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Forest Essay

Oxford dictionary defines a forest as a large area covered with thick trees and plants. The definition of forests is defined based on land use, tree density, ecological function, and legal standing. According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation: Land covering more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy covering more than 10% of trees can reach these thresholds in situ. It should not include an area that is under urban use or agricultural.

Forest Essay

Global Forest Resources Assessment used this definition to assess the forest cover in the world. They found that 4.06 billion hectares of area are under forest, i.e. 31% of the world's land. It is a dominant terrestrial ecosystem that is present throughout the world. More than 50% of forested area is presented in the Russian Federation, Brazil, China, the United States of America, and Canada. The maximum share is in tropical and boreal, temperate, and subtropic domains.

Classification of Forest Ecosystem

Broadly, the Forest ecosystem is divided into three major types: Tropical Forest Ecosystem, Temperate Forest System, and Boreal System.

1. Tropical Forest System

This forest is called a Tropical Rainforest, and it has been named rainforest because it receives 100 inches of rain annually. Under tropical forest cover, a wide range of species thrives compared to other forest ecosystems. This forest type can be located at 23.5 degrees North and 23.5 degrees south. The temperature hovers around 68 degrees and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Massive rainfall has resulted in the bad quality of soil, eroded soil, and taken key minerals from the soil. Due to massive rainfall, the leaching of soil is visible. Broad-leafed trees dominate the tropical forest, and the height of trees could be 82-115 feet. The sunlight is not able to reach the ground floor due to the dense canopy. The tropical forest houses a wide range of species like amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. Tropical Forest is also classified into various parts:

  • Evergreen Forest: This forest has not seen any dry season and receives yearly rainfall.
  • Seasonal Forest: This forest houses numerous florahaving a limited number of the dry season.
  • Dry Forest: The name of the forest suggests that this kind of ecosystem sees a lot of dry seasons, which are longer in period.
  • Montane Forests: This is also known as Cloud Forest, and the precipitation received in this land is in the form of fog.
  • Sub-Tropical Forest: The forest is located in the north and south regions of the tropical forests. The species in this region have adapted to survive in harsh conditions, particularly drought.
  • Tropical and Subtropical Coniferous Forests: This kind of forest sees hot and dry climaticseasons, and species present here have adapted to themselves.

2. Temperate Forest Ecosystems

Temperate forests are mostly seen in Eurasia, North America, Japan, etc. This kind of forest receives less rainfall (30-60 inches) than Tropical Rainfall Forests. Temperate Forests witness all four seasons with temperature variations. The temperature in the winter goes below the freezing point, and in summers, the mercury roars up with high humidity. The soil here is rich in organic content and supports a massive amount of greenery and thick vegetation. It is a natural home to black bears, deer, raccoons, coyotes, and birds like warblers, woodpeckers, owls, hawks, etc.

Like Tropical Evergreen Forest, it is also categorized in two ways: Temperate Deciduous Forest and Temperate Coniferous Forest.

1. Temperate Deciduous Forest: It witnesses four specific seasons and gets rainfall of around 30-60 inches. In the winter, its sees snowfall. The soil's fertility is immense, resulting in deep vegetation like ferns, mosses, oak maple, and birch. Animal species like cardinals, woodpeckers, and red foxes are found in this forest.

Forest Essay

2. Temperate Coniferous Forests: This type of forest ecosystem is usually seen around coastal areas. It gets massive rainfall (50-200 inches), and the area is covered with a thick amount of decomposed matter. The plant species are maple, cedar, redwood, mosses, ferns, etc. The animal species common to this region are spotted owls, elk, marbled murrelet, and deer.

Forest Essay

3. Boreal Forest System

Sometimes it is also called Taiga Forests and is common in Scandinavia, Northern Asia, Canada, and Siberia. The striking feature of this forest is it observes short summer and long winter, and precipitation happens in the form of snowfall. Some of the most common trees present in the forests are spruce, pine, and fir. The trees are evergreen, have a green canopy, and do not permit the sunlight to reach the surface of the Earth.

Forest Essay

Common Features of the Forests

The forest possesses unique and interesting features. Some of the features are listed below:

  • Seasonal Changes: Seasons play a crucial role in the development of forests. They have a significant impact on the nature of the forest. For example, the Temperate Forest witnesses four different seasons, and the Tropical rainforest experiences massive rainfall.
  • Evergreen or Deciduous in Nature: The forests are generally evergreen, and some are present in the deciduous form. The deciduous forest has features that they shed their leaves in the time of winter.
  • Canopy Structure: It is one of the striking features of the forest ecosystem. Rainforests have distinguished canopies like a treetop, lower canopy layer, upper canopy layer, and forest floor. The canopy does not permit the sunlight to reach the Earth, and it also shields animals and small species from wind, snow, rain, etc.
  • Natural Bird Habitat: The Forests are the ultimate natural habitat for the birds. They provide suitable conditions for the bird to make their habitat. It has resulted in the development of shelter in the forests. Apart from being home to thousands of birds, it also caters to providing safe and natural habitats to small insects. It attracts hundreds of different types of insects.
  • Fertility of the Soil: There are deep variations in soil fertility, varying from one forest ecosystem to another. For example, tropical deciduous and temperate forests have high nutrient-rich soil, and Boreal forests have acidic soils. The temperate forest also loses its fertility and nutrients due to continuous leaching.

Structural Characteristics of the Forest Ecosystem

Forest Essay
  • Stratification: The term stratification refers to the vertical hierarchyof varied species that live in the forest and operate at different levels in the ecosystem. Each species occupies a definite place in the ecosystem according to the requirement of nutrients. For example, Trees are located at the top level and receive the maximum amount of rainfall, whereas shrubs are located at the surface of the Earth.
  • Species Composition: The term refers to the different species present in the forest and has occupied a definitive place in the forest.

Components of the Forest Ecosystem

Forest Essay

Various components of the forest present play a crucial role in the functioning of the forests. Some of the components are:

  • Energy Flow: Energy flow is Unidirectional, i.e. it flows in one direction. In the beginning, the plant stores solar energy, transforming into food and passing it to the decomposer. Organisms have a defined place at the trophic level and are connected with food or energy. The dependent interconnected network is called the food chain. The energy pyramid is always placed in upright positions. The energy flows from one trophic level to another, and some energy is also lost during this process.
  • Productivity: Solar energy is the ultimate energy source and is an immediate and necessary requirement for the forest. Forest requires an uninterrupted supply of solar energy to make their foods. Plants are the major producer in the forest ecosystem and have a significant place. Productivity has been categorized into two forms: Primary and Secondary.
    Primary productivity is about the quantity of solar energy trapped or biomass production per unit area that plants do through photosynthesis. The primary productivity is further divided into Gross Primary Productivity (GPP) and Net Primary Productivity. GPP examines the rate of entrapping of solar energy or the complete production of biomass. The plant uses a significant portion of GPP for respiration. Net Primary Productivity is the quantity of biomass left after using plants or producers. Thus, NPP is used for the usage of decomposers and herbivores.
  • Decomposition: This process requires oxygen. Decomposers play a key role in decomposition as decomposers turn the detritus (complex organic compound) into inorganic material like nutrients, water, and carbon dioxide. The dead remains of plants, flowers, bark and also dead remains of the animal, including faecal matter, are called detritus. Several steps are involved in the decomposition process: catabolism, fragmentation, mineralization, humification, and leaching. The fragmentation process involves breaking down detritus by detritivores and convert into smaller particles.
  • Nutrient Cycling: The term refers to the movement and storage of nutrient elements using different components available in the ecosystem. Nutrient cycling is of two types: Sedimentary and Gaseous. The reservoir is the Earth's crust for the Sedimentary cycle, and the hydrosphere or atmosphere is the reservoir for the gaseous cycle.

Relevance of Forest in the Ecosystem

Forests help in regulating the oxygen and temperature level of the atmosphere. Forest balances the oxygen atmosphere of the Earth. During the process of photosynthesis, plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. The plant release excess water in the form of water vapour, and this process is called transpiration. The water vapour rises from lakes, oceans and rivers, and rivers condense into clouds. Then it precipitates on the Earth. All these activities form an integral part of the water cycle. Forest has a significant role in lowering global warming levels of the Earth. Trees tend to hold the soil with their roots, thus helping prevent soil erosion.

Forest Cover

The forest cover is not just limited to planting trees and improving the degraded forest land. Trees are being cut down at a massive scale to meet human needs. The Government and environmentalists should intervene immediately and slow down this activity. Forest fires are one of the major reasons that have resulted in the loss of trees on a huge scale. Combined with afforestation and reforestation must be put into practice. The people and Government must come together to save those trees that are present on the Earth.

Union Government of India came up with a survey in which it says that there are an increase of 2,261 square kilometres of tree cover and forest and Madhya Pradesh bags the first position in terms of forest cover and the state which has seen a huge increase in the forest cover is Andhra Pradesh (647 Square Kilometer), Telangana falls second in line and follows by Odisha. The share of Mangrove forests has also increased by 17 square kilometres, and the States which is topping the lists are Odisha, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The present National Forest Policy of India aims to achieve 33% of the geographical area under forest and tree cover.

Forestry

Forestry refers to the management of forests, and the management of forests has often evolved from time to time; nowadays, the term has been modified called Sustainable Forest Management. Those Foresters involved in this stress more on integrating economic, social and ecological values in coordination with local tribes and communities and relevant stakeholders.

Forest in World

Amazon Forest covers Guyana, French Guiana, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Suriname. This forest covers an area of 5,500,000 square kilometres. Congo Rainforest is spread over the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Central African Countries, Angola, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It covers 2,000,000 square kilometres of land.







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