IntroductionForests play a pivotal role in the ecosystem because 1.6 billion humans live in forests throughout the world and depend on them for their livelihood (“Forest Habitat | Habitats | WWF”, 2016). Not only humans, but animals and a variety of flora and fauna contribute to and depend on various elements within forests; one considers that 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity is contained in forests (“Forest Habitat | Habitats | WWF”, 2016). In the case of rain forests, these natural regions are critical for the production and clean oxygen on the planet.
While many people might assume that urban forest fragments are only significant in relation to their providing urban residents with a means of recreation, in actuality those forest fragments are significant for the natural environment (Adler & Tanner, 2013). Urban forest fragments are oftentimes critical to the migratory patterns of birds that land in these areas after long periods of travel (Why Conserve Small Forest Fragments and Individual Trees in Urban Areas? 2016). Another strongly important consideration in relation to forests in urban locations is that they provide humans with substantial carbon and energy benefits. Through the process of photosynthesis, trees capture carbon dioxide from the environment to create energy for growth. When trees are positioned effectively, they can also be effective in limiting CO2 emissions, as they absorb such emissions and can provide a better living situation for all plants and animals in the surrounding ecosystem (Why Conserve Small Forest Fragments and Individual Trees in Urban Areas? 2016).
Biodiversity simply refers to the variety of life (Forest Habitat | Habitats | WWF, 2016). However, there are different types of categories of biodiversity, including genetic biodiversity and ecological biodiversity. Genetic biodiversity refers to the different genes that exist within a single species or multiple species, while ecological biodiversity refers to the diversity of the environment in which animals of species live. Biodiversity is measured through many different techniques, with among the most notable of these techniques being the measurement of such diversity into alpha, beta, and gamma sections (Why Measure Biodiversity? 2016). The intermediate disturbance hypothesis of generation of high diversity refers to the theory that the most effective situation for an ecosystem is one in which moderate levels of disturbance are registered. This theory is grounded on the belief that at high levels of disturbance species are at risk of going extinct. However, at low levels of disturbance to much interspecific competition occurs resulting in a dominant group member taking over other others.
The composition of the forest in SE PA and Mid Atlantic is regions prior to the arrival of the settlers was extremely different than was it is today. During this time period, the main types of trees in the area were oak, pine, and cedar trees. However, the types of trees in this forest region have changed substantially since this time period. Today, the trees in the region are only a small reflection of the historical situation in the area. The forest undoubtedly changed because of strong settlement in the region and the introduction of new organisms into this environment. Now the main trees in the area are Sugar Maple, Maple, Black Gum, and American Beech Trees.
As a means of gaining a greater understanding of biodiversity in the region, a comprehensive investigation into the various forms of organisms existing in the area as well as their forms of interaction was undertaken. Specifically, the observational analysis took place in Bellevue State Park in Wilmington Delaware and Bringhusrt Park, which is near Bellevue. These parks were particularly important areas of consideration for their being preserved by the state government, thus providing a rich area for the observation of biodiversity. After arriving at each site, we split into groups, with each group deciding on an area that they wanted to work in. These areas were then marked off with a 10×10 meter plot. This involved using a measuring tape and marking each corner with a flag. Samples were then taken from the soil by placing these samples into a pot. This pot was then later analyzed intensively to gain a greater understanding of the biodiversity contained therein. Tree samples were also something that was analyzed. Such samples were located through taking leaves of trees in each area that was designated for each group team. Subsequently groups took analyzed these tree samples to gain a greater understanding of the tree diversity in the area.
In the Bringhust location, the most prominent organism was ants (2). Also observed in this area were bed bug, millipede, darkling beetle, and yellow meadow ant. In regards to trees, this location contained hornbeam trees (9), species 5 (5), swamp white oak (2), pignut hickory (5), and bitternut hickory (5). In the Bellevue location, a large array of organisms were identified. The most prominent of these organisms were yellow meadow ants (9), slugs (4), and earthworms (4). A multitude of other organisms were also identified in smaller numbers. In regards to trees, this location exhibited American Beech (5), species 1 (5), species 2 (3), species 3 (3), and species 4 (3).
- Adler, F. R., & Tanner, C. J. (2013). Urban ecosystems: ecological principles for the built environment. Cambridge University Press.
- Forest Habitat | Habitats | WWF. (2016). World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 1 November 2016, from http://www.worldwildlife.org/
- What is Biodiversity? – National Wildlife Federation. (2016). Nwf.org. Retrieved 1 November 2016, from http://www.nwf.org
- Why Conserve Small Forest Fragments and Individual Trees in Urban Areas?. (2016). Thenatureofcities.com. Retrieved 1 November 2016, from http://www.thenatureofcities.com/
- Why Measure Biodiversity?. (2016). Webpages.uidaho.edu. Retrieved 1 November 2016, from http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/