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Muir Woods Forest Ecosystem

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by

Luke Chiang

on 14 February 2014

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Transcript of Muir Woods Forest Ecosystem

Introduction
Muir Woods - Forest Ecosystem
Fire!
Fires are an unexpectedly helpful factor of the forest's health for several reasons. First of all, wildfires clear the ground of debris and unnecessary brush, making more room for animal habitat and better life to grow. Moreover, diseases in sick or dying trees and plants are ridden of with fire. Other specific types of trees in the Muir Woods require the heat of fire to open their seeds for growth, and with fire resistant bark, fire may be needed every 3-25 years for growth.
Fauna
Flora
The variety of flora in the Muir woods is fascinating. One of the largest hiker attractions is the 258 foot tall redwood tree. More plants include (other than trees) canopy, herbaceous, and understory plants. Furthermore, dead plants provide nutrients needed for life in the forest, such as the banana slug, which lives on such nutrients. Another portrayal of how dead plants help is the event of a dead tree falling across a river and creating small pools and falls which can filter water.
Muir Woods is currently in a state of restoration. Only three miles from the woods, Muir Beach lies, connected to the woods by Redwood Creek. Due to this, these two natural areas rely on each other for survival. Roads, trails, buildings and more have deteriorated health by causing erosion and etc. This has been occurring for the past 100 years. The goal of restorers is to create a new environment that is self-sustaining and repairing. In order to do this, foresters of the area must know the life, flora, fauna and cycles that occur and thrive in the forest.
Animals of the Muir Woods are often rare to find and quiet to their own home. Examples include the following: the black-tailed deer, Sonoma chipmunk, Coho salmon, Winter wren, and Convergent Lady bug. Perhaps the most intriguing of all is the banana slug. Now we will explore some of these animals in more detail.
The Banana Slug
Although, most commonly yellow, banana slugs can also be green, tan white, or even brown (if always brown perhaps it would been..) Banana slugs typically grow up to around 10 inches, and they utilize 27,000 miniscule teeth to eat and digest dead plant nutrients off of the soil and floor. They are more commonly sighted in Muir Woods during rainy, moist days.
The Coho Salmon
Coho Salmon are winter breeding animals - their eggs usually hatch during the winter. Once hatched, they do not move for 6-7 weeks until developed. Once then, they begin feeding upon plankton and tiny organisms around that size. However, once more grown, they begin feeding on smaller fish. The more important note is that they can live in both fresh and salt water.
The Winter Wren
The Winter Wren is one of the smallest species of birds, at the relative size of a golf ball. However, it remains one of the most common sightings due to the fact that it stays in Muir Woods for a lifetime. This is unlike other species, as most migrate or only come for certain mating seasons. Diet includes small insects off the ground, and nuts and seeds during the winter.
The Primary Parts - 1
There are four main sectors to reading a forest's vitality. They go as follows:
1. The largest living trees left. These trees are a window back in time to forest history. By looking at tree rings, not only is the climate determinable, but more importantly, the age. Foresters can use this to research to think about how structure developed. The oldest standing tree is about 1,200 years old.
The Primary Parts - 2
2. The structure itself is another part of Muir Wood's four main components. It was previously stated that plants besides trees include herbaceous, understory and canopy. These three types of plants each provide growth and nutrients for distinct plant species. Basically, these plants are individual adaptations that help other plants adapt themselves. (if that makes sense)
The Primary Parts - 3
3. Deceased trees are the next detail. Trees that fall to the floor not only create pools (as previously stated) but also create habitats for a smaller variety of animals, however, mainly insects. Additionally, dying trees gradually release nutrients that can promote more growth. Not only this, but during this period of time as trees lie on the ground or water, leaves build up upon the dying bark and eventually become soil when they decompose themselves. From this soil, new seedlings are birthed. Additionally, trees that die and still stand are called snags.
The Primary Parts - 4
4. Although Muir Woods has many different types of plants and species, they are still all reliant on each other to survive. The fourth sector is just the way that communities of plants depend on each other for growth. (i.e., squirrels rely on thick undergrowth for protection from predators or sunlight)
Ferns
Now we proceed from the four most important parts of Muir Wood's health another commonly sighted species of plant. Ferns are one of these. The large majority of split leaved green plants on the Muir Woods floor are most likely ferns. Withal, the most central component of a fern is the vascular tissue that it uses to live on and produce waters and sugars, in place of any more dominant seed and fruit plant. This particular species of plant has been using spores to reproduce ever since the Age of the Dinosaurs.
Mushrooms & Fungi
There is an approximate 200 species of mushroom and fungus living within Muir Woods area. Just like ferns, they produce spores to reproduce. Mushroom also have short life-spans. Death occurs very soon after the event of making spores. It is rare to sight these, however, because they usually occupy the underground. Thin, hyphal threads between mushrooms and fungi underground connect and break down dead material. This is an important fundamental to the efficiency of the forest.
*It was rare for me to find this pillar of mushrooms aboveground, living on the body of a once-living tree.
Conclusion
Decisively, let us backtrack through these portrayals as the basic essentials of Muir Wood's ecology. The flora, both of the primary parts that make up the forest's health itself, and some of the major species in the undergrowth all take part in the methods of cycling life. Animals make use of the habitat that is so self-recycling, and leave behind their own half of the deal by, for example fertilizing. Furthermore, man-made fires may promote growth in unexpectedly helpful manners. Additionally, the manner of serenity from how quiet the animals are makes the atmosphere within Muir Woods ever more peaceful, and you get the idea that although it is so quiet, there must be a source of its beauty. In consequence, these are the elements of Muir Woods that foresters must be aware of, in order to do their job and succeed in their goal of restoration.
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