Deciduous Woodlands

Deciduous Woodlands

Deciduous woodlands contain trees with broad leaves but lose them in winter. Examples of such trees include oak, beech and elm. They thrive in regions with warm summers, high rainfall, and cool winters.

Due to the intensive human activity on land, many deciduous woodlands have not been able to thrive in several parts of the world today. The forests are mainly found in areas between 40 to 60 Degrees North and South of the Equator. These woodlands can also be referred to as semi-natural since they have been re-planted by man. However, man has also over the years invaded the ecosystems for agriculture, property development among other activities. As a result of this, the numbers of these ecosystems continue to diminish.

Characteristics of Deciduous Forests

Deciduous woodlands usually do well in areas that experience summer temperatures of between 25 to 20 Degrees Celsius. Besides, the regions also experience cool winters not less than zero Degrees Celsius. .

The ecosystem receives moderate rainfall of about 1000 to 1500mm, which is evenly spread throughout the year. Considering the favorable summer temperatures and longer days, the woodlands are quite productive and sustain a variety of plant and animal life.

There are various kinds of vegetation found in deciduous ecosystems. The most common kinds of trees include oak, elm and beach, which usually shed off their broad leaves in winter. However, the forests have layered vegetation which comprises of tall trees and shrubs, thriving under. The layer of shrubs has species like ash, hazel and holy. Beneath this layer, grass and bluebells can be found, although their lives greatly depend on the amount of light that seeps under.

The huge dropping of leaves by the plants that thrive in deciduous forests helps in the creation of a fertile soil. In Great Britain, the soils in these forests is brown earth. The soil experiences low levels of leaching and earthworm activity, which assists in mixing it up.

Importance of Deciduous Woodlands

This ecosystem plays a critical role in the life of plants, animals and humans. The following are some of their advantages;

Survival of plant and animal species

The woodlands support the continuity of a wide range of plant and animal species that call it home. Without the forests, several plant and animals species would be extinct. However, they are under constant threat mainly due to human activity and climate changes impacted by global warming.

Wildlife conservation

Man benefits from deciduous forests in quite a number of ways, one of which is conservation of wildlife. There are several woodlands that have been reserved by various governments and wildlife agencies across the globe for raising threatened animal species.

In these forests, national parks and animal zoos have been built where people can visit to see the animals at a fee. However, the animal and species may vary depending on the region where the woodland is located.


Huge tracks of deciduous forest lands across the world have been cleared by man to give room for farming. This has been greatly impacted by the rapid population growth and depletion of food resources in natural forests.

Generation of resources

These woodlands also contain timber, which is used in building and construction, manufacturing paper and also as firewood. The forests also generate certain plans species used in the manufacture of herbal medicines and research. The parks where animals are kept also generate resources to the operators.

Forests have also been cleared to give space for construction of settlements and commercial property.


For those who live in areas where there are woodlands, they are an ideal spot for nature walks and hunting expeditions. Other recreational activities that can be conducted in these ecosystems include fishing, cycling, horse-riding among others. However, it should be noted that not all deciduous forests can offer all these recreational activities.

Management of Deciduous Woodlands

The life and health of every forest relies on how it is managed. Today, man has invaded almost every corner of the earth, threatening not only the existence of forests but also the plants and animals that thrive in those ecosystems. Deciduous woodlands is only one of the various kinds of forests facing extinction and it is upon each and every individual to exercise environmentally friendly practices for the preservation of this key ecosystem. Besides, relevant agencies should also come up with more stringent measures to help protect our environment from degradation for the future generations.

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