A Walk in the Woods
A Walk in The Woods was developed by the University of Florida's School of Forest Resources & Conservation (SFRC) Extension Programs.
More information can be found here.
In this activity, students learn several basic concepts about forests including the definition of a forest, the factors that determine forest composition, the environmental requirements for tree growth and reproduction, and the effect of invasive exotic competition upon native species growth. A visual presentation and discussion introduce these concepts. A worksheet that includes map reading and graph work aids students in visualizing and applying concepts.
The map simulates distribution, composition, and transition of trees in some of the natural ecosystems in Florida. Students are introduced to some of the native tree species from these microhabitats and to a common invasive exotic tree that can establish itself in a native habitat under the right environmental conditions. The graph juxtaposes the rate of growth of the invasive exotic versus a native tree species. The wrap-up discussion that follows addresses the significance of the concept outlined in the graph—the immediate effects of competition between a native and exotic invasive for the same resources as well as the potential result of such competition on overall forest composition and, subsequently, forest health.
Please note all credits go to by the University of Florida's School of Forest Resources & Conservation (SFRC) Extension Programs. Plant Heroes did not create any of the materials shared here.