Deciduous Forest United Kingdom

Climate of the Forest in the Southern UK

  • Average Monthly Rainfall: Max. of 2.5 inches, Min. of 1.5 inches
  • Average Monthly Temperature: Max. of 74.3° F, Min. of 37.4° F
  • 4 Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter)
  • No wet or dry season (Fall and Winter tend to be more wet)

Net Primary Productivity

Besides tropical rain forests, deciduous forests have the greatest amount of yearly rainfall. The deciduous forest is one of the most diverse biomes, and it is typically found in 20° to 50° latitude. In other words, most deciduous forests are located in the northern hemisphere.

Soil Quality

As deciduous trees lose their leaves during the fall, the soil of deciduous forests is typically very fertile. The fallen leaves decay on the forest floor, adding nutrients to the soil. Due to this fertile soil, deciduous forests are often cleared for farming. Deciduous forests are also used for recreation such as hunting or hiking, wood for timber and fuel, and national parks.

Invasive Species: Fallow Deer

Fallow deer were purposely introduced by Normans in the 11th century. As all of deer's natural predators have been hunted to extinction in the UK, winters are becoming warmer, and deer's amount of natural habitat is decreasing, this invasive species adds to the excess of deer. This introduces problems such as the overgrazing and trampling of UK woodland.

The Rhododendron is one of UK woodland's worst invasive species. Introduced purposely in the 1700's, it became increasingly popular in gardens. However, the plant has spread to the wild and is a threat to competing plants.

Endangered Species

Endangered Species: Hedgehog

Located in English and Irish woodland edges, farmlands, and gardens, the hedgehog is a docile creature. However, it has become endangered due to fenced in gardens, gardens becoming smaller, and gardening techniques such as mowing (all habitat destruction and fragmentation).

The Red Squirrel has also become endangered due to the introduction of the grey squirrel from North America (invasive species). The grey squirrel has outcompeted the red squirrel and pushed its population towards Northern England.

Animals in Deciduous Forests

Red deer have been successful forest species for several reasons, one being that they are the biggest native land mammal in the UK. Also, their coats change color with the season and fawns have spotted coats. This allows them to blend in with the forest floor and hide from predators. In the cold UK winters, deer have hollow hairs which insulate them.

Red foxes live across the UK in woodland areas. They are very adaptable to different environments, including urban areas, which has helped their survival. In the forest, foxes hide their food in the ground or under leaves for later use. Also, foxes are highly intelligent hunters with strong senses. Their ability to pick up low frequencies allows them to hunt tiny creatures such as mice on the forest floor.

Weasels have also adapted to hunt small rodents on the forest floor. Their slender bodies allow them to hunt in small tunnels. Also, similar to deer, they molt and their fur changes color to blend in with the forest during different seasons. This allows them to hunt prey more efficiently and hide from predators.

Plants in Deciduous Forests

Typically found on forest edges, dogwoods are well adapted to surviving forest fires as saplings sprout from the root crown after the tree is destroyed. Also, they have slightly pointy edges on their leaves, so predators are pricked if they come too close.

Flowering crabapples are very common in UK deciduous forests and shrubs. Their hardiness allows them to grow in difficult soils, which is one reason they are common in neighborhoods and urban places. Besides being able to survive in a variety of soils, crabapples can also survive in very cold conditions and it is moderately drought tolerant.

The UK is famous for its English bluebells which cover forest floors in the Spring. Bluebells, like other woodland wildflowers, have adapted to live with limited sunlight. Specifically, they spend the year as bulbs underground and then sprout in the springtime when there are fewer leaves on trees to block out sunlight. The underground bulbs allow the flowers to survive winter frosts.

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