The forest canopy is the upper layer of a forest, characterized by treetops and a handful of emerging specimens with heights that grow above the canopy. The canopy is essential for the well-being of a forest and provides habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals. In fact, the canopy is so unique that some organisms spend their whole lives in it without ever reaching the ground.
If you have ever entered a forest and looked at the area where the treetops are, you have looked at the canopy of the forest. Canopy branches and leaves can intercept up to 95% of available light, causing the undergrowth of the forest to be deeply shaded. You can also hear the canopy called upper floor, referring to the fact that it includes the upper part of the forest.
Only a few trees reach the height of the canopy. These trees often have suppressed growth as a seedling while waiting in the undergrowth. When a canopy tree falls, a seedling grows to take its place, growing rapidly so that it can reach the light. Once the tree reaches the height of the canopy, it reaches its top, adding circumference but not much height. Eventually, it will die or be damaged in a storm, fall to the ground, and contribute to the thick layer of decaying organic matter in the forest floor as another seedling takes its place.
Epiphytic plants, lichens and ferns often live in the forest canopy, sometimes in the upper layers in order to take advantage of the light and abundant water supply, and sometimes in the lower regions. These plants combine with trees to create habitat for birds, insects and mammals large and small. In the tropics, creatures such as large cats can frequent the canopy in search of food, and the canopy also hosts monkeys, snakes, and a variety of other animals.
The forest is a fairly unique ecosystem, with a number of microclimates within a mature and healthy forest. These microclimates are home to a wide variety of creatures of all shapes, colors and sizes, making visiting any forest an interesting expedition for those who have the patience to wait and observe. Even in a very small area of a forest, it is possible to count many organisms, from tiny mushrooms on the ground to tall trees on the canopy.
Some researchers work on the canopy of the forest, studying this unique environment and the animals that live in it. Permanent search stations with tree houses, zip lines and other equipment can be installed, and it is also possible to explore the canopy simply by climbing on it, assuming the equipment is available to do so. Scientists try to be careful in the canopy of the forest because they do not want to disturb the forest ecosystem by breaking branches, damaging plants or scaring animals.