Utah's Deciduous Forests


It is a very hot, muggy and lazy day in the middle months of the summer. After hearing you complain about the heat all morning, your parents suggest they take you out of the scorching city heat. You hop in the car and head up the canyon. When you reach the mountains, you notice that it is much cooler. The trees shade you from the sun, and provide you with a breath of fresh air. Getting into the trees and getting away from the city is a favorite activity for many. There is something about this biome that is peaceful and refreshing. This is the deciduous forest; which is comprised of trees which shed their leaves each year or annually.


Collect leaves from around your home. Or if you can, go to the mountains and collect leaves from the trees there. Use the Internet to identify them. Next, carefully place your leaves between two sheets of waxed paper. With the help of an adult, use an iron to press the waxed paper. Make a leaf identification book out of your pressed leafs.



Deciduous forests are large land areas where most of the trees shed their leaves in the fall. In Utah, the deciduous forests are found on the lower slopes mountains before you reach the conifers (pine trees). In North America, deciduous forests once covered a large portion of the eastern United States. The climate in this area has four distinct seasons. The winter in deciduous forests is cold, the summer is hot, and the sfall and spring are mild. The average yearly rainfall measures between 75 and 150 cm (30 to 60 inches) in this area. Trees found in the deciduous forest include maple, birch, elm, oak, sumac, cottonwoods, hickory and cherry. Also found below the trees where there is less sunlight are ferns, clover and grasses.



Animals that live in this biome include many types of birds such as woodpeckers and hummingbirds. Squirrels also live in the trees. Larger animals such as raccoons also live in the deciduous forest. One of the larger animals that you have probably seen on you visits to the mountains are deer. Living on the forest floor are salamanders, insects, field mice, and foxes.



Humans have changed much of the deciduous forest biome. Cities and farmland has replaced much of these forests. People have also had a great impact on the life this biome. Some animals which were common in a forest must now survive around humans. Many species that once thrived there are now disappearing.


Use the Internet or other resources to find out about a bird called the passenger pigeon. Where did it live and what happened to it? Write a fictional story about a passenger pigeon named Peter using this information.



By clicking on any of the pictures below you can find out more about the deciduous forest.

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Updated August 7, 2001 by: Glen Westbroek

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