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biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
, the canopy is the aboveground portion of a plant croping or
crop A crop is a plant that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crops may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state. Most crops are cultivated in agriculture Agriculture is th ...

crop
, formed by the collection of individual plant crowns. In
forest ecology Forest ecology is the scientific study of the interrelated patterns, processes, flora Flora is all the plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transfo ...
, canopy also refers to the upper layer or
habitat In ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Ecology considers at the ...

habitat
zone, formed by mature
tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including only wood plants with se ...

tree
crowns and including other biological organisms (
epiphyte An epiphyte is an organism that grows on the surface of a plant and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, water (in marine environments) or from debris accumulating around it. Epiphytes take part in nutrient cycles and add to both ...

epiphyte
s,
liana A liana is a long-stemmed, woody vine A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communic ...

liana
s, arboreal animals, etc.). Sometimes the term canopy is used to refer to the extent of the outer layer of leaves of an individual tree or group of trees.
Shade tree A shade tree is a large tree whose primary role is to provide shade in the surrounding environment due to its spreading canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * ...
s normally have a dense canopy that blocks light from lower growing plants.


Observation

Early observations of canopies were made from the ground using binoculars or by examining fallen material. Researchers would sometimes erroneously rely on extrapolation by using more reachable samples taken from the
understory In forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elonga ...
. In some cases, they would use unconventional methods such as chairs suspended on
vines A vine (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...

vines
or hot-air dirigibles, among others. Modern technology, including adapted
mountaineering Mountaineering, or alpinism, is the set of outdoor activities Outdoor recreation or outdoor activity refers to recreation Recreation is an activity of leisure, leisure being discretionary time. The "need to do something for recreation" is a ...

mountaineering
gear, has made canopy observation significantly easier and more accurate, allowed for longer and more collaborative work, and broadened the scope of canopy study.


Canopy structure

Canopy structure is the organization or spatial arrangement (three-dimensional geometry) of a plant canopy.
Leaf area index Leaf area index (LAI) is a dimensionless quantity In dimensional analysis In engineering and science, dimensional analysis is the analysis of the relationships between different physical quantities by identifying their base quantity, base quant ...
(LAI), leaf area per unit ground area, is a key measure used to understand and compare plant canopies. The canopy is taller than the
understory In forestry Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, planting, using, conserving and repairing forest A forest is an area of land dominated by tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elonga ...
layer. The canopy holds 90% of the animals in the rainforest. They cover vast distances and appear to be unbroken when observed from an airplane. However, despite overlapping tree branches, rainforest canopy trees rarely touch each other. Rather, they are usually separated by a few feet.


Canopy layer of forests

Dominant and co-dominant canopy trees form the uneven canopy layer. Canopy trees are able to
photosynthesize Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to convert Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ' ...

photosynthesize
relatively rapidly due to abundant light, so it supports the majority of primary productivity in forests. The canopy layer provides protection from strong winds and storms, while also intercepting sunlight and precipitation, leading to a relatively sparsely vegetated understory layer. Forest canopies are home to unique flora and fauna not found in other layers of forests. The highest terrestrial
biodiversity Biodiversity is the biological variety and Genetic variability, variability of life, life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the Genetics, genetic, species, and ecosystem level. Terrestrial biodiversity is usually greater near ...

biodiversity
resides in the canopy of
tropical rainforest Tropical rainforests are rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape ...

tropical rainforest
s. Many rainforest animals have evolved to live solely in the canopy, and never touch the ground. The canopy of a
rainforest Rainforests are characterized by a closed and continuous tree canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * Canopy (grape), aboveground portion of grapevine Religi ...

rainforest
is typically about 10m thick, and intercepts around 95% of sunlight. The canopy is below the
emergent layer
emergent layer
, a sparse layer of very tall trees, typically one or two per
hectare The hectare (; SI symbol: ha) is a non-SI metric unit of area Area is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms o ...

hectare
. With an abundance of water and a near ideal temperature in rainforests, light and nutrients are two factors that limit tree growth from the understory to the canopy. In the
permaculture Permaculture is an approach to land management and settlement design that adopts arrangements observed in flourishing natural ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with ...
and
forest gardening Forest gardening is a low-maintenance, Sustainable gardening, sustainable, plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and Nut (fruit), nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegeta ...
community, the canopy is the highest of seven layers. The canopy can get as high as 40meters with different animals.


See also

*
Canopy (grape) In viticulture Viticulture (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Thr ...
*
Canopy researchCanopy research is the field of scientific research The scientific method is an Empirical evidence, empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful ob ...
*
Canopy walkway Canopy walkways - also called canopy walks, treetop walks or treetop walkways - provide pedestrian access to a forest canopy Canopy may refer to: Plants * Canopy (biology), aboveground portion of plant community or crop (including forests) * C ...
*
Hemispherical photography Hemispherical photography, also known as canopy photography, is a technique to estimate solar radiation and characterize plant canopy geometry using photographs taken looking upward through an extreme wide-angle lens or a fisheye lens (Rich 1990). ...
*
Stratification (vegetation) Stratification in the field of ecology Ecology (from el, οἶκος, "house" and el, -λογία, label=none, "study of") is the study of the relationships between living organisms, including humans, and their physical environment. Topics o ...
*
Treefall gap A treefall gap is a distinguishable hole in a forest with vertical sides extending through all levels down to an average height of above ground. These holes occur as result of a fallen tree or large limb. The ecologist who developed this definit ...

Treefall gap
*
Wildfire A wildfire, bushfire, wildland fire or rural fire is an unplanned, unwanted, uncontrolled fire BBQ. Fire is the rapid oxidation of a material in the exothermic chemical process of combustion, releasing heat, light, and various reaction ...

Wildfire
*
Crown shyness Crown shyness (also ''canopy disengagement'', ''canopy shyness'', or ''intercrown spacing'') is a phenomenon observed in some tree species, in which the crowns '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of ...

Crown shyness
*
Tropical forest The tropics are the region of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% i ...

Tropical forest
*
Size-asymmetric competition Size-asymmetric competition refers to situations in which larger individuals exploit disproportionately greater amounts of resources A resource is a source or supply from which a benefit is produced and that has some utility. Resources can broadly ...


References


Further reading

* * * *


External links


International Canopy Access Network
{{Authority control Biology terminology Forest ecology Habitat Rainforests