1) Coniferous and deciduous forests are two of the tree major types of forest. Life in the two areas has developed very differently, due to the differences in climate.
2) Coniferous are so called because their seeds are produced in cones. Vast coniferous forests of spruce, cedar, larch, pine and fir are found where conditions are cold and harsh, with brief summers and low rainfall, i.e. northern parts of America, Europe and Asia and in the worlds mountainous areas. Further south, conifers exist alongside deciduous trees in mixed forests.
3) Most conifers have needles instead of leaves (their smaller surface area means less water is lost by evaporation) and the majority are evergreen (never bare of needles), so they can produce food all year round.
4) The word deciduous describes trees that shed their leaves once a year. They are flowering plants, mainly blooming once a year in the spring. Deciduous forests are found in areas with relatively mild temperatures and plenty of rainfall throughout the year. Most of Europe, Japan, eastern Asia and the eastern USA were once covered in forests of deciduous trees, like oak, beech, maple and ash.
5) Deciduous trees have large, broad leaves to make the most of the many months of sunshine for photosynthesis. They are lost before winter when strong winds and cold would damage them. Each tree provides homes and food for a large wildlife community. Rich soil and plenty of sunshine allow many different plants to flourish. These support still more animal life.
► Fill in the gaps with the words from the text.
1. .. forest
5. .. areas
9. .. winds
2. .. forest
6. .. plants
10. .. community
3. .. rainfall
7. .. temperatures
4. .. summer
8. .. of rainfall
5.14. Find the words in the text which have the same meaning as:
main, adj (passage 1)
territory, n (passage 2)
destruct, v (passage 5)
severe, adj (passage 2)
blooming, adj (passage 4)
big, adj (passage 5)
5.15. Answer the following questions.
1. What four types of forests can you name?
2. What is the basic difference between conifers and deciduous trees?
3. Where can we find coniferous / deciduous forests in the world?
4. Explain the word evergreens.
5. Why do deciduous trees lose their leaves?
6. How can you describe a mixed forest?
5.16. Match the two parts of the sentences.
1. In Southern Europe many deciduous trees have adapted to very hot, dry summers by taking coniferous features,
a) the destruction of important natural habitats.
2. Urban expansion, intensive industry, agriculture and forestry are resulting in
b) that is, able to keep their body temperature constant.
3. Some animals have adapted to live in the forest all year round, e.g.
c) pure white in winter, browny-red in summer.
4. Polar bears survive the winter by hibernating
d) now they are evergreen with small thick leaves to save water.
5. To survive the cold, all the large animals are warm-blooded,
e) and are protected by their thick coats of fur.
6. Huskies curt into balls to conserve heat
f) like hawks and falcons.
7. An arctic fox changes its colour to fit the season:
g) bears and chipmunks hibernate in winter, living off summer fat.
8. Hot, dry deserts have short periods when life is plentiful,
h) hollowed out under the ice.
9. Predators are animals that catch and eat other animals and
i) with individuals playing specific role.
10. Other common predators are the birds of prey,
j) for safety in numbers.
11. Many seabirds like penguins form colonies
k) they play a vital role in every ecosystem.
12. Some creatures like ants and bees form complex colonies
l) so desert plants are short-lived.
5.17. Match each plant from the list below with the type of forest it belongs to. Use a dictionary if necessary.