Most people know that pandas live in Asia, mainly China, and in zoos in North America, but what biome do pandas live in?
Pandas are an important part of the ecosystem they live in mainly because they help germinate the area by spreading seeds and other plant matter that sticks to their fur. This material is deposited while they move around from one location to another.
Wild pandas live in temperate forests found at high altitudes in southwest China. This is more commonly referred to as the temperate forest biome. The panda population is scattered across the Shaanxi, Gansu, and Sichuan provinces.
Since pandas play a crucial role in their respective ecosystems, more people are becoming aware of their importance in the forest biome. Also, while these cute animals are no longer endangered thanks to the efforts of the Chinese government that has helped double the wild panda population over the past decade, it's still important to learn more about these majestic creatures to help spread awareness and make sure that the wild panda remains off the endangered species list. Here, we are going to learn all about the biome that pandas live in.
As experts who have studied the world's various biomes, as well as the animals that call them home, we can help provide you with all the information you need regarding pandas and their habitat – the temperate forest biome.
Temperate Forest Biome
Temperate forests are essential and distinctive on a global scale. They are home to the world's biggest and oldest creatures. They are the world's primary supply of timber and wood products, and they may be the only forests with some evidence of long-term management potential. Some temperate forest stands have more biomass than any tropical forest.
The world's temperate forests also provide vital ecological services locally and globally. Recent data suggests that carbon sinks in the temperate forest zone are important globally, particularly in eastern North America.
Western and Central parts of Europe, along with parts of North America and northeastern Asia, including China, all have temperate woods. The Eastern Deciduous Forest runs throughout North America from Florida to Maine on the east coast and as far west as Texas and Minnesota. The forest covers over 25 states in the United States as well as areas of southern Canada.
Temperate forests are smaller than tropical rainforests in terms of area. Deciduous forests are a term used to describe temperate woodlands. The majority of trees in a temperate forest lose their leaves in the winter. When the temperature turns chilly in the autumn, the trees become more subdued till the warm weather returns. Their leaves change to beautiful shades of brown, red, and gold. The leaves fall off the trees in the winter, and the trees stay naked till April.
A temperate forest covers part of a Japanese island. The lowlands of Hokkaido are home to conifers, ash, and oak. In addition, it is the only area in Japan where brown bears may be found in the wild. Temperate forests are also found in parts of China where there is a large population of pandas who feed on long bamboo shoots indigenous to the area.
Temperate Forest Plants
Temperate forests cover a large area of the earth's mid-latitudes and feature a diverse range of forest types and temperatures. Temperate forest soils reflect seasonal temperature and precipitation variations, making them both productive and very changeable. Temperate forest soils are also a reflection of the forest flora that grows on them.
Forests with wide, thin leaves can be found in temperate parts of the world when the weather is neither too hot nor too cold. During the summer, their leaves absorb sunlight. However, when the days become shorter in the fall, the leaves dry out, change color, and finally fall off the trees. Deciduous trees are those that lose their leaves in the autumn.
In temperate woods, oaks, elms, ash, and beeches are just a few of the deciduous trees that may be found. Trees having needles rather than leaves can be found in temperate woodlands. Conifers are trees with needles and cones, such as pine cones. A coniferous forest is one that is largely made up of conifers.
Conifers are often known as evergreens because they remain green all year. Conifers include pine, fir, and spruce trees, as well as Christmas trees. A mixed forest is one that has both deciduous and coniferous trees.
Temperate deciduous trees drop their "throwaway" leaves when the days become shorter in fall and are replaced by new leaves in the spring. As a result, the look, function, and climate of forests dominated by these trees change dramatically throughout the year. The majority of trees in temperate deciduous woods follow this pattern; however, there are few evergreen species strewn throughout.
Several broad-leaved evergreen shrubs with less fragile, longer-lasting leaves are present in the understory of temperate deciduous forests; the leaves found in temperate forests have adapted to their surrounding environment, which allows them to withstand the cold temperatures and carry out photosynthesis multiple times during the summer.
Temperate Forest Climate
In contrast to a rainforest, where the temperature remains constant throughout the year, a temperate forest makes it simple to determine which season it is. In the summer, it's hot, but it cools down in the fall and turns frigid in the winter. Although temperate forests may not receive as much rainfall as tropical rainforests, they still receive enough rain—roughly 30 to 60 inches per year—to support the growth of large trees. A temperate forest tree may reach a height of 100 feet, which is equivalent to a seven-story skyscraper.
Seasons in the temperate forest occur due to the earth's tilt. There are four seasons in the temperate forest biome: spring, summer, fall, and winter. At different seasons of the year, the sun's rays strike the earth more directly. This is the main reason why summer is in the Northern Hemisphere and winter is prominent in the Southern Hemisphere.
Temperate woodlands have a humid environment. After rainforests, these biomes get the second-highest rainfall. They get up to 60 inches of rain and snow each year on average. The average temperature in temperate deciduous woodlands is 16°C. Summer temperatures are mild, averaging around 21°C. The temperature in the winter regularly drops below freezing and does not rise beyond it.
Temperate Forest Animals
The diversity of animal species is another essential feature of the temperate forest. The temperate woodland receives precipitation throughout the year. However, during the winter, it is generally frozen, and animals have less water to drink.
For this reason, animals in the temperate forest biome have no choice but adapt to the frigid winters and scorching summers by hibernating, migrating, or remaining active throughout the year. Another issue that the animals face is a shortage of hiding places when the trees are bare, leaving them with less shelter to hide from predators.
The black bear has evolved to thrive in the temperate deciduous woodland environment. To keep warm in the winter, it wears a thick coat with multiple layers of fur. The long claws of black bears help them climb trees. Because black bears frequently reside in hollowed trees, this is an important adaptation.
Black bears consume both vegetation and animals, making them omnivores. Because plants make up the majority of their diet, their large claws come in handy while foraging for food in trees and shrubs. They also hibernate to avoid having to hunt for food during the bitterly cold winter.
Squirrels, bears, and badgers do not lower their body temperature in the cold, instead opting for a condition of drowsiness interspersed with short spurts of awakeness. Squirrels eat the nuts they deposited in the fall at these times. Squirrels are diurnal animals that spend virtually all of their time in trees, where they may move about freely.
The giant panda is a bear-like creature that lives in bamboo forests in central China's Himalayas. Its stunning black and white coat, paired with its massive physique and round face, gives it a mesmerizing appeal that has won fans all over the world. The species is presently confined to roughly 20 isolated patches of bamboo forest in six mountain ranges in China.
Pandas are mostly found in temperate forests high in the mountains of southwest China, where they eat bamboo nearly exclusively. Depending on whatever portion of the bamboo they eat, they must consume anything from 26 to 84 pounds each day. They use their opposable thumbs, and their hands have larger wrist bones.
Giant pandas are found in huge bamboo forests on humid and somewhat high mountains, ranging in elevation from 4,500 to 10,000 feet. According to the San Diego Zoo, giant pandas grow to reach 27 to 32 inches in height at the shoulder, up to 5 feet long, and weigh up to 275 pounds. They are almost the same size as an American black bear. The red panda, a distant relative of the giant panda, stands up to 26 inches tall and weighs around 20 pounds. They consume bamboo for 12 hours a day, a total of 28 pounds of bamboo every day.
About THE AUTHOR
James Parker has a Masters degree in Sustainability with a focus on land management, permaculture and regenerative agriculture. He also has experience managing sustainability projects, and is passionate about conservation and sustainability.Read More About James Parker