2 December 2023

Forests are areas of great importance in the world, this because it is home to a vast variety of species. In it the life of countless animals and insects and, on the other hand, it provides food and resources to human beings.

In the world there are different types of forests depending on their characteristics and their climate. Thus, each of them has a fauna and climate that defines them. Thus, according to the area, they inhabit different types of trees, insects, food and others.

Some remain in their natural state, in others indigenous peoples coexist and there are also forests where man has intervened, such as logging. That is why in the world there are organizations trying to protect them hand in hand with man and preserve its flora and fauna. If you want to know more about them, their characteristics and types, we will show you here.

What are the characteristics of a forest?

Regarding the definition of the term forest, it is about different extensions of land submerged under extensive layers of plants, shrubs, and trees. These coexist naturally in various areas of the entire planet. these woods can be classified in different ways according to the type of trees that inhabit there, due to their latitude and altitude, the degrees of humidity they possess, as well as the proximity to the coasts.

In all of them you can find a great diversity of plants, however, certain varieties of trees and shrubs always predominate depending on the type of forest. In addition, a large number of fauna inhabit this terrestrial ecosystem, which varies according to the climatic area and location. Therefore, they are characterized by being a space that can house countless species that interact and coexist with each other within their own abiotic environment.

On the other hand, they can be classified according to the degree of intervention imposed by the human being that mainly divides the space into native or virgin forests and those forests where man has managed to intervene in its configuration. Some of the features are:

  • Habitat and diversity: They have different types of habitat where most terrestrial living things live. Among them live a wide variety of animals and plants, especially in tropical and subtropical forests (jungles). These are places where most classes of terrestrial vertebrates live, such as reptiles, mammals, birds, amphibians, and a wide variety of fish. Also aquatic mammals, which inhabit fresh water, (rivers and lakes that exist within the forest). Likewise, the diversity of arthropods such as arachnids and insects in immense quantities, even more so in forests or warm jungles.
  • Oxygen Producers: They are great producers and releasers of oxygen. They help life on the planet, whether in temperate, hot or cold zones and regardless of the type of plants that exist there. This makes them necessary for life on earth, since the trees and shrubs that make them up come, in addition to producing oxygen, they are the ones that absorb the excess carbon dioxide that forms in the atmosphere.
  • Power supply: Since ancient times they represent a great source of food for animals and humans. From the first era, men have fed on animals, fruits and fungi from the forests. Currently, there is an immense amount of food production that man sows and harvests. However, a part of humanity maintains itself with food that comes from some specific forests where they hunt animals such as squirrels, deer, and caribou, among others. Also the hunting of different mammals, reptiles and birds that exist in tropical, subtropical or forest forests. On the other hand, you can also collect fruits and seeds such as bananas, cocoa, papayas, vanilla, wild walnuts, among others.
  • Raw material source: For many centuries they have served as sources of raw material for humans. Since prehistoric times, man has dedicated himself to felling trees in order to build his homes and also to obtain wood for cooking, heating homes, as well as for industrial work.

Ecosystem: flora and fauna of forests

They offer a flora and fauna of great diversity, it is estimated that they inhabit more than 200 varieties of treesmore than 500 types of birds, as well as a large number of insects and more.

In them are a great species diversity; however, some of these specimens are difficult to locate. This is due to the biodiversity that allows the reproduction of these species. Some of them are:

Forest flora:

  • Bromeliads: This is a plant belonging to the pineapple family, they have large leaves and are of different colors. They are species that give off a pleasant aroma.
  • Orchids: It is one of the plants that most represents wooded areas, its flowers show beautiful colors and it is easy to get them in different sizes.
  • Passionflower: It is a vine with beautiful flowers, it contains a creamy nectar that characterizes it. It can be found in tropical forests where a high variety of different species inhabit.

Among the Fauna of the forests are:

  • The howler monkey: This is an animal only found in the tropical forests of South America, of which only 14 species are known so far.
  • Lazy: This is a species that belongs to tropical forests, so far only two varieties are known among them.
  • Butterflies: There is a great variety of these insects with different shapes and colors.
  • Toucan: Among the species of fauna, this is the most recognized bird in the world, it has a large beak and striking colors.
  • Eagle eats monkeys: It is a bird that inhabits most of the forests of America, it is also known as the Harpy Eagle and also as the monera eagle.

Forest soil and climate

Forest soil is exactly where the decomposition of natural organic matter occurs. This constitutes a very important process for their continuity. It also serves as a home to a large number of animals and plants, as well as provides a support for trees which are responsible for the formation of oxygen.

The climate of the forests is different zones, since they develop with temperatures in an average that goes from the 12 to 23°C. In the winter time it can reach a temperature below 0 °C. These ecosystems can change from a humid or humid temperate climate, with annual rainfall between 600 and 1,000 mm.

What are the types of forests?

In the world there are different types of forests that have unique characteristics. These are differentiated according to their climate, fauna, variety of plants, animals, among others. Among them you can find:

Coniferous forest

These forests are really ecosystems that are characterized by having a climate that varies from warm to cold with heavy rainfall. In addition, it has the predominance of coniferous trees with their high heights that measure up to 100 meters. Among them are also pine trees with a great variety of species.

Normally in this type of forests there are trees such as cedars, cypresses, firspriceas, shrubs and ferns typical of the ecosystem.

temperate forest

Its climate is characterized by a average annual temperature at 18 °C, with rainfall ranging between 600 and 2,000 mm per year. Temperate forests also have certain very specific conditions where they maintain a great variation between locations and geographic seasons. This means that their nature is very diverse, although they maintain a humidity of between 60 and 80% continuously.

These forests are found in an order of five vegetation layers:

  • A initial layer with mosses and lichens just at ground level.
  • A Second layer where herbs and creeping plants grow.
  • A third layer where shrubs like blackberries and blueberries and others grow.
  • A fourth layer where new trees of medium height grow.
  • A fifth layer with trees that get to be around 60 feet tall.

Tropical forest

They are a plant accumulation that are located in the intertropical zone. They have been adapting to the warm climate of the tropics, with certain variations depending on the humidity. They have been considered as synonyms of the tropical forestfor being holders of such a gigantic biodiversity that houses great riches in animal and plant species.

Relationship with the environment and humidity:

  • Moist tropical forests: It presents frequent and abundant rains. They have a humid and warm climate, just like in the Amazon of South America.
  • Dry tropical forests: They have a lower margin humidity, they are semi-dense. They are made up of species such as deciduous and xerophilous.
  • Tropical monsoon forests: They are those with typical monsoon climates that alternate between a rainy season and another dry season. They are considered as the forest of the transition between the dry and the humid.

mixed forest

They combine gymnosperm trees with angiosperms, this is a combination of broadleaf trees (leafy) of the deciduous type with some coniferous. These are the ones with acicular and evergreen leaves.

In Europe you can find a large number of mixed forests where there are a variety of trees such as fir, birch, spruce, beech and other species. In these regions you can find some such as: the Caucasus, the Balkan, the Cantabrian, the Atlantic, among others.

Mixed forests in the Americas are scattered in large numbers, such as in places with extensive lakes located in North America. There are large formations of trees, such as the maple and coniferous like the pine

primary forest

Primary forests, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are those that exist in their natural state. It is where there is no evidence of some type of human activity that has caused alterations in its original ecological structure.

On the other hand, CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity), defines these forests as exempt from having been felled. They have been evolving during some perturbations of the environment. In addition, it is in some of these forests where indigenous peoples live that make use of various traditional practices, promote their care and conservation.

These forests are considered to be primary when they have been sold regenerating naturally without human intervention. In the event that there was some kind of human interventionit is necessary that sufficient time elapses for any man-made changes to be completely erased.

Deciduous forest

They are located in the temperate regions of the planet. These forests are made up of plant species whose leaves fall during the autumn to survive the winter and thus be able to sprout in the spring. It is for this reason that it receives its name of deciduous, which comes from the Latin caducus, which means to fall, and from foliun which is leaves. This in contrast to the evergreens or those with evergreen leaves. It is a mechanism that consists of a biological adaptation allowing trees to keep their water levels stable, since the loss of leaves prevents them from transpiration.

Cloudy forest

These are mesophilic places with a mountain climate, they are foggy or misty and with mountain humidity, cloud forest, cloud forest, among others. It has variations in its species composition, but has a similar structure and climate.

It is dominated by different strata where plants such as epiphytes and ferns abound. Its foliage has 50% of tree species that are lost during some time of the year. They frequently share rains, humidity, fog and cloudiness atmosphere that last throughout the year. These forests also serve as a refuge for a large number of different species in the climatic changes of recent times.

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