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Forest Biomes of North America

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The broadest regional classification recognized by botanists and forest scientists is a community called the forest biome. A forest biome is a zone where predictable tree, plant and animal communities exist resulting from the effects of climate, soil, the presence or lack of moisture and other physical variables.

In North America, these plant zones are referred to variously as tundra, boreal, deciduous, desert, prairie, mixed evergreen and deciduous, tropical, montane, temperate and tropical rain forest and Mediterranean scrub.

1. North American Forest Biomes

University of Tennessee
In North America, the broadest biomes are tundra, boreal, deciduous, desert, prairie, mixed evergreen and deciduous, tropical, montane, temperate and tropical rain forest and Mediterranean scrub. Use this color-coded map for each region.

2. Arctic Tundra

National Park Service
Alternate names are Alpine Tundra, Wet Tundra, Dry Tundra. Tundra means "rolling treeless plains". Normal weather is frigid winters, cold summers; dry winters, moist summers.

3. Boreal Forest

Steve Nix
Alternative names are Subalpine and Taiga. Normal weather is frigid winters, cool summers; moist winters, moist summers.

4. Rocky Mountain Evergreen Forest

Colorado State University
Alternate names are Rocky Mountain Steppe and Montane Forest. Montane is a term for a forest on mid-level elevations on mountains. Normal weather is cold winters, mild summers; moist winters, moist summers.

5. Pacific Coast Evergreen Forest

National Park Service
Alternate name is Temperate Rain Forest. Normal weather is mild winters, mild summers; very moist winters, moist summers.

6. Northern Mixed Forest

Northern Mixed Forest
USFS
Alternate name is Northern Hardwood-hemlock, Transitional Mixed Forest. Normal weather is cold winters, mild summers; moist winters, moist summers.

7. Eastern Deciduous Forest

Eastern Deciduous Forest
Steve Nix
Alternate name is Transitional Mixed Forest. Normal weather is cool/cold winters, warm summers; moist winters, moist summers.

8. Coastal Plain Mixed Evergreen Forest

Coastal Plain Mixed Evergreen Forest
Steve Nix
Alternate name is Southeastern Mixed Evergreen Forest. Normal weather is cool/mild winters, hot summers; moist winters, moist summers.

9. Mexican Montane Forest

Mexican Montane Forest
UGA/Soil Science
Alternate name is Tropical Montane Forest, Cloud Forest. Normal weather is mild winters, mild summers; dry winters, moist summers.

10. Central American Rain Forest

Central American Rain Forest
UTK/Botany
Alternate name is Tropical Rain Forest, Selva. Normal weather is warm winters, hot summers; very moist winters, very moist summers.

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