Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Forest ecosystem

 Forest Ecosystem       
            A  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 would be considered having boundaries and would include 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.

              The forest ecosystem covers the flora, fauna and ground conditions with in the parameters of a forest. From the climatic conditions to the members and relationships in the food chain, the forest ecosystem is dependent on the major resources available. In the forest ecosystem the proportion of flora, including the varieties of trees, grasses, fungi and flowers will effect the way in which fauna exist.
           The fauna in a forest ecosystem will include the minute and the massive. The forest ecosystem offers shelter and living conditions to insects, birds, arachnids and mammals, from the tiny bush mouse to the largest primate or predator.

A Healthy Forest Ecosystem

             In the forest ecosystem the smallest creatures and plants are still important to the structure of the environment. From the smallest gnat to the largest predator, the relationship between the food chain is vital to the balance of the ecosystem. In the way that grass feeds cattle so too do smaller creatures become food for larger. Even the plants of the forest will become fodder for larger herbivores or small creatures. The forest ecosystem is balanced by the resources available. The number of trees, fungi, grass or flowers will be, maintained by the number of animals or insects using them for their lifestyle or food sources. If the number of predators in the forest ecosystem should alter, then the food chain would be unbalanced right down to the fundamental level. Even a slight alteration in the forest ecosystem, due to floods or drought or human intervention, can lead to the destruction of the forest ecosystem itself.

Forest ecosystem concepts:

                Often forest ecosystems are studied in watersheds draining to a monitored stream: the structure is then defined in vertical and horizontal dimensions. Usually the canopy of the tallest trees forms the upper ecosystem boundary, and plants with the deepest roots form the lower boundary. The horizontal structure is usually described by how individual trees, shrubs, herbs, and openings or gaps are distributed. Wildlife ecologists study the relation of stand and landscape patterns to habitat conditions for animals.

                 Woody trees and shrubs are unique in their ability to extend their branches and foliage skyward and to capture carbon dioxide and most of the incoming photosynthetically active solar radiation. Some light is reflected back to the atmosphere and some passes through leaves to the ground (infrared light). High rates of photosynthesis require lots of water, and many woody plants have deep and extensive root systems that tap stored ground water between rain storms. Root systems of most plants are greatly extended through a relation between plants and fungi, called mycorrhizal symbiosis.
           The biomass of a forest is defined here as the mass of living plants, normally expressed as dry weight per unit area. Biomass production is the rate at which biomass is accrued per unit area over a fixed interval, usually one year. If the forest is used to grow timber crops, production measures focus on the biomass or volume of commercial trees. Likewise, if wildlife populations are the focus of management, managers may choose to measure biomass or numbers of individual animals.

Our ecosystem

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