut hickory, and sweetgum.

 

 

 

The southern pine region occupies an area comprised of the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains, plus the Piedmont of the eastern and southern Appalachians. In spite of the dominance of pines, the natural climax vegetation is considered to be hardwoods. Throughout much of the southern U.S., the lands now occupied by pines were abandoned after a period of intensive use (farming, surface mining, etc.) and allowed to revert back to natural conditions. Most of these lands are highly eroded, with little of the A1 soil horizon remaining. A typical successional sequence on such lands in the Piedmont might be: (1) annual and perennial weedy forbs and grasses (crabgrass, goldenrod, asters, horseweed, ragweed and buttonweed); (2) broomsedge (a perennial grass); (3) woody invaders (eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), winged elm (Ulmus alata), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)); (4) southern pines (primarily loblolly and shortleaf)**; (5) oaks and hickories. This process of secondary succession may take several hundred years.

 

A great deal of the southern pine region is intensely managed for the production of pine pulp, poles and sawtimber.  Clearcuts, burns, replantings and young plantations are common scenes throughout the southeastern United States.

 

Temperate Deciduous Forest Biome page    1    2    3