Many different species of animals live in the forest including larger animals like big cats, deer, and bears, and smaller animals, such as chipmunks, skunks, and foxes. There are three different types of forests: coniferous forests, characterized by cone-bearing trees like pine and fir, temperate forests, characterized by both cone-bearing trees and deciduous (broad leafed) trees that change color with the seasons, and tropical forests, with abundant rainfall and constantly warm temperatures. Forests are home to 80% of the earth’s biodiversity and are an important source of oxygen and carbon sequestration. Due to their large amounts of biodiversity and carbon sink abilities, the forests need to be protected. However, due to deforestation for agriculture, logging, and fires, the forests are being destroyed quickly causing many species to lose their home and the loss of essential carbon sinks.
Forest animals adapt to the changing seasons to be able to withstand the cold winters and hot summer temperatures. Forest animals adapt by either hibernating or migrating to warmer weather during the cold. During the warm summer seasons, forest animals typically find an abundance of food and find ways to stay cool.
Animals help trees because they breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide while plants take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen back into their surrounding air. Plants also serve as food and shelter for animals. Plants rely on animals for seed dispersal and pollination. Plants also help with filtering water that animals drink.
Forest fires affect animals as they alter the 3 sources that animals rely on the most – food, water, and shelter. Forest fires often cause animals to move away from the areas they are used to in search of a new shelter. Forest fires also cause deaths among animals through smoke inhalation or fire-caused injuries.