12 julio, 2024

Forest plants: what they are and types

What are forest plants?

The forest plants They are those that are present in forests and have a predominance of trees, with the characteristic that they are not natural but planted by humans.

While a geometrically shaped forest monoculture of non-native species is an artificial plantation, there are many famous ancient forests in Europe that are nonetheless natural.

Examples include the New Forest in Great Britain, parts of the Black Forest in Germany, areas of the Forêt de Compiègne in France, and almost the entire forest in Denmark.

Broadly, there is no internationally agreed definition of plantation forests, although the term “planted forest” is now used to encompass forest types where the forest origin is known to be planting.

Between countries there are different degrees of management and different objectives for planted forests, such as obtaining raw materials (such as wood, resins, syrups, etc.).

However, planted forests are considered planted forests that still possess characteristics of uniformity, shape, and often management intensity that are easily distinguished from artificial plantations.

Types of forest plants

Among the trees of forest plantations we find timber and non-timber.

Mahogany

Mahogany has characteristics that distinguish it from other tropical hardwood trees. It has a long, neat trunk, sometimes reaching 18 to 24 meters in height.

Its gray-brown bark is quite smooth and grows in ridges or large single scales. In turn, the mahogany tree leaf is compound, similar to that of the hard nut.

The flower is very small, yellowish-red, and tulip-shaped. The seed grows upright inside a large woody capsule. Interestingly, these seeds are the same golden brown color as the aged mahogany.

Mahogany grows in quite specific climatic zones, which includes the intertropical zone of America.

In the American continent, mahogany extends from southern Mexico, northern Guatemala and Honduras, through Central America to northern Colombia and Venezuela.

There are other species, very similar to mahogany, that are native to Africa, but are not actually the same plant species. For convenience it is also called mahogany, and is produced in the Ivory Coast, Gold Coast and Nigeria and is found in West Africa and certain parts of East Africa.

Pine tree

From the coniferous family, pines are excellent forest plants due to the intensive use given to their wood: for interior furniture and medium-quality carpentry for both the exterior and interior of homes. For this reason, there are numerous pine plantations around the world.

They are needle-shaped evergreen, the trees are large and produce the characteristic «pine cones» where the seeds are.

Oak

Oak trees are hardy trees with very long lives, they can live up to 200 years or even more. One of the oldest oak trees on record was in Talbot County, Maryland, and is believed to be about 400 years old.

Mature trees can absorb almost 50 gallons of water on a daily basis through their root system and produce acorns starting in their 20s. However, oak trees produce more than 2,000 acorns each year, but only one in 10,000 acorns will make it to oak.

These types of trees are native to the northern hemisphere and can survive in a variety of forests, including those in temperate, Mediterranean, and tropical climates. Oak trees are prone to fungal diseases that can induce rot of the inner part of the plant.

Its wood is very strong and hard and is used in the manufacture of ships, furniture, floors and is also used in the manufacture of barrels for the storage of wine, whiskey, brandy and other liquors. In addition, it adds a special aroma to these drinks.

Poplar

It is a deciduous tree (which loses its leaves at one time of the year) with white or light gray bark. The species Populus alba abounds in the Iberian Peninsula. The poplar is fast growing and its wood is very resistant, which is why it has earned a well-deserved place among forest plants.

Although it supports cold and heat, it needs large amounts of water and the plantations must be located far from buildings, since its roots have a long reach. It is used both for furniture and for the manufacture of paper.

Cedar

Cedar is an evergreen tree that belongs to the pine family (the term “cedar” is sometimes used to describe more than 30 species of plants that belong to three different families: Pinaceae, Cupressaceae, and Meliaceae).

Cedar is native to the Himalayas and the Mediterranean region, but can be found in temperate climate zones throughout the world. People cultivate cedar because of its ornamental value and strong, durable, scented wood, which finds application in the construction and furniture industry.

This tree has dark gray or brown bark and produces two types of shoots: long and short. The cedar crown is usually pyramidal in shape and its leaves are covered with a thick layer of white wax that prevents water loss.

The color of the leaves depends on the thickness of the wax, and as a curiosity, this tree does not produce flowers. Cedar wood was widely used in the past for the manufacture of boxes, boats, tools, interior furniture, and weapons. It has a great resistance to insects.

The fragrant oil extracted from the heart of the cedar was used during the mummification process in ancient Egypt, and as a noteworthy fact, this tree can survive more than 2,000 years.

rubber tree

This non-timber tree produces a milky colored latex sap that can be recovered from the plant once it matures at an approximate age of 6 years. They are native to the tropical rainforest region of South America, as well as the tropical forests of Sumatra, Himalayas, India, Nepal, and Java.

The tree can reach 30 meters in height and the leaves of the gum tree are glossy, oval in shape and dark green. They can measure up to 35 centimeters long and up to 15.24 centimeters wide.

This tree grows quickly, and like most rainforest trees, it can reach full size in as little as 13 years. The tree grows best in full sunlight, and although it is best suited to the hot, humid climate of the rainforest, it can survive in extremely dry conditions.

Among other forest resources, rubber is obtained from the trunk of trees and is used for all types of rubber products. As a curiosity, the seeds are a source of oil for the manufacture of soaps.

However, in the last 50 years, these forest plantations have not always been established on land devoid of tree cover, at least in the last 50 years.

By the year 2050, the total area of ​​plantations is expected to exceed 200 million hectares, since due to their productivity, generally higher than in natural forests, forest plants can become the main source of wood products. Worldwide.

References

Wilson, T. (2015). History of Genuine Mahogany. Retrieved from greenworldlumber.com.
Softschools Editors (2016). Oak tree facts. Retrieved from softschools.com.
TROPICAL RAINFOREST FACTS (2016). Rubber Tree Facts. Retrieved from tropical-rainforest-facts.com.

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