|"Microclimates" are created within forests. A valley bottom collects water and cold air, mountain habitats will be drier on one slope than the other because of the rainshadow effect, and south-facing slopes in northern temperate zones are warmer on average than those facing north. These microclimates affect only relatively small areas within one type of forest.|
A valley creates a microclimate, collecting water and cool air. Photo courtesy Al Walters.
The forest affects the overall climate, plus the microclimates. The tree canopy softens the fall of precipitation hitting the forest floor, protecting smaller plants from being crushed under the weight of a heavy snowfall. Water vapor evaporates from trees' leaves, contributing to moisture levels in the area. Shade from the tree cover helps keep snow from melting too quickly and causing spring floods. Forests keep soil temperatures cooler and create shelter from wind. Without this impact the forest has on the climate, many species could not persist.
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