|In a deciduous forest, over 90% of the organic material, such as leaves, produced by forest plants every year is not eaten by herbivorous animals and insects. Instead, when leaves die and branches fall, they go directly to the fungi under the forest floor.||
Tiny mushrooms begin to grow on rotting logs, helping to decompose the wood. Photo by Maya Walters.
|It can take as long as three years for fungi and bacteria to decompose fallen leaves. Thick, tough needles of coniferous trees can take even longer. Because of cold temperatures, fungi can't actively decompose material during the winter. They also can't survive in areas with extremely acidic soils, such as bogs. Because of the lack of fungi, organic material in bog forests does not decompose easily.|
[temperate forests] [coniferous forests] [boreal forests] [boreal bogs]
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