Explore the Forest!
Forests cover about one-third of the Earth’s land surface and hold our biological diversity. Woods come in all sizes and types - from the northern taiga to the scrub forests to regions to the rainforests of the humid tropics. They are on moving glaciers¹, in fresh and salt water, and on icy mountain slopes. In addition to trees, forests are home to many plants, animals, insects, and microorganisms housing over two-thirds of known species. As complex ecosystems, forests are a web of interrelationships between organic living plants and creatures (biotic) and nonliving (abiotic) soil, rocks, and water. Watch What is a forest?
Get involved! Explore the Forest!
Activity 1 – Forest Facts
The classification “forest” describes a type of biome Forests are home to many plants, animals and insects. Forests cover about one third of the earth’s land surface and hold 70% of the carbon in living things. The vast surface area and carbon content affects the climate of the entire earth. The most common classification of forests is by latitude. Using this grouping, forests can be divided into three categories: tropical, temperate, and boreal. These forests types have different creatures and different minerals. If done minimally, materials, products and food can be harvested from forests. This needs to be calculated according to the season, the area and the rapidity of harvest. If done incorrectly, the entire forest may suffer. The importance of forests is extremely urgent because of the rapid deforestation that is occurring. However, there are many ways to help restore and manage our forests. Add forest facts and types to your journal. Get involved! Explore the Forest!
Activity 2 – Forest Vocabulary
Key terms open up new understandings of the complex connectivity of forests.
biome: a complex community housing unique plant and animal species and maintained under the climatic conditions of the region
deforestation: to clear forests or trees
tropical: forests along the equator between latitudes 23.5 degrees N and 23.5 degrees S; tropical forests have only two seasons (rainy and dry) and hold the most biological diversity
temperate: forests in eastern North America, northeastern Asia, and western and central Europe with distinct winter seasons allowing for 4-6 frost-free months for growing
boreal or taiga: forests make up the largest biome; between 50 and 60 degrees north latitude across Eurasia and North America, with short, moist summers and long, cold, and dry winters; only 130 days of growing
biotic: all living things and materials that directly or indirectly affect an organism in its environment
abiotic: nonliving things such as sunlight, temperature, wind patterns, and precipitation
Take notes in your journal. Know your forest terms!
Activity 3 – Forest Bathing!
Forest Bathing is an invitation to visit a forest. It is a time to find an entry path and quietly walk along its winding trails underneath the canopy of leaves. There may be a slight ruffle of a breeze, and you may feel the coolness as you walk under the cover of a forest. Stroll and look to the right and the left. Perhaps you hear a chirp of a chipmunk, and then it’s rustling to hide away. A bird could fly into the path to perch on a branch, eat a bug, and then fly off ahead to alight on another limb and eat another bug. Perhaps a baby bunny sprints under a bush. Do you have tree roots from decades clinging to the slope? Do you lookups you see nests for spring mating? Are you noticing the different shapes of leaves, spring blooms in some, and early seedlings floating to the forest ground? Perhaps you come upon a bench and can sit and reflect on the sunlight that manages to sparkle down from the sky through the cover lighting first here and then there. Do you find your mind calming? Are you enjoying breathing in deeply? Does your skin feel fresher? Oxygen abounds in a forest. Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax. Record your experience in your journal.
Activity 4 – Map it Out
One third of the entire land surface area of earth is covered by forests. Print out a world map and color in the areas where forests are present. Draw and color in different shades of green the areas where forests are present. Use three colors to show tropical, temperate, and boreal forests. Label the three major largest forested areas. Think of what the trees and biodiversity of life offer to local people and to the world. List some benefits that Earth’s forests generously share.
Forest map link
Activity 5 – Identify Trees
Gather leaves from several different trees around your house. Lay it out flat for each leaf and place a piece of paper over it. Rub a colored pencil across the article where the leaf is to create a print. This image will show you the leaf’s shape and form. Identify the leaf arrangement on the stem. Is it alternate, spiral, or continuous? Then, identify different tree types using the Leaf identification link. Step back from the tree and look to see what shape the branches take. Is it a vertical oval, a half circle, a lollipop circle, an inverted v? Read about tree species and their unique qualities that make them special to your area. Take notes about three key tree types. Identify their shape, height, deciduous or evergreen, and leaf arrangement.
Activity 6 – Harvest and Plant Tree Seeds
Find a heavily wooded area near where you live. Collect and identify and label the seeds. Harvest the seeds from several different types of trees. Propagate them. Put the roots in the soil and water daily, and chart your observations in their growth projects. Once all the seeds have sprouted and grown, make a graph representing the growth pattern of each seedling. Tips for planting tree saplings
Activity 7 – Forests as Renewable Providers
Forests cover 1/3 of the Earth. Forests are our friends and absorb twice as much carbon as they emit. Forest Sequestration Update Each forest has its ecosystem, biodiversity of life, and underground mycelium connections. Forests around the world provide jobs for local people and supply materials for goods and services that, by and large, are renewable and sustainable. Forests contribute to balancing climate change. Approximately, one quarter of global green house gas emissions come from the land. About half of these (5-10 GtCO2e annually) come from deforestation and forest degradation. Approximately 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide or one-third of the CO2 released from burning fossil fuels, is absorbed by forests yearly. Replanting after forest fires, or deforestation is a major key to balancing climate change.
Make a world Map of areas that need to be reforested.
Activity 8 – Forests and Carbon Sequestration
Forest biomes are commonly classified by their latitude as tropical, temperate, and boreal. Forests contain 70% of the carbon in living things, yet 80% of the world’s green cover has been deforested. Deforestation delivers materials, products, and food for people and animals, yet needs replenishment. If done incorrectly, the entire forest and all of the plants and animals may suffer—deforestation changes according to the season, the area, and the rapidity of harvest. Become enchanted with forests! Help restore forests! Rescue seeds from a forest. Identify them. Pllant them in deforested areas!
Take a photo of a sapling that you have planted and label it and upload it to the gallery.
- All trees and forests are the same.
- Forests are home to:
- The carbon content of forests affect the climate of the entire world.
- Deforestation is no longer a threat to the Earth’s forests.
- What are the three types of forests according to climate?
- American Forests
- American Forests Global Releaf
- Biology Games Forest Succession
- Climate Impact upon Forests
- Deforestation: What is Missing? by Maya Lin
- EarthDay The Canopy Reforestation Map
- ecosia The Importance of Forests
- EU 2030 Forest Strategy
- Forest Bathing Benefits!
- Forest House Envelope Architects
- Forest Preserves of Cook County
- Future Forests Data For Good
- Future of Forests Succession Game
- Global Forest Watch Interactive Map
- Green Facts
- Learning From Northwest Forests
- Maya Lin: Ghost Forest Madison Square Park
- Municipal Benefits in 5 Cities of Urban Forests
- Nakamoto Forestry
- NASA Forest Soil Condition Maps
- NASA Interactive Data Globes measuring Soil moisture
- NASA Map of World Forest Heights
- Project Learning Tree Research Forests Around the World
- Scenario Journal Building The Urban Forest
- Stefano Boeria Bosco Verticale
- The Forest Biome
- Treepedia Canopy Cover of the World
- Urban Forestry
- USDA Forest Service Landscape Change Monitoring System
- Virtual Tour Rainforests ASUniversity
- Where are the Rainforests
- Who SPeaks For the Trees
- WWF Forest Habitats
- WWF Types of Forests