Friday, November 26, 2010

Why is the Forest? by Group 2

What differences between the forest and grassland areas in Nosehill allow the forest to exist?

Due to the large area covered by Nosehill, the terrain from one section can differ greatly from that of another.  This allows many different ecosystems to exist.  Our focus would be on the forest area within Nosehill.  Though the forest area appears to be very similar to the rest of Nosehill at first glance, many differences exist to allow the forest to strive.  The differences that will be compared will be mainly focused on soil contents and pH levels.  Soil samples were collected at the edge of the forest, 10 metres into the forest, and in the grasslands.  1.00 gram of soil was then taken and mixed with 100mL of diluted water.

The soil content is very useful in the identification of possible reasons to why the forest only exists in one area.  Ammonia in soil can cause the soil to acidify.  A test showed that the Ammonia contents were the lowest at the edge of the forest with a 0.3mg/L.  However, results show that it was the most acidic with a pH of 5.5.  The Ammonia contents was much higher in the grassland and 10 metres into the forest with 0.9mg/L and 0.6mg/L respectively, but the pH at both of these two locations were only 6.

Phosphate is essential in the growth of plants.  The Phosphate contents both inside the forest and at the edge were 1.00mg/L.  The Phosphate content in the grassland area was close to doubling that amount with 1.75mg/L.  This is to be expected because trees require much more phosphate than the low shrubs and grasses that grows in the grassland.  If the consumption of the Phosphate was taken into consideration, the Phosphate reserve in the forest should much higher than that of the grassland. 

Calcium exists in adequate amounts in most soils.  It is also essential to plants as it is the substance which is responsible for Nitrate uptake and metabolism, enzyme activity, as well as various other functions within the plant.  Inside and at the edge of the forest, Calcium contents exist at the level of 300mg/L and 400mg/L respectively.  The Calcium contents in the grassland showed similar relative ratio as Phosphate, with a level of 1080mg/L.  Once again, this did not come as a surprise because of the same reason as Phosphate.

Nitrate is another substance which is essential for plant growth because it is a basic component in proteins.  Nitrate, nitrite, amides, free amino acids and small peptides make up the most of the part of the Nitrate in the plants which does not form into proteins.  The Nitrate contents at both inside and edge of the forest were surprisingly low with 0.0mg/L in both areas.  The content level was slightly higher in the grassland with 10mg/L.

Iron is a micro nutrient for plant, this means that although it is required by the plants, it is only in small amounts.  The iron contents were quite low in all three areas.  It is only 0.1mg/L inside the forest and at the grassland.  It is 0.0mg/L at the edge of the forest.

Some other observations made inside the forest area include, species of snowberry shrubs can be found at about a 28/m² density.  Grasses can be found at about a 320/m² density.  Aspen trees can be found at about a 1/m² density. Saplings of Aspen trees can found at about a 0.8/m² density.  From that information, it can be concluded that the forest area is currently at the stage between Shrubland and Young forest in the Succession progress.  The area was also in a sheltered dip between two hills.  Little to no wind is found within and around the area.  Because of these factors, it can be concluded that almost no erosion occurred to the soil in that area.  High levels of moisture are also found within the forest area.  However, this may be caused by weather conditions.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.