Layers of forests

Layers of forests

The layers of different types of forests may vary.

Biology

Keywords

layeredness, rainforest, monsoon forest, oak forest, beech forest, coniferous forest, forest, jungle, canopy layer, shrub layer, herbaceous layer, tree, perennial, wood production, flora, ecosystem, woody, biomes, shade-tolerant, competition, liana, orchid, epiphytic, evergreen, deciduous, precipitation, plant, biology

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Scenes

Tropical rainforest

  • emergent layer - It is made up of 50-60 m high, giant trees, which do not form an impenetrable cover. The shallow roots, due to the thin soil, can’t support huge trees, so many species of tropical trees have developed huge buttress (supporting roots).
  • canopy layer - It is an almost impenetrable cover made up of 20-30 m tall trees.
  • understorey layer - It is an almost impenetrable cover made up of 10-15 m tall trees.
  • shrub layer - It receives little light due to the three canopy layers. Therefore, it is formed of shade-tolerant plants.
  • herbaceous layer - It receives little light due to the three canopy layers. Thus, it is made up of shade tolerant-plants, e.g. ferns.
  • 10 m
  • Tropical rainforest

Tropical deciduous forest (monsoon forest)

  • emergent layer - It is made up of deciduous trees with a maximum height of 40 m.
  • understorey layer - It is made up of deciduous trees.
  • shrub layer - It is lush and diverse, due to the relatively large amount of light passing through the canopy layers.
  • herbaceous layer - It is lush, due to the relatively large amount of light passing through the canopy layers.
  • 10 m
  • Tropical deciduous forest (monsoon forest)

Temperate oak forest

  • Temperate oak forest
  • canopy layer - The turkey oak forests have one of these, while the hornbeam-oak forests have two, which is less dense than that of beech forests.
  • shrub layer - It is diverse and lush due to the open canopy.
  • herbaceous layer - It is diverse and lush due to the open canopy.
  • 10 m

Temperate beech forest

  • canopy layer - It rises to approximately 30 metres, it is dense and allows little light to pass through.
  • shrub layer - It is sparse due to the very dense canopy.
  • herbaceous layer - It is sparse due to the very dense canopy.
  • 10 m
  • Temperate beech forest

Temperate coniferous forest

  • canopy layer - Trees grow to a height of 30-40 metres. Due to the very dense canopy layer, little light can pass through.
  • shrub layer - It is sparse due to the very dense canopy.
  • herbaceous layer - It is sparse due to the very dense canopy.
  • 10 m
  • Temperate coniferous forest

Biomes (graph)

  • tropical rainforest - Each year, they receive between 2,000 and 5,000 mm of rain. These forests are evergreen and are characterised by rich diversity. Soil is poor because nutrients are absorbed by the rich vegetation, and washed away by precipitation. Due to the three layers: emerging, canopy and understorey, there is a strong competition for light, thus tree-climbing plants,e.g. bromelias and tree-dwelling plants, e.g. orchids become widespread.
  • monsoon forest - The hot zone is formed in areas where the annual rainfall is between about 1,500 mm and 2,000​​. Since there are two seasons, deciduous trees grow here. The canopy is less dense than in tropical rainforests, therefore the shrub- and herbaceous layers are more lush.
  • wooded savanna - They occur in dry tropical areas. Annually, they receive between 200 and 1,500 mm of rain. Drier areas develop savanna grasslands, while areas with more precipitation are characterised by wooded savannas.
  • savanna grassland
  • desert - Annual precipitation does not exceed 200 mm. Flora is poor, consisting mainly of drought-tolerant succulents.
  • temperate rainforest - Evergreen forest situated in the wettest areas of the temperate zone.
  • subtropical forest - It belongs to the temperate deciduous forests. It includes hard-leaved and laurel forests.
  • temperate deciduous forest - Precipitation reaches 500 mm per year. Deciduous forests are typical of temperate zone. The variety of plant species depends on the climate.
  • desert grassland - Annually, it receives less than 500 mm of rain. They are called steppes in Eurasia, pampas in South America and prairies in North America.
  • taiga - It occurs in the cool-temperate zone, where the mean annual temperature is around 0 °C and, annual rainfall is less then 200 mm. Due to the cold weather, evaporation is low, so this little rain is sufficient for trees growing here to survive. Taiga is mainly made up of coniferous species.
  • tundra - The mean annual temperature is around -10 °C, here very little precipitation falls most of which is snow. Low-growing and ground-cover herbaceous plants, as well as dwarf shrubs are prevalent. Mosses and lichens are very common.
  • hot zone - Mean annual temperature: approx. 20–30 °C
  • temperate zone - Mean annual temperature: approx. 0–20 °C
  • cold zone - Mean annual temperature: ‹ 0 °C
  • precipitation
  • 2,000 mm
  • 500 mm
  • 200 mm

Biomes (flora)

Animation

Narration

The tropical rainforest:

Tropical rainforests receive between 2,000 and 5,000 mm of rain and are formed in the tropical zone’s wettest regions, where there are no seasons. These are evergreen forests with a large variety of species. The soil is nutrient-poor, because nutrients are absorbed by the rich vegetation, and washed away by precipitation. Due to the three layers: emerging, canopy and understory, there emerges a strong competition for light. The shrub and the herbaceous layers receive little light, due to the three canopy layers. Thus, they are made up of shade tolerant plants.

The monsoon forest:

Monsoon forests occur beside rainforests in the regions of the tropical zone. Annually, these areas receive less than 2,000 mm of precipitation and feature a short dry season. The development of deciduous trees results from the two seasons. The canopy of the monsoon forest is more penetrable than that of the tropical rainforest, so here the shrub and herbaceous layers are more developed.

The oak forest:

Temperate deciduous forests occur in the areas of the temperate zone, which receive 500 mm of annual precipitation. One important type of temperate deciduous forest is the oak forest. Some oak forests have one canopy layer. However, if besides the oak trees there are also some other species, the latter will form a lower layer of the canopy. The oak forest canopy is relatively loose, allowing a great deal of light to pass through, so the shrub and herbaceous layers are fairly developed.

The beech forest:

Beech forests are typical of the colder areas of the temperate zone, such as 600-800 metre high mountainous regions. The canopy of these forests rises to approximately 30 metres; it is dense, allowing little light to go through. As there is a strong competition for light, trees are tall, pushing their way vertically. The shrub and herbaceous layers are sparse and consist mainly of shade-tolerant plants and spring bulbous plants that flower before the leaves appear.

The coniferous forest:

This is a type of evergreen forest typical of the cool-temperate zone. Here trees grow to a height of 30-40 m and the canopy layer is impenetrable, allowing little light to pass through. The soil has a low nutrient content. This is due to the cold weather and to the fact that needles have high wax and resin content, which slows down the decomposition caused by bacteria and fungi and the formation of humus. As a result of the shading and of the nutrient-poor soil, the shrub and herbaceous layer are fairly scarce.

Biomes

In both hemispheres of our planet the hot, moderate and cold zones can be clearly distinguished. The hot zone is located around the Equator and lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The temperate zone is located between the tropics and the polar circles. Here we can distinguish between the warm, temperate and cool temperate zones. The cold zone is located in the polar regions.

With the increase of the annual average rainfall in the hot and temperate zones, deserts are replaced by grasslands and forests. As we move towards a colder climate, grassy and forested areas have a lower rainfall. This happens because evaporation is lower in cold weather and therefore plants can also survive, even if they receive little rainfall.

The hot zone can receive up to 5,000 mm of precipitation. With the decrease of precipitation, tropical rainforests give way to monsoon forests, which are then followed by wooded savannah and savannah grassland. Deserts are formed in areas which receive less than 200 mm of rainfall.

Temperate rainforests occur in the wettest areas of the temperate zone. In the warm-temperate zone, temperate rainforests are replaced by evergreen sub-tropical forests (hard-leaved and laurel forests) due to less rainfall here. As the temperate zone records less precipitation, deciduous forests and desert grasslands are very common here. Desert grasslands are called steppes in Eurasia, pampas in South America and prairies in North America. Deserts occur in the driest areas of the temperate zone.

The forests of the cold temperate zone are taiga forests, which constitute our planet’s largest coniferous forests.

Tundra is located in the cold zone. In the tundra, the vegetation is composed of dwarf shrubs, mosses and lichens. Away from the Arctic Circle, the Arctic areas are permanently covered with snow, therefore vascular plants cannot survive here.

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