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Layers of the Forest

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What is Forest? - An Introduction

IVSAT 2024

A big area of land that is covered with trees and other vegetation is called a forest. Depending on the climate, different places in the world have different types of forests. A forest's structure comprises several layers, and the tall trees with pointed leaves and straight branches have crowns on top. Since the crown is the uppermost portion of the tree, sunlight is constantly shining on it. The top layer of leaves is known as the canopy.

Different sizes and varieties of crowns produce horizontal strata in the forest, known as the understorey, which prevents sunlight and rain from seeping into the layers beneath. This floor layer receives very little sunshine. The entire forest floor is covered with decaying matter. On the forest floor are the plant's roots, which aid water movement into the soil. Forest animals include spider monkeys, macaws, gorillas, constrictors, sloths, toucans, and jaguars. In addition, there are other animals like frogs and snakes that are reptiles and amphibians.

Difference Between Jungle and Forest

The forest and the jungle are different from each other; some of the differences are listed below-






It is a land covered with vegetation.

It is a large area covered with tall and short trees.


Jungles cannot be penetrated.

Forests are penetrable.


It is a type of rainforest.

The types include tropical rain forests, deciduous forests, etc.




What is Canopy in Forest?

A structurally intricate and crucial component of the forest's ecology is the canopy. It is described as the sum of all the crowns in a stand of vegetation, consisting of all the foliage, twigs, fine branches, epiphytes, and the interstices (air) in a forest.

It is the forest's second layer. It can be found beneath the emergent layer. Additionally, the canopy of the forest gets a lot of sunlight. The plants that need a modest amount of sunlight typically grow to this level. Outside the forest, the canopy creates an extremely deep and thick covering. The sunlight that reaches the lower floors is filtered by it.

Structure of Forest

The arrangement of trees and other plants in three dimensions in conjunction with nonliving spatial components, including soils, slopes, and hydrology, is known as a forest structure. The layers of the forest's vegetation are

  • Emergent layer

  • Canopy layer

  • Understory layer

  • Forest floor layer

  • Emergent Layer: This layer is composed of tall trees and is reported to obtain constant sunlight. This layer is also known as overstorey.

  • Canopy: The canopy refers to the highest branches and leaves of the trees, which serve as a roof over other plants and the forest floor. Only 50% of the available sunlight reaches the forest floor because the canopy blocks it. Animals including monkeys, birds, insects, and reptiles inhabit the canopy.

  • Understorey: It refers to the plants present just beneath the canopy. The majority of the trees are smaller ones.

  • Forest Floor: The term "forest floor layer" refers to the ground surface of the forest. Plants like mosses, lichens, and liverworts are found here. Large animals, insects, worms, bacteria, and fungi, make up most of the forest floor layer.

Rain Forest

Rainforests contribute to the health of our planet by releasing the oxygen necessary for a human living while absorbing carbon dioxide. The stabilisation of the Earth's climate is also aided by the absorption of this CO2. Additionally, rain forests contribute to the world's water cycle by releasing water into the atmosphere through transpiration, which results in clouds.

There are two tropical types of rainforest, and the other is temperate rainforests. Tropical rainforests are located in warm climates around the equator. It is renowned for having three distinct layers of dense canopies of plants. Temperate rainforests are located close to the colder coastal regions.

Advantages of Forests

The advantages of forests are discussed below-

  • Forests facilitate breathing by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen consumed by us. Thus, they aid in keeping the atmosphere in balance.

  • It maintains species diversity: In tropical rainforests, forests contain 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity. In forests, you can find insects, worms, birds, carnivorous animals, etc.

  • It helps control temperatures.

  • Forests have their own microclimates. Hence, it controls the rainfall patterns.

  • Tree roots aid the ground's ability to absorb more water during a flood. Hence, floods can be avoided by forests.

  • More than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects are found in forests.

  • The forests provide safety, employment, and housing.

  • Forests help maintain the proper humidity in the atmosphere.

  • Watersheds, which provide 75% of the world's freshwater, are protected by forests.

  • The ecological, economic, social, and health benefits of forests are immeasurable.

Interesting Facts

  • Over 80% of land animals and plants live in forests, and the forest makes up 31% of the world's total land area.

  • The Amazon rainforest is the biggest rainforest in the world.

  • Majority of the plants and animal species can be found in rainforests.

Key Features

  • Forests are the biggest and most intricate terrestrial biosphere.

  • The generation of oxygen and the worldwide uptake of carbon dioxide depend on the forest ecosystem.

  • Forests are threatened by human occupation and deforestation.

  • The emergent layer, canopy, understory, and forest floor are the four layers that makeup rainforests.

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FAQs on Layers of the Forest

1. What is deforestation?

The activity of cutting down trees in a forest is called deforestation.

2. What are the causes of deforestation?

The direct causes of deforestation include the expansion of agriculture, extraction of wood by logging and expansion or development of infrastructure by building roads and urbanisation.

3. What are the major types of forest?

The major types of forest include temperate, tropical, and boreal forests. These forests are reported to cover approximately 1/3rd of the total surface of the earth.

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