Temperate Deciduous Woodland (The Climatic Climax)

Refers to AQA A2 Geography

Ecosystems: Change and Challenge Option

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  • Temperate Deciduous Woodland: The Climatic Climax
    • Dynamic Equilibrium
      • In its natural state, the biome is considered to be in dynamic equilibrium with it's environment
        • Vegetation exists in a perfect balance with the climate and soils so any change would alter the balance between the components of the biome.
    • Biomes
      • A global scale ecosystem with a naturally occuring organic community of plants and animals in the climatic climax stage of succession.
      • At the climatic climax, climate, vegetation and soils are closely linked in equilibrium
      • Like tropical rainforests, temperate deciduous woodlands are high energy biomes
    • Characterisitics
      • A net primary productivity of 1200 g of dry organic matter per square meter per year. High, but 80% less than tropical rainforest biome.
      • Tall trees are dominant species
        • Oak is tallest, reaching 30-40m, followed by elm, beach, sycamore, ash and Chestnut.
        • Epiphytes e.g. lichens and mosses, grow on the trunks of trees.
      • Trees develop large crowns with small but thin leaves.
      • Trees are deciduous, shedding their leaves in winter.
        • Reduces transpiration at a time when less water is available
      • Relitavely few species of dominants, some by only one species.
      • Stratification of layers
      • Below the canopy is the shrub layer with smaller trees such as holly, hazel, rowan and hawthorn.
      • Herb layer above the forest floor, which is dense if enough light filters through the shrub layer.
        • Made up of grasses, brackens, ferns and some flowering plants such as bluebells. They appear early in the year before trees have developed their full canopy.
      • Mosses grow on the forest floor and a thick layer of leaf litter us readily broken down by soil microbes and animals.


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