Source: D4K: “Forests, Deserts, and Wetlands"
Visit the D4K companion Web site to learn more about Forests: D4K: “Forests, Deserts, and Wetlands"
This video segment from IdahoPTV's D4K defines 3 types of forests; rain, temperate and boreal and looks closely at the two, temperate and boreal, found in Idaho. You will discover some of the adaptations of the animals which live in those forests have to hot and cold temperatures.
[JOAN CARTAN-HANSEN] Forests combine some of the characteristics of wetlands and deserts. Rain forests have lots of water. Other forests are dry. Here in idaho the forests of the panhandle called boreal forests are very wet but the forests in other parts of the state are dry or temperate forests. The tall trees in a forest are called the over story. The wind spreads their seeds and pollen. The under story - the shrubs and grasses beneath the tall trees are designed to grow in shade. There's usually less wind in the under story so these plants have adapted by using animals to disperse their seeds.
In a temperate forest precipitation may fall throughout the year. However, during the winter moisture is less available because it's frozen. Animals that live in this type of forest must be able to tolerate hot summers and adjust to cold winters by either hibernating, migrating or keeping active. Hibernation gets black bears through the winter. They fatten up during the warm months on insects and berries then hibernate when food is scarce. When grasses and shrubs become buried in snow many animals like deer and elk migrate from mountains to lower elevations where food is more available.
If a forest animal does not hibernate or migrate it must stay active to survive the cold. This wolverine remains in high country but spends the winter feeding on dead animals, often the deer and elk that don't survive the harsh weather. In boreal forests the summers are wet and cool. Dead plants decompose slowly creating the same hydric soils that are found in wetlands. Animals like this moose have adapted to this wet cool climate. In the summer moose can be found feeding on the aquatic vegetation in ponds and marshes tucked into the forests. During the cold wet winters they eat willows and shrubs. Their long legs make it possible for moose to reach the tall branches and their black coat absorbs the warming rays of the sun.
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