Harmless and Harmful Creatures – Foresters.

Who lives in the forest?

A forest is a large area of land covered with trees. Forests can be classified into many types, some of which are the mixed temperate forests with both coniferous and deciduous trees, the temperate forests with both coniferous and deciduous trees, the temperate forests, the subtropical forests, the tropical forests and the equatorial rain forests. The trees that make up the forest create a special environment which, in turn, affects the kinds of animals and plants that can exist in the forest. Large and small animals such as the stags, deer, wild boars, foxes, badgers, marten, and squirrels live in the forests.

What does a forester do?

A forester takes care of the forest and ensures that it remains healthy. He plants new trees and removes the sick ones and the ones that are growing too close to each other. He maintains the forest paths, sets up benches for the wanderers, and decides which trees have to be cut for their wood and which for the paper industry. Forest management objectives include direct extraction of raw material, outdoor recreation, conservation, hunting and aesthetics. Emerging management practices include managing forest lands for biodiversity, carbon sequestration and air quality.

What is the difference between a stag and a deer?

It is easy to distinguish between the large fallow deer, the red deer, and the small deer. The male red deer has royal antlers with several ends, while a roebuck (male roe deer) has only one small horn. The small deer, red deer, and fallow deer belong to the biological family of the stag, which also includes the moose and the reindeers. The small deer, weighing about 15 kg, are the most frequently seen today. They live in the area between forest and arable land. The female doe can give birth to two to three fawns, which bear three long series of white spots on the back. Red deer weigh up to 150 kg and prefer to live in forest clearings. The hinds (female red deer) can give birth to a maximum of one calf in a year.

Why are mixed forests healthier than coniferous forests?

The purely coniferous man-made forests of Middle Europe grow mainly spruces for the wood industry. These shallow-rooted plants fall over easily in strong storms and are prone to harmful creatures like the destructive bark beetle. The low level of sunlight in the spruce forest does not allow small shrubs to grow on the forest floor. On the other hand, such an undergrowth is found in plenty in the mixed forests. The deciduous trees in the mixed forests allow sunlight to reach the ground so that water-storing moss and berry shrubs can sprout. This attracts the animals that live on beechnuts, berries, and acorns. The deep-rooted deciduous trees also protect the forest against storms.

Why do we need to protect ourselves against ticks?

Ticks transmit dangerous diseases so we should be on the look out for them while walking in the forest or in a large field. If they have bitten and are still attached to the blood in the skin, they should be removed carefully by forceps. The ticks release food remains in the blood of the ‘host’ when they bite. Sometimes disease-causing germs are transferred to our blood in this way. Ticks are responsible for many diseases such as Lyme disease, Colorado tick fever, tularemia, tick-borne relapsing fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, tick-borne meningoencephalitis, and bovine anaplasmosis.

How do forest ants live?

Most of the forest ants build hills at sunny forest edges from needles, twigs and moss. The well-organized huge colonies of ants are called ‘hills’. Several hundred queens live with their ‘community’ in these hills. The ants divide the work among themselves. While the queens lay eggs, the soldier ants must provide protection for the eggs and the worker ants get food for the larvae. In the month of June, the winged male and female ants hatch. The males die after the nuptial flight. The impregnated young queens look for a new ground or return to the old one to lay eggs.

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