Forest Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Elizabeth Hance

Elizabeth has taught elementary and middle school special education, and has a master's degree in reading education.

The earth is an incredible place with many ecosystems. Parts of our planet are icy cold, others have rain almost every day, and still others are full of tall, rocky mountains. In this lesson you will learn about one of the most common kinds of ecosystems: forests.

What is a Forest?

Imagine spinning a globe with your eyes closed, and then stopping it at random with your finger. If you didn't land in the ocean, there is a very good chance you landed in some type of forest. A forest is a land area that is populated by many trees.

Forests are one of the most common and most important kinds of ecosystems on our earth. Their trees help produce oxygen that all living things need. These great, green spaces are found all over our planet.

There are many different types of forests. Their differences have to do with where they are and the type of climates they're in. Let's look at a few different kinds of forests.

Boreal Forests

Boreal forests are found in cold, arctic regions in the northern hemisphere. These forests, also called taiga, cover large parts of Canada, Alaska, Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia. The boreal forest is mostly made of coniferous trees like pine, spruce, and fir trees. They are evergreens and usually have dark green needles.

Large mammals, like beavers, moose, bears, and wolves, live in boreal forests. Canadian boreal forests are also home to half of the country's 425 bird species, such as herons, hawks, owls, and geese.

Much of Canada is covered in boreal forest
boreal forest

Tropical Rainforests

Tropical rainforests have very different climates from boreal forests. They are warm all year round and can get more than 100 inches of rainfall every year, making for a very humid climate. Rainforests also have incredible diversity: you can find hundreds of species of trees in just a small section of the forest. Although rainforests are incredibly important to our earth because their trees help produce much of our oxygen, deforestation (cutting down lots of trees) has led to destruction of large portions of these forests.

Rainforests have lush green vegetation

Tropical rainforests may have the most unique animals living in them. Rainforests in Asia are home to tigers, cobras, and various monkeys. In South America, you might see giant anacondas, parrots, and the slow-moving sloth.

Deciduous Forests

If you live in the United States, deciduous (de-SID-joo-us) forests are probably very recognizable to you. They are found in eastern North America, Europe, Asia, and some parts of South America. Deciduous forests have four distinct seasons. These forests are home to trees like oak, maple and birch, whose leaves change colors during the fall before falling off completely for the winter. In a deciduous forest you will find an amazing array of animals who are well adapted for four seasons, including eagles, bears, raccoons, and deer.

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