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Structure and Function of Forest Ecosystem(Terrestrial Ecosystem)

Structure and Function of Forest Ecosystem(Terrestrial Ecosystem)
A forest is an area with a high density of trees. World’s total land area is 13,076 million hectares - (Source: FAO; 1989)

FOREST ECOSYSTEM (TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM)

 

Introduction

 

v   A forest is an area with a high density of trees.


v   World’s total land area is 13,076 million hectares - (Source: FAO; 1989)


v   Of which total forests account for about 31% of the world’s land area.


v   In India, the forest cover is roughly 19% of the total land area.


v   The forest ecosystems are of great concern from the environmental point of view.


v   It provides numerous environmental services like;

 

Ø    Nutrient cycling,


Ø    Maintaining biodiversity


Ø    Providing wildlife habitat


Ø    Affecting rainfall patterns


Ø    Regulating stream flow


Ø    Storing water


Ø    Reducing flooding


Ø    Preventing soil erosion


Ø    Reclaiming degraded land & many more….


v   Apart from environmental values, forest ecosystems have some traditional values as well.


v   Examples are:


Ø    Fire Wood & Timber.


Ø    Fruits.


Ø    Gums.


Ø    Herbs & drugs.


Structure and Function of Forest Ecosystem

 

I.  Biotic components

 

v   The various biotic components, representatives from the three functional groups, of a forest ecosystem are:

 

1) Producer Organisms

v   In a forest, the producers are mainly trees.


v   Trees are of different kinds depending upon the type of forest developed in that climate.


v   Apart from trees, climbers, epiphytes, shrubs and ground vegetation.


v   Dominant species of trees in major types of forest ecosystems are:


v   Tectona grandis, Acer, Betula, Picea, Pine, Cedrus.


2) Consumers

v   In a forest, consumers are of three main types;

 

a) Primary Consumers

v   These are Herbivores which feed directly on producers.

 

Eg:

v   Ants, Beetles, Bugs, spiders etc. feeding on tree leaves.


v   Larger animals such as Elephants, Deer, giraffe etc. grazing on shoots and/or fruits of trees.


b) Secondary Consumers

 

 

v   These are carnivores and feed on primary consumers.

Eg: Birds, Lizards, Frogs, Snakes and Foxes.

 

c) Tertiary Consumers

v   These are secondary carnivores and feed on secondary consumers

 

v   These include top carnivores like Lion, Tiger.

 

3) Decomposers

v   These include wide variety of saprotrophic micro- organism like;


v   Bacteria (Bacillus Sp., Clostridium sp., pseudomonas.


v   Fungi (Aspergillus sp., Ganoderma sp., Fusarium.


v   Actinomycetes (Streptomyces).


v   They attract the dead or decayed bodies of organisms & thus decomposition takes place.


v   Therefore, nutrients are released for reuse.

 

II. Abiotic components

v   These include basic inorganic & organic compounds present in the soil & atmosphere.


v   In addition dead organic debris is also found littered in forests.





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