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 andÂ 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 ...view middle of the document...
The understory is the layer just below the canopy, and consists of those trees that are still growing but haven't reached full height. This environment is protected from the elements somewhat by the canopy layer, and is therefore less harsh. Trees in the understory are growing slower because they have less light, and tend to be a bit thinner in foliage. There is a greater variety of animals that live in this layer, including birds, butterflies and caterpillars, frogs and tree mammals like squirrels and raccoons, in the north, and monkeys, in the tropics.
The Shrub Layer
The shrub layer is the next level down, and is dominated by woody plants that never grow very tall. Some of these are very young trees or trees that remain shorter, but most are shrubs, which are woody plants that have more than one stem. Shrubs can get as tall as 15 to 20 feet, but most top out at around 10, and many are shorter than that. Lichens can grow on tree bark between the shrub layer and the understory, and animal life also thrives. The shrub layer is home to many different kinds of insects and spiders, birds, snakes and lizards.
The Herbaceous Layer and Forest Floor
The herbaceous layer is the layer just above the forest floor, and consists of tree seedlings and non-woody plants. These include mosses and a variety of flowers. The forest floor consists of the leaf litter-- a thick bed of leaves dropped from the trees-- and the soil. These layers are the backbone of the forest. Without good soil, trees have nothing to root into, and in the north, the leaf litter acts as insulation for tree roots and soil-based animals. Hornets, butterflies, birds, worms, slugs, snails, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, snakes live at this level, as well as billions of microbes, all of which contribute to soil health.
Richard Anthony D. Luna
Mrs. Angelica B. Bugtai
Describe 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...