Forest – Concept, types, climate, flora, animals, importance

We explain what a forest is, what types exist, its flora and fauna. Also, its geographical location and importance.

The constant action of human beings on forests produces deforestation.

What is a forest?

A forest is a type of ecosystem dominated by trees and shrubs and that is present in almost all the continents and represents a third of the surface of the planet Earth.

Forests are fundamental in the development of the planet since they have very fertile soils, a great variety of fauna and are made up of trees that release oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide and regulate water flows. The climate, the type of vegetation and the fauna of a forest varies according to its geographic location.

The action of human beings on native forests produces deforestation, a practice that is carried out for economic purposes for the use of resources from the forest, urbanization or cultivation of cleared areas. Indiscriminate logging and the lack of reforestation is the cause of a decline in the world’s forests.

Forest types

Primary forests grow naturally.

Forests are classified according to certain criteria.

According to its origin:

  • Primary or native forests. They are forests that grow naturally without human intervention or planting.
  • Secondary forests. They are forests that arose again after logging.
  • Artificial forests. They are forests that were planted by humans.

According to its climate:

  • Temperate forests. They are forests found in temperate climates. Its vegetation can be both leafy and mixed broadleaf as well as coniferous trees.
  • Tropical forests. They are forests found in tropical climates in which rainfall abounds and broad-leaved trees that cover the ground from solar radiation.
  • Subtropical forests. They are forests with a subtropical climate, either wet or dry.
  • Boreal forests. They are forests with a subpolar climate that are usually made up of conifers with evergreen leaves.
Coniferous forests are in mountainous, elevated and cold regions.

According to the type of tree:

  • Coniferous forests. They are forests located in mountainous, elevated and cold regions and dominated by conifers that are evergreen plants, such as pines, cedars and firs.
  • Hardwood forests. They are forests with broad-leaved trees, such as eucalyptus, oak and beech, and that present a diverse vegetation, require higher humidity than coniferous forests and are found in tropical or temperate climates.
  • Mixed forests. They are forests that combine evergreen trees with broadleaf and non-evergreen trees.

According to the characteristics of the trees:

  • Deciduous forests. They are forests made up of trees that lose their leaf at some time of the year.
  • Evergreen forests. They are forests formed by trees that do not lose their leaves, so they are green and foliage throughout the year.

Forest fauna

habitat forest bears
Forests and mountains provide food and shelter for bears.

The animals that inhabit forests vary according to the climate and altitude of each type of forest. For instance:

  • In temperate coniferous forests. They inhabit rabbits, coyotes, lynxes, raccoons, squirrels, owls, deer, beavers, porcupines, bats, pigeons, magpies, rattlesnakes, scorpions, weasels, among others.
  • In temperate hardwood forests. They inhabit bears, goats, raccoons, squirrels, pumas, deer, deer, tigers, bats, pandas, wolves, woodpeckers, golden eagles, mice, among others.
  • In tropical forests. They inhabit monkeys, ants, butterflies, eagles, capybaras, lizards, crocodiles, toucans, snakes, tigers, bats, wild boars, frogs, spiders, gorillas, tapirs, among others.
  • In boreal forests. They inhabit bears, deer, owls, squirrels, lynxes, marmots, wolves, foxes, among others.

There are also specific animals of each forest, for example, in the forests that are between Argentina and Chile, guanacos, huemules, beavers, black-necked swans, steam ducks, among others, abound.

Follow in: Forest animals

Geographical location of forests

Different types of forests are spread throughout the entire planet, yet most are in the territories of Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China. Many of these forests are tropical and boreal.

Some of the most important and recognized forests in the world are: the Amazon in Brazil, the Black Forest in Germany, the Siberian Taiga in Russia, the Congo Forest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the boreal forests of Canada and the sequoia forests in the United States.

Importance of forests

Like all ecosystems on the planet, forests are very important for the conservation of the world as we know it, since they are home to many and diverse species of animals and plants. In addition, the attractiveness of its landscapes turned them into tourist and recreation sites.

Trees and other plant species in the forest have various environmental and economic benefits, such as:

  • They store carbon and release oxygen, allowing other life forms to develop.
  • They prevent soil erosion.
  • They provide wood, which is used as a form of energy or for the construction of buildings or furniture.
  • They regulate temperatures.
  • They reduce global warming, because they absorb carbon dioxide.
  • They absorb excess rainfall, which prevents flooding.
  • They provide food and other resources such as paper.
  • They reduce noise pollution.
  • They regulate and protect river basins.

Forest exploitation

The risks to forests can be caused by humans, such as illegal logging, or naturally, such as fire or pests.

Due to human intervention and the use of wood or rubber, deforestation is a practice that threatens the world’s forests. Illegal logging is responsible for a significant loss of native forest, so it is important to raise awareness in the population for the responsible use of natural resources obtained from forests.

Through silvicultural measures and campaigns (which is the discipline that studies and works in forests), it seeks to make use of the resources that come from the forest, from which a large portion of the world population lives, and, in turn , take care of the environment by reforesting and restoring ecosystems that were altered.