TYPES of FORESTS - Characteristics and Photos

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Forests are biomes that are spread throughout the planet and, as they contain groups of ecosystems, they can have different climates and geology, as well as being very rich in biotic elements or living beings, harboring great biodiversity. Thus, there are several types of wooded areas, such as temperate, boreal or tropical forests, or deciduous or evergreen, among other possible classifications.

In Green Ecologist we show you the different forest types that are in the whole world and their characteristics, as well as the great importance of these for the environment.

What are forests

Forests are terrestrial biomes that host a large number of ecosystems with a spectacular biodiversity. These are areas of the earth's crust that are made up of a large number of trees, bushes and other types of vegetation, as well as many animal species and living beings from other kingdoms of nature, such as the Animalia kingdom, the Plantae kingdom, the Fungi kingdom, the Protista kingdom, and the Monera kingdom.

The living beings or biotic elements that exist in the forests, as well as the composition of the abiotic elements, such as geology, can change in an extreme way depending on the type of forest, since we do not find the same thing in a boreal forest or taiga as in a tropical forest or jungle.

In the following sections we offer a list of forest types that are currently around the world and its characteristics.

Forest types

The classification of forests is really very complex, since a great variety of parameters can be used to differentiate them. For example, they can be classified according to their climate and latitude, but there are many more criteria.

Thus, in this article we will see the different classifications of forest types, which are:

  • Types of forests according to their climate and latitude.
  • Types of forests according to the foliage.
  • Types of forests according to their vegetation.
  • Types of forests according to the intervention in them.
  • Types of forests according to human intervention and their impact.

Types of forests according to their climate and latitude

Taking into account the latitude and climate criteria of the region in which a forest is located, we can define the following types of forests:

Boreal forest

Boreal forests are also known as taiga and it is about the ones found in the northern part of the planet (on the map we can see it in blue) and, specifically, they are mainly between 50º and 60º of latitude. By this location, it is the coldest forested regions and its temperature can vary, depending on the area and the season of the year, between 20 ºC of maximum temperature in summer and -60 ºC in winter (in areas of Siberia and the Far East). These are very large regions that occupy part of several countries (Alaska, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia).

Among its vegetation we find, mainly, pine and fir trees and among the animals that inhabit these places we can find a great variety of species, such as caribou or reindeer, elk, brown bears, boreal lynx, wolverine, boreal owl and osprey.

To expand this information, we recommend entering these other Green Ecologist articles in which the topics of boreal forests are discussed in detail: characteristics, flora and fauna and What is taiga: definition and characteristics.

Temperate forest

Another type of forest according to the climate and the latitude in which they are found is the temperate forest. These are the forested regions that are in the part of the planet that has the most temperate climate or less extreme, so it is found in both hemispheres, although it is more abundant in the northern part (it is marked in green on the map). These are regions where there are moderate temperaturesThere are usually abundant rains and there are animals that hibernate and others that migrate depending on the time of year. The soil in these areas is very rich and fertile, since, thanks to the vegetation cover that is very dense and the humidity levels and mild temperatures, organic matter known as humus is produced, which is a great fertilizer.

In this other post you will be able to learn more details about the Temperate Forest: characteristics, flora and fauna. Furthermore, the forests of the Mediterranean Sea area are good examples of these types of mild climate areas. Here you can discover everything about the Mediterranean Forest: characteristics, flora and fauna. To learn even more about these temperate biomes, we recommend this other post on What animals live in the temperate forest.

Subtropical forest

Subtropical forests are found in the areas near the tropical zone (on the map they are orange) and their average temperature is 22 ºC. In these regions of subtropical climate vegetation tends to be large, with broad leaves. Although there is plenty of rain, the levels of rainfall are somewhat lower than those of tropical forests and, in addition, the seasons of the year are very marked.

Within these there are several types:

  • The pine forest.
  • The moist deciduous forest.
  • The rainforest or subtropical jungle.
  • The subtropical dry forest.

Tropical forest

These are the forests found in the tropical region (they appear purple on the map). Tropical climate It is one of the hottest and rainiest and its average temperature is about 27 ºC. There are several types of tropical forests and regions within these that it is necessary to mention:

  • The humid or rainy tropical forest or tropical jungle.
  • The dry tropical forest.
  • The monsoon forest.
  • Wetlands or flood forests.
  • The swamps.

If you want to learn more about these, you can consult these other articles by Green Ecologist about tropical forests: characteristics, flora and fauna.

Image: FAO

Types of forests according to foliage

Inside this other forest classification, we can find them divided according to their leaves:

  • Evergreen forest: in this the trees are the perennial type. This means that in these trees the leaves are kept all year round, so they are always forests with lush foliage.
  • Deciduous forest: It is the type of forest with trees with deciduous leaves, which means that their leaves fall at some times of the year and re-sprout at others and, therefore, there are seasons in which they look leafy and green, others in which the leaves turn reddish and brown and another in which they fall completely and the trees are bare.

Type of forests according to vegetation

Apart from the duration of the foliage of forest trees, these can also be classified according to the trees themselves and the plants found in them. Thus, according to the vegetation, these are the types of forests:

  • Coniferous forests: They are found mainly in the taiga area, in the northern part of the planet. These are forests with very cold temperatures, in which there are mainly conifers, such as pines and firs. Although the vegetation and animals are not as varied as in other types of forests, there is an impressive biodiversity. Learn much more about coniferous forests: characteristics, flora and fauna.
  • Lush forests: They are also known as hardwood forests. These have more species than those mentioned above, some are like jungles and the trees in them are broad-leaved. These types of forests can be divided, in turn, according to the climate and are classified into tropical and subtropical forests (humid or rain forest, dry or hiemisilva forest and montane forest, montane or nimbosilva forest) and temperate hardwood forests (Mediterranean forest or durisilva, temperate deciduous forest or aestisilva and laurel forest or laurel forest).
  • Mixed forest: This type of terrestrial biome is one in which the two previous types are combined, which is why there is both vegetation typical of coniferous and hardwood forests. Expand this information about the Mixed Forest, its characteristics, flora and fauna in this link.

Forest types according to the degree of intervention

Another way in which we can distinguish these terrestrial biomes is according to whether there has been intervention on our part or not.

  • Primary forests: These are the ones that have not had any intervention on the part of the human being, that is to say, they are totally natural. Some of these spaces are protected to conserve biodiversity.
  • Anthropogenic forests: These are the opposite case to the previous ones, that is, the wooded spaces that have suffered the intervention of humanity, to a greater or lesser degree, from a small part to its entirety, being then completely artificial, although they have elements natural.

Forest types according to human impact

Finally, the last way of classifying the different types of forests it is, precisely, according to the degree of intervention of humanity or the impact that it has had in these spaces:

  • Primary forests: As we have indicated before, these are the completely natural ones because human beings have not intervened in them or have done so in such a small way that it is not relevant for the conservation of their biodiversity.
  • Secondary forests: These others are those that have been intervened by man to be used for their natural resources, although they have been reforested later.
  • Artificial forests: These are those that have been directly created entirely by humans, so they have natural elements but have been placed by men expressly to exploit them and obtain raw materials or to improve areas to conserve species.

The importance of forests

As a summary, we can indicate that the importance of forested areas lies in the fact that they are the most extensive terrestrial biomes in the world and that they contain the most biodiversity. This entails a series of aspects of great importance for life as we know it. These are some of the key aspects of the great importance of forests:

  • They absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide or CO2 and offer oxygen.
  • They regulate the climate.
  • Habitat of great quantity of alive beings, that is to say, that act as place of conservation of the biodiversity.
  • Soil conservation.
  • Sources of raw materials or natural resources.

In this other Green Ecologist article you can learn much more about what is the importance of forests and jungles.

Forest images

Finally, we offer a variety gallery of images of forests around the world and in different seasons of the year.

If you want to read more articles similar to Forest types, we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category.

Photos of Types of forests

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