Thursday, November 25, 2010

Forest Health by Gregory, Stephanie, Stanley, Mariam, Craig, Joy

Figure 1.  An owl in the forest.
How do you determine if something is “healthy”? There are many different tests that can be done to figure out if something is healthy. What we decided what the term “healthy” means a balanced concentration of the essential nutrients in the soil. We tested for some of these in our soil sample that was from a deciduous forest. Though there are over twenty six different nutrients that plants need for proper growth we could only test for five of these. The five that we tested for were phosphate, ammonia, nitrate, calcium, iron. We tested for one more things on top of the other five, which was PH. PH, is very important in the soil because it tells us whether there is a lot of macro of micronutrients. We tested two different deciduous forests and have determined that the one in Edgemont community has nutrient levels that are suitable and healthy for Calgary. The other forest that we took samples from was a municipal park in Calgary called Nose Hill. We are comparing Nose Hills’ soil to that of which of our control and healthy forest in Edgemont.

Nutrient Name
Nose Hill
0.50 mg/L
0.25 mg/L
Is needed for the conversion of light energy to ATP energy during photosynthesis
0.50 mg/L
0.75 mg/L
Is from the decay of died plants and animals
0.00 mg/L
0.25 mg/L
Is a necessity for the construction of proteins, enzymes and metabolic processes 
20 ppm
20 ppm
Maintains plants cell wall structure
0.10 mg/L
0.10 mg/L
Needed of the formation of chlorophyll
Low Ph means low macronutrients

          Table 1. Concentration and use of the nutrients we tested for.

            What we can conclude from the table is that nose hill is relatively healthy compared to the one of Edgemont. As you can see above the phosphate concentration of Nose Hill is double of that of Edgemont. The ammonia and nitrate concentration of the soil can tell us a lot about the forest characteristics. In the nitrogen cycle ammonia comes from decaying plants and animals and small bacteria then change the ammonia compound into something called nitrate which is then able to go into the plants. So from the data we collected we can infer that the Edgemont forest has more organism activity than that of Nose Hill. Finally the Ph difference between the two forests is 0.5; this difference explains the variation of macronutrients concentration, such as nitrate and phosphate, in the soil. As a result of this information we have concluded that the forest of Nose hill park is suffering from a lack of organism density thus making it less healthy when compared to that of Edgemont forest.

Agro Services International Inc. (n.d.). What Nutrients Do Plants Need? In Agro Services
     International Inc. [Sampling soil and water]. Retrieved from

This website is fairly good because it is from a reliable corporation that specializes in analyzing soil and water samples, but the layout of the website seems juvenile

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