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The Forest Community

 

 

As mentioned, within forest ecosystems a large number of specific units are constantly interacting.  Just imagine a few.  Within trees you have insects making their homes.  Sometimes the trees actually are the food for the insects. 

These aphids are feeding on sugars in the phloem.  The ants actually "milk" the aphids for a sugary food.
 
Gypsy moth laying eggs
 
Gypsy moth caterpillar

 

 

Some insects may defoliate the trees completely.  Trees may actually die.  However, the ecosystem responds in other ways.  For example, now more light is reaching the forest floor.  This may allow new plant and tree species to grow starting a whole new forest. 

The gypsy moth is a major defoliator of trees over an increasing area in the eastern United States.  Severe gypsy moth outbreaks can defoliate large areas as seen in the picture below.  Trees that survive are more prone to  diseases and environmental conditions such as drought.  The gypsy moth is not native to the United States.  It is one of many non-native insect pests and diseases that have been brought here from other countries.  Foresters are working with other scientists to slow the spread of gypsy moth to prevent damage to forests. Learn more about gypsy moths.

Trees defoliated by gypsy moths

 

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