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A Food Chain in the Temperate Rain Forest Biome

     This biome has seasonal variations. Although temperatures remain mild, animals and plants respond to the seasons in their growth and reproductive patterns. Spring brings new life as animals are born and eggs hatch. Summer is a season of growth. Fall brings maturation and preparation for winter.  Winter is a season of rest and endurance.

trilliums      The Primary Producers of this forest are the plants that use their chlorophyll to create food for their own growth as well for the animals. The Ground Layer of this forest is covered with green mosses and small plants. Mushrooms, grasses, and wild flowers grow among the mosses, covering the ground with a thick, moist, green carpet. Dead leaves, logs, needles, and twigs, provide food for the detritivores, who digest the dead materials and make them available for recycling.

      In this forest the soil is rich in nutrients. The Understory Layer is made up of shrubs and small trees. Many of the shrubs are deciduous and shed their leaves in the fall. Many of them, such as huckleberries and blackberries, also have small, sweet fruits and berries.

     The canopy layer of this forest is made up of magnificient coniferous trees. They produce edible seeds and provide a thick "roof" over the smaller trees. Their branches and trunks support blankets of moss.

    The vegetation is so thick that sometimes when snow falls it is caught by leaves and twigs so that it does not fall down to the ground.

     The Primary Consumers are mostly small animals. The forest provides food, shelter in the moss, mild temperatures and humidity, which encourages the growth of many kinds of insects. It is a paradise for mosquitoes! As well as insects, there are small mammals: voles (tiny mammals like mice), chipmunks, squirrels, and seed eating birds. These eat seeds, grasses, and even mushrooms. Larger animals, such as deer and elk, also find food in this biome.

     An interesting primary consumer is the salmon. These fishes hatch from eggs in the cold mountain streams and eat tiny water organisms and insects that fall into the water. The young fish swim down the river to the ocean, where they grow to maturity. When they are fully grown, the large fishes return from the ocean and swim upstream to lay their eggs. Then the parents die, and their bodies provide food for all the meat eaters in the area.

     Secondary Consumers are also at home on the forest floor. Tiny shrews devour the insects, and frogs catch insects as they fly by. There are many insect-eating birds as well, some of which, like the woodpecker, are adapted to finding insects in the trees. Weasels eat small animals, and racoons eat animals, fishes, frogs, and fruit. Owls eat voles and chipmunks. Insects live as parasites on other animals.

     Large secondary consumers, such as wolves, bears, and cougars, are the only ones who can bring down deer or elk. However, once they have made a kill, smaller carnivores may move in to get a share. The larger carnivores may also eat smaller ones sometimes.

     There are other animals in this food web, such as foxes, beavers, black birds, and porcupines. Because the plants do so well, animals flourish too.

Introduction to Rain Forests

  Tropical Rain Forests

 Temperate Rain Forests

 Tropical Rain Forest Food Web

 Temperate Rain Forest Food Web

 Tropical Rain Forest Food Pyramid

 Temperate Rain Forest Food Pyramid


Trillium photo is from Art Today. Copyrighted: not for downloading.
Copyright © 2000.   Elizabeth Anne Viau and her licensors.  All rights reserved. This material may be used by individuals for instructional purposes but not sold. Please inform the author if you use it at eviau@earthlink.net