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The Decidous Forests

Under the influence of environmental factors, grouped together, trees can form a very complex ecosystem – the Forest. It is able to ensure optimal conditions of life for many other plants and animals.
According to the persistence of leaves, trees are classified into:

HARDWOOD - Trees that lose their leaves in winter, when photosynthesis ceases its function. The family belong to angiosperms, as they are wrapped in a fruit seed (angio = wrapper; sperm = seed) are the most dominant plants in the world today.

Coniferous or resinous conifers - trees with persistent leaves, needle, whose seeds are free, included in a fruit. The family belong to gymnosperms (gymnos = empty, naked, sperm = seed).
The limit between deciduous and coniferous stands at altitudes between 600 and 1300 m, depending on terrain, rock and microclimate, the transition between the two types of forests are gradually made by mixed forests. Due to local relief and microclimate, vegetation inversions often occur: conifers and broad leaved valleys down to the bottom portion climb the sunny slopes.

Deciduous forests in Europe are specific particularly to the central and western continent, and they are located between the taiga (north) and the Mediterranean forests (south).

The composition of the deciduous forest changes with the increasing altitude.

In Romania the valid species have the following ratios:

1. The pubescent oak forests (Quercus pubescens) include thermophilic, heat-loving species. The areas with low altitude (between 50 and 250m) with average temperatures of about 11 degrees C and the annual average precipitation of 400 are specific. They love the light soils formed in loess, but can also be found on other types of rocks (limestone, marl). In addition to soft oak and other forest species can be encountered the: manna (Fraxinus ornus), hornbeam, elm, maple, pear and wild apple, silver lime, white lime (Tilia tomentosa), black locust (Robinia pseudacacia) and shrub species: horn, privet, hawthorn, etc.

2. The greyish oak forest (Quercus pedunculiflora) is a specific forest steppe formation (100-250 m altitude), that overlaps the broad interfluvial bridges and the smooth plains, the low hills and plateaus, on the loess or sandy soils. Specific regions with average temperatures of 10 degrees C and rainfall of 400-500 mm / year are much poorer in species than the oak forests.

3. The forests of Quercus cerris and flasks (Quercus frainetto) have a much wider area of distribution, between 50 and 500m altitude, characterized by temperatures of 9 to 11.5 degrees C and rainfall between 500 and 900 mm / year. Other associated species: trees - field elm, ash, maple, Tartar maple, and wild apple and pear trees - hawthorn, privet, carp, corn, wild rose.

4. The Oak forests (Quercus robur) are widespread in regions of plains, hills and plateau between 250 and 500m altitude. They are the last portions of secular forests that once graced the lower regions of our country, today transformed into fertile agricultural areas.

5. The Evergreen Forests (or traces of the hill) are composed of forest species with high economic value. Intense exploitation and the lack of the afforestation programs have declined the surface of these forests. Climate characteristics of evergreen are: average temperatures between 7.5 and 10.5 degrees C, average annual precipitation between 500 and 8500mm. The evergreen composition is given by the three species, all located in the hills and plateaus, between 250 and 650 m (exceptionally up to 1000m) altitude: the Balkan Durmast (Quercus petraea dalechampii species), Central European Durmast (Quercus petraea petraea-Mattuschka subspecies), the rocky durmast (Quercus petraea Polycarp subspecies). Mixing species of these forests are of smaller size: maple, hornbeam, wild apple and pear.

All oak forests are bright, the sunlight reaching the soil surface, filtered through the tree crowns, the lower floors of the forest abound in herbaceous species and shrubs. Also remarkable is the longevity of the evergreens, the forests of the hills and mountains sheltering old trees, of over 300-400 years.

When mixed with other secies or forming the surface of the forest from the plains to the low mountains it is frequently present the birch (Betula verrucosa).

6. Mixed oak-beech forests are the transition between oak and beech floor, 500-700 m altitude is frequent.

7. The beech forest formations have the largest expansion in our country, covering areas of high hills and low mountains. What is exceptionally is that they may descend to an altitude of 100 m and climb to an altitude of 1300m. Due to slope exposure and thermal inversion phenomena, beech can be found even near the alpine floor. For example, in Jiu-Cerna defile, between mountains Retezat and Vâlcan, nature has created an interesting symbiotic coexistence of a beech tree and a fir raised together. The result was called the beech-fir.

The proper climate for beech forests is characterized by low-light, temperature and precipitation from 6.5 to 7.5 degrees of 800-1000 mm / year in mountainous and hilly areas, the temperatures from 7.5 to 9 degrees and precipitation of 650-750 mm / year.

Romania still has the largest resources of beech in Europe. Predominant are the species of Fagus sylvatica. In the South there appear isolated trees of Fagus orientalis and Fagus taurica. Other wood species associated with the beech are the mountain maple, the mountain elm, the ash, the lime, peanuts, and corn. The upper floor makes the transition to the pine floor, so the beech place is taken by mixed beech- coniferous forests (pine and spruce).

Among the vertebrate animals we mention: the squirrel, the marten, the lynx, the wildcat, the parse, the deer, the boar, the wolf, the brown bear, and of invertebrates:insects (beetles forest,beech tailor). We can also find both of the species of venomous reptiles in our country: the horned viper and the common viper.