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The Layers of a Forest

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Basics on the topic The Layers of a Forest

Follow Newton as ze explores the different layers of the woodland forest. Learn about their characteristics and creatures that live there!

Transcript The Layers of a Forest

Newton is on a discovery tour of the forest today! Ze's heard that there are layers in the forest, similar to the floors in a house. Ze wants to see for zirself! Let's look at "The Layers of a Forest" together. The layers of a forest are decided by how much sunlight they get. The tree tops are the uppermost layer and get the most sunlight. The thicker the forest has grown at the top, the less sunlight reaches the layers below. The more light that comes through the trees, the better the plants in lower layers can grow. The top layer of the forest is made of two parts: the Canopy and Understory. They are like the roof and attic of a house. The canopy is made of the leafy tops of woodland trees. Can you spot any animals up here? There's a squirrel and an owl! Birds of prey and woodpeckers also have their nests and breeding spots here. Below the canopy and understory, you can find the Shrub layer. Here there are more leaves and plants, bushes and berries, such as hazelnut, or elderberry. Look closely, what kind of insects are these? They are butterflies and bees. You can also find other living creatures in this layer like beetles or songbirds that build their nests in bushes. Beneath the shrub layer lies the ground layer. There you can find mosses, mushrooms, and the fallen leaves of trees. But many creatures live here too: which ones do you recognize? Spiders, snails, and ants call the ground layer home. Mice and hedgehogs also live on the ground. The lowest layer of the forest is the Soil layer. This is the underground layer of the forest, similar to the basement level of a house. So, when you walk in the forest, you can't see this layer the way your can see the others. If you could see into soil, you would find plant roots. The roots give support and help the plant absorb water and nutrients, so they can grow. Small creatures and bacteria live in this layer too like millipedes, earthworms, and moles. Do you recognize this animal? It also makes itself comfortable here in the soil. It's a badger! Let's take a look back at what we learned today! A forest consists of different levels, also called layers. The top layers of the forest are the Canopy and Understory. This is where animals like squirrels, owls or woodpeckers live. Beneath them lies the Shrub layer. Insects like butterflies or bees call this layer home. In the Ground layer live creatures like snails, ants and mice. The lowest layer of the forest is the Soil layer where dirt and plant roots can be found. Moles and earthworms can live in this layer. And what is Newton, the earth bumblebee, doing? Ahhh! Home sweet home!

The Layers of a Forest exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learned? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video The Layers of a Forest.
  • How are the layers of the forest decided?

    Hints

    Plants need this to produce their own food.

    The more light the tree receives, the bigger it gets.

    Do all of the layers get the same amount of light?

    Solution

    The layers of a forest are decided by how much sunlight they get.

    The more light that comes through the trees, the better the plants in lower layers can grow.

  • Identify the correct order of forest layers.

    Hints

    The top layer of the forest is made up of leafy tops of woodland trees, and it receives the most sunlight.

    The bottom layer of the forest is one that we cannot see, as it is underground, and receives the least sunlight.

    Solution

    The layers of the forest are ordered as follows, from top to bottom:

    1. Canopy
    2. Understory
    3. Shrub
    4. Ground
    5. Soil
  • Identify the layer of the forest described.

    Hints

    This is the layer below the canopy and understory.

    Plants receive less sunlight because the tall trees block it.

    In this layer, there are leaves, plants, bushes, and berries.

    Solution

    The layer described is the shrub layer. It is located below the understory layer, and above the ground layer. It contains leaves, plants, bushes, and berries. It is home to insects such as butterflies, bees, and beetles, and nesting songbirds.

  • What are the layers of the forest?

    Hints

    The soil layer is the lowest layer.

    The ground layer is above the soil layer.

    The shrub layer is above the ground layer.

    The canopy and understory are the top layers.

    Solution

    The top layers of the forest are the canopy and understory.
    Beneath them lies the shrub layer.
    Below the shrub layer comes the ground layer.
    The lowest layer of the forest is the soil layer.

  • What can be found in the different layers?

    Hints

    Birds of prey and woodpeckers also have their nests and breeding spots in the canopy.

    Spiders, snails, and ants call the ground layer home.

    Solution

    A forest consists of different levels, also called layers.
    The top layer of the forest is the canopy. This is where animals like squirrels, owls, and woodpeckers live.
    The ground layer is home to live creatures like snails, ants, and mice.

  • How is the soil layer important for the plants and animals?

    Hints

    These plants absorb water and nutrients so they can grow.

    These are some of the small creatures that live in the soil layer.

    Solution

    The image above shows the correct answers. The lowest layer of the forest, the soil layer, has many interesting characteristics.