The northern forests grow on mostly flat land. There are many lakes, slow-flowing streams and areas of swampy ground. The weather is cold and wet, with long, snowy winters. During the cold months, animals, such as badgers and bears, hibernate. The many forest rodents survive by feeding on the stores of seeds and nuts they gathered in the summer. They are hunted by predators such as lynxes and pine martens.
Another kind of cold forest grows in a highland region of , in western China. This is a bamboo forest, home to some unusual animals not found anywhere else.
Cold Forest Facts
The Siberian Taiga covers an area more than a third bigger than the whole of the United States.
In certain areas, the bamboo forest are being cut down, threatening the home and food supply of giant pandas. The Chinese government has set up nature reserves for the pandas' protection.
When supplies of food are scarce, moose may strip and eat the bark of trees. This may cause the trees to die.
Rain Forest Facts
A few thousand years ago, rain forests covered about 14 percent of the Earth's land surface. Half of this has now been destroyed by people. The remaining forest contains at least 50 per cent of all the world's plant and animal species. Yet the forests are still being cut down at an alarming rate to make way for farms, cattle ranches and settlements.
Scientists have estimated that an area of rain forest the size of Austria is being cut down every year. At this rate, the forests will be destroyed by the year 2030.
All rain forests have several layers of trees and plants. The top layer may be as high as 25-30 m (80-100 ft) above the ground. Smaller trees and bushes make a second, lower layer and below this is a third, thick layer of ferns and jungle plants.
The rain forest animals all live at different levels, each with its own feeding ground. Many are good climbers. There are only a few large, ground animals. These include elephants in the African jungle, and tigers in the rain forest of Southeast Asia.
There are over a million different kinds of plants and animals in the Amazon rain forests. Parts of the forest are being cleared for roads and farms. The destruction of their habitat is putting the animals and plants at risk.
Desert and Pole Facts