07. The Multilayered Forest

Cove forests contain several distinct layers of vegetation, each supporting different kinds of animals (although some animals move around from layer to layer). The top layer is the canopy, followed by the understory, the shrub layer, the herbaceous layer, and finally, the forest floor.

Type
The Canopy | The Cove Forest
The Canopy | The Cove Forest

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Mature trees in a cove forest are so large and so closely bunched together that the canopy is like a huge tent that shuts out the sunlight. Most photosynthesis (food production) of the forest occurs...
The Understory | The Cove Forest
The Understory | The Cove Forest

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The understory typically includes smaller individuals of canopy species such as beach and yellow buckeye. Also present are genetically smaller trees that never reach the canopy, such as flowering...
The Shrub Layer | The Cove Forest
The Shrub Layer | The Cove Forest

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Shrubs are woody plants that have several stems and are generally shorter than trees. In ravines and along creeks, shrubs such as rosebay rhododendron from dense thickets. In other areas, shrubs may...
The Herbaceous Layer | The Cove Forest
The Herbaceous Layer | The Cove Forest

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Herbaceous plants, or herbs for short, are green plants that have soft rather than woody stems. Most wildflowers and grasses are herbs, as are ferns and mosses.
The Forest Floor | The Cove Forest
The Forest Floor | The Cove Forest

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The forest floor functions as a wastebasket for all the layers above it. Materials accumulate most rapidly in the fall as the dead leaves of deciduous species fall to the ground. However, a steady...