The layers of the forest are comparable to the floors of a house:
Canopy layer – attic
The tops of the trees with their branches and twigs form the canopy of the forest. It protects against bad weather and strong sunlight. The height offers protection against robbers living on the ground. Many species of birds breed in the canopy layer. Small mammals, like the squirrel, raise their young there.
Tree layer – ground floor
Here, bird species like the European robin and the blue tit together with squirrels, dormice, martens, spiders, and hundreds of species of insects, are at home. Both the old and large trees as well as the young and small trees offer ideal niches for the diverse coexistence of forest dwellers.
Herbaceous and shrub layer – floor
Hedgehogs, wild boars, rabbits, deer, and we humans run over a carpet of leaves, grasses, herbs, and mosses. Spiders, snails, beetles, woodlice, frogs, toads and other animals live in hiding. The climbers among them even climb the bushes.
Root layer – basement
There are more organisms in a quart of forest floor than there are people on earth. In addition to the bacteria and fungi, mice, worms, ants and much more can be found here.
In the forest, plants form different areas of life, like the different stories of a house. Trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, and mosses form different layers, in which forest animals live. Some animals live in only one layer, such as the hedgehog and deer. Others use multiple layers, such as the fox and bank vole. Some you see only rarely because they live in the treetops. Most live on the forest floor, small, tiny, and by the thousands.
The bank vole builds its nest just below the surface of the forest floor. They feed on the herbaceous and shrub layers of buds, fruits, mushrooms, worms and insects. On the other hand, they find themselves also on the menus of foxes, tawny owl, and wild boar.
The next station is waiting for you.