|The leaves of broad-leaved trees are a far more desirable food source for insects than the tough waxy needles of coniferous forests. Many kinds of insects feed exclusively on leaves. But they are not a constant food source, because in most temperate broad-leaved forests, trees are deciduous, meaning they shed their leaves every winter.||
The leaves of a Douglas maple. Photo courtesy Al Walters.
|A thick, nutrient-rich "litter layer" of the fallen leaves collects on the ground and is gradually decomposed, enriching the soil. Only in the warmest, moist areas do leaves remain on the trees all year. Most other food sources in the broad-leaved forests are also seasonal: flowers occur in the spring and early summer, providing food for pollinating insects, fruit ripens near the end of summer, seeds and nuts become available in the fall and are an especially important food source since they remain throughout the winter. Animals in these forests have to be able to adapt to different diets in different seasons.|
[leaves] [seasons] [soil] [flowers] [insects] [seeds, nuts, & fruit]
view the condensed version of the broadleaf forest article for faster printing/reading
return to the temperate forests article