12. Summer Growth

During the growing season, cove forests are covered in green due to abundant plant life. Rich in energy, leaves and stems would seem to be an easy target for animals that feed on plants, the herbivores. It turns out that plants have mechanical and chemical defense mechanisms that generally prevent herbivores from overindulging.

Type
Close-Up of Wood Nettle Stem | The Cove Forest
Close-Up of Wood Nettle Stem | The Cove Forest

Photo

Hairs, spines and thorns occur on leaves and/or stems of certain plants. These mechanical defenses may provide some protection from larger herbivores, such as deer, as well as small insects, such as...
Close-Up of Oak Leaves | The Cove Forest
Close-Up of Oak Leaves | The Cove Forest

Photo

The most effective defense against herbivores are chemicals. Leaves, stems and roots often various chemicals that deter herbivores. For example, oaks have bitter-tasting chemicals called tannins that...
Dense Leafy Plant | The Cove Forest
Dense Leafy Plant | The Cove Forest

Photo

Leaves often show signs of some damage by herbivores, but only rarely are most or all of the leaves on a given plant eaten. As a result, green leafy plant tissues is abundant in cove forests during...