The layers of a typical rain forest
Now, we shall look at the basic structure (layers) of a typical forest.
Let's take the Rainforest as an example... There are 4 major layers including:
The Emergent Layer (A):
This layer is very sunny because it is the very top and only the tallest trees reach this level. It is also known as the overstory.
Animals found in this layer include birds, butterflies, small monkeys, bats, snakes and bugs.
The Canopy Layer (B):
This is the thickest layer and much of the rain is stopped by the thick foliage. Most trees in the forest grow to this height. There are plants that grow in the canopy layer whose roots don't reach the ground. These are called air plants.
Animals found in this layer include birds, monkeys, frogs, and sloths, lizards, snakes and many insects.
The Understory (C):
This layer has many vines, dense vegetation but not much sunlight as it is all blocked by the canopy.
Animals found in this layer include birds, butterflies, frogs and snakes.
The Forest Floor (D):
This layer is dark, damp, full of many dead leaves, twigs and dead plants. It is usually clear of vegetation, with little or no winds and rains reaching there. The forest floor is dark due to the trees above stopping the sunlight from entering the forest. It is estimated that only 2% of the sunlight actually reaches the floor.
Animals found in this layer include jaguars in South America, gorillas, leopards in Africa, tapirs, tigers and elephants in Asia.
Click here for more details on the structure of the forest