forest ecosystem

forest ecosystem

A forest ecosystem is a terrestrial unit of living organisms (plants, animals and microorganisms), all interacting among themselves and with the environment (soil, climate, water and light) in which they live. The environmental "common denominator" of that forest ecological community is a tree, who most faithfully obeys the ecological cycles of energy, water, carbon and nutrients.

A forest ecosystem has definite boundaries and  includes a forest of trees out to the limit of tree growth. Remember that forests are not the only ecosystems. There are hundreds of thousands of defined and undefined ecosystems that can cover the broadest to the tiniest of areas. An ecosystem can be as small as a pond or a dead tree, or as large as the Earth itself.

Description of a Forest Ecosystem

A forest ecosystem is defined as an area dominated by trees and other woody plants. Forests aren't only trees, however. Healthy forests have a lot going on in them, and many different species of both animals and plants that call them home. There are many different types of forests in the world, ranging from tropical rain forests to the dense sub-polar taiga. To truly understand a forest ecosystem, it is easiest to break it down into the five layers that most healthy forests have. Animals that live in a forest move between the layers to feed and hunt.

The Canopy
The canopy section of a forest is the very top, and consists of the tallest, oldest trees, which can reach heights of 150 to 200 feet. This layer is the harshest of the five layers because it is exposed to everything that nature throws its way. It gets whipped by the wind, exposed to the sun without shade, receives the brunt of downpours, and is the most likely to be struck by lightning. Animal that live in this layer are those adapted to living tough, and include birds, tree frogs, snakes, lizards and hard-bodied insects.

The Understory
The understory is the layer just below the canopy, and...

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