DECIDUOUS TREESTemperate Climate Zone
On this page are some examples of trees in the northern temperate climate zone that are deciduous in fall and winter.
Deciduous trees in temperate climate zones bear green foliage in spring and summer, and lose their leaves in autumn and winter. They are seen in public green spaces, and in vast forested areas where nature takes care of itself. There is a lot of biodiversity among those trees and shrubs.
Fruit- and nut trees as ‘food-trees’, are also deciduous in the temperate climate zones. But on this page a distinction is made between those deciduous ‘food-trees’ and let’s say the ‘common’ deciduous trees.
COMMON DECIDUOUS TREES
Deciduous trees that are classified ‘common’ on this page, do not produce fruit, berries or nuts that are edible for humans or livestock, or for the larger wildlife. But they do have a justified existence though!
The trees provide nesting opportunities for birds in spring and summer, and are also a food source for the small ground-animals (such as mice, moles, rats, squirrels, hedgehogs), and insects. The trees also produce oxygen for this time of the year and absorb CO2 in their process of photosynthesis.
Several deciduous tree species in a park with striking autumn colors.
LITTLE FOOD, FEW EVERGREENS
For the Netherlands, it is striking that most of the deciduous trees in the public space are ‘common’ trees, but aren’t fruit- or nut trees that produce fruits or nuts edible for humans.
At the same time there is also the observation that there are a reduced amount of evergreen trees in this western part of Europe, such as the different conifer species, like pines, cedars, etcetera.
Thus when in fall the leaves begin to flutter down, the branches of many trees quickly become visible. And that is the bare image of ‘naked’ trees that determines our landscape for the following six months.
For western Europe, that is, from the middle of the autumn period (October) until after the first weeks of spring (April). And since there weren’t many fruit- or nut trees among those, there isn’t much of a harvest either, except for commercial fruit growers and for some gardeners.
Picture below, deciduous Beech tree.
So for half of the year, the Netherlands is bare for a large part. Most of the green that can be seen are the many meadows that are kept for grazing cattle, but without any trees in sight.
Now, how is this for the country and part of the world you live in? Is your public space green throughout the year?
Do these trees produce fruit and nuts, and how many evergreens are in your area?
On top of these observations, there is the bad news that many trees nowadays are cultivated to create a better or new look. For instance for them to produce beautiful blossoms, or colorful but non-edible berries in autumn, or for the trees to grow faster for logging.
The major disadvantage of this, is that these cultivated trees once they mature after 20 to 40 years, will not naturally reproduce or regenerate.
COMMERCE VERSUS NATURE
But humans are curious and like to experiment with things. It is also because people and companies are encouraged by governmental regulations to genetically alter plants and sell their patented cultivars for profit, whereas it is forbidden to sell natural seeds and plants the way we find them in nature.
It is also encouraged -probably by commercial regulations as well- to import trees and plants from other parts of the world that do not naturally grow in western Europe’s environment.
Also in the Netherlands for example, some tree species that grew naturally here for ages, including the conifer forests some 500 to 1000 years ago, are nowadays a rarity.
COMMERCIAL LOGGING, BIOMASS BURNING
In a sense we are looking at the cultivation plan of our green space from about twenty, to fifty, to a hundred years ago. Nowadays it is even also questionable what is left of that cultivation plan, given the increased commercial logging and biomass ‘power’ stations. (How much ‘power’ is there in destroying nature huh?).
DECIDUOUS & NO FOOD
Next are some examples of trees in the northern temperate climate zone that are deciduous in fall and winter, and which do not produce food (fruit & nuts) in summer (except for birds and small ground-animals).
Photo below of stately tall poplars.