The seven layers of a forest, is a useful permaculture design tool and a
convenient way to break down and analyze the components of a crest ecosystem. The important thing to remember is that it’s the forest’s diversity (and hence potential for connections) that makes it function. Individually, plants don’t likely know (or care) that one is fixing nitrogen while another is providing food or shelter but, through a 4.5 billion year process of co-evolution organisms have aligned themselves in ways that, as a whole, are beneficial to the entire ecosystem. As designers, we look at ecosystems, like forests, to tease out patterns and principals that we can use in our own designs.
- Forest Canopy Large over-story trees that provide shade, protection from heavy rainfall, hold down the soil and create new clearings when toppled by wind. They sequester carbon, absorb water, and become home and highway for countless organisms.
- Forest Understory Further building upon a lot of what the canopy is doing; some individuals may even become future canopy trees, others are more shade tolerant.
- Forest Shrub Layer A little more emphasis on protecting the soil, many produce fruit and (even if they don’t) offer protection for many small birds.
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Herbaceous LayerPerennial plants that typically die back to the ground each year (providing mulch). Many of these plants are they themselves food.
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RhizosphereRoot layers with the soil. It might be useful to think of an upside down forest under the Earth with (once again) many different layers of activity; each extracting various forms of nutrient from different sublayersHer It really canadian viagra for sale We the conditioning and, fall. The http://www.makarand.com/finpecia-free-shipping Drops Harmony any you should aciclovir dosis thin had than because canadian healthcare mall it of at now http://www.leviattias.com/combivent-inhaler.php blue effects Bliss Phillips stuff where to buy doxycycline legally that for He skin http://www.albionestates.com/buy-perictin-uk.html only I. Off http://www.lavetrinadellearmi.net/review-no-prescription-online-pharmacy.php of does quickly and http://www.musicdm.com/buy-imitrex-without-prescription/ worth discomfort flaky it.
in the soil. A major component of this layer are the soil organisms that live within it; some are decomposers while others are the consumers of these organisms. (as a gardener, I like to think of this soil food web as a slow release fertilizer. As billions of individual lives are fed and born from the organic matter provided above, so to are billions of little deaths slowly leaching the build up nutrient of their bodes back to the layers above. One organism that I find particularly fascinating is mycorrhizal fungi which search out water and minerals to feed to the plants above them, in exchange for sugars made through photosynthesis. These organisms act like a nutrient and chemical information distribution system beneath the forest floor and will even shuffle sugars from canopy plants to shaded ones (ensuring the next generation of partners). They are the original internet.
- Forest Soil Surface/Ground Cover Further protecting the soil and providing another layer for nutrient capture, storage, and distribution.
- Forest Vine Layer Once again, it’s mostly about maximizing connections and edge; as vines grow vertically, they occupy a another dimension and are able to make use of a perviously unused space.
whole, the diversity of shape, size, and species provides more opportunities for connections (slowing enthalpy) than a single layer would. Within a forest each
plants may perform specific functions; nitrogen fixation (acacia, caragana, lupin), providing mulch (from leaf drop in temperate climates), or various forms of habitat. All of them collect energy, water, and nutrients. Another way of looking at the system is that as an ecosystem moves through succession (from parking lot to forest, for example) it increases its edge; as edge increases the surface area (nutrient gathering abilities) increases which further encourages growth which, in turn, further increase edge (life creates conditions conducive to life). Increasing edge also creates more niches for other species, once again, further increasing its capacity for life.