A Food Pyramid
in the Temperate Rain Forest Biome
The Temperate Rain Forest is
a richly productive biome. Mild temperatures and abundant rainfall
encourage plant growth, and the forest is covered with plant
life at every level. Because chemical reactions occur more slowly
at lower temperatures, the minerals in dead plant material are
recovered more slowly than in the tropical rain forest. The forest
floor is carpeted with fallen needles, and fungi grow on fallen
The primary producers
consist of coniferous trees, tall douglas firs, spruce, and cedars,
smaller trees and deciduous shrubs, mosses, ferns, grasses, and
wild flowers. The tallest trees form a canopy that shades the
lower-growing dogwoods and vine maples. The branches of the trees
are covered with moss, and small, tender, shade-loving plants
cover the ground below.
Although there is a lot of plant
material here, much of it is not readily digestible. Twigs and
pine needles challenge mammals and birds, but insects and fungi
can break these materials down. Animals can eat the insects and
seeds, and the softer leaves, berries, and fungi that grow on
the forest floor.
Primary Consumers include
slugs, snails, centipedes, and many insects. Small mammals, such
as squirrels, chipmunks, and wood mice, find plenty to at, as
do seed-eating birds. Deer also roam in these forests.
Secondary Consumers include
insect-eating birds, frogs, and small hunters such as weasels
and foxes. Some animals, such as racoons and bears, eat both
meat and plants.
Large predators, such as bears,
cougars, and bobcats, form the tertiary consumers, and
eat smaller animals.
It is interesting to note that
the Temperate Rain Forest, though productive, does not support
the wide variety of life forms that is found in a Tropical Rain
Forest. More demanding conditions, and the cold of winter, seem
to allow for fewer niches for diverse life forms.
This diagram shows the number of Kilocalories which are available
as food at each trophic level. Only a tenth of the kilocalories
which animals eat are turned into meat (biomass) when the animals
are eaten by their predators,
Copyright © 2000. Elizabeth
Anne Viau and her licensors. All rights reserved.
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