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Canopy (biology)

In biology, the canopy is the aboveground portion of a plant community or

crop, formed by the collection of individual plant crowns.[1][2][3]

In forest ecology, canopy also refers to the upper layer or habitat zone, formed
by mature tree crowns and including other biological organisms (epiphytes,
lianas, arboreal animals, etc.).[4]

Sometimes the term canopy is used to refer to the extent of the outer layer of
leaves of an individual tree or group of trees. Shade trees normally have a A canopy of a forest in Sabah,
dense canopy that blocks light from lower growing plants. Malaysia

Canopy structure
Canopy layer of forests
See also
Further reading
External links
Canopy of a forest

Canopy structure
Canopy structure is the organization or spatial arrangement (three-
dimensional geometry) of a plant canopy. Leaf Area Index (LAI), leaf area per
unit ground area, is a key measure used to understand and compare plant
canopies. It is also taller than the understory layer.

Canopy layer of forests

Dominant and co-dominant canopy trees form the uneven canopy layer. Bamboo Canopy in the Western
Canopy trees are able to photosynthesize relatively rapidly due to abundant Ghats of India
light, so it supports the majority of primary productivity in forests. The canopy
layer provides protection from strong winds and storms, while also
intercepting sunlight and precipitation, leading to a relatively sparsely vegetated understory layer.

Forest canopies are home to unique flora and fauna not found in other layers of forests. The highest terrestrial biodiversity
resides in the canopy of tropical rainforests.[5] Many rainforest animals have evolved to live solely in the canopy, and never
touch the ground.
The canopy of a rainforest is typically about 10m thick, and intercepts around
95% of sunlight.[6] The canopy is below the emergent layer, a sparse layer of
very tall trees, typically one or two per hectare. With an abundance of water
and a near ideal temperature in rainforests, light and nutrients are two factors
that limit tree growth from the understory to the canopy.

In the permaculture and forest gardening community, the canopy is the

highest of seven layers.
A Monkey Ladder Vine canopy over
a road
See also
Canopy (grape)
Canopy research
Canopy walkway
Hemispherical photography
Stratification (vegetation)
Treefall gap
Crown shyness
Tropical forest
size-asymmetric competition

1. Campbell, G.S., and J.M. Norman. 1990. The description and measurement of plant canopy structure. pp. 1-19 In:
Russell, G., B. Marshall, and P.G. Jarvis (editors). Plant Canopies: Their Growth, Form and Function. Cambridge
University Press.
2. Moffett, M.W. 2000. What's up? A critical look at the basic terms of canopy biology. Biotropica 32:569-596.
3. Hay, R., and R. Porter. 2006 Physiology of Crop Yield (Second edition). Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 1-4051-0859-2,
ISBN 978-1-4051-0859-1
4. Parker, G.G. 1995. Structure and microclimate of forest canopies. pp. 73-106 In: Lowman, M.D. and N.M. Nadkarni
(editors). Forest Canopies. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
5. Lowman, M.D. and M.W. Moffett. 1993. The ecology of tropical rain forest canopies. Trees 8:104-107.
6. "Light in the Rain Forest" ( Retrieved
23 November 2015.

Further reading
Lowman, M.D., and H.B. Rinker (editors). 2004. Forest Canopies (Second edition). Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-
457553-6, ISBN 978-0-12-457553-0
Moffett, M.W. 1994. The High Frontier: Exploring the Tropical Rainforest Canopy. Harvard University Press,
Cambridge, MA.
Russell, G., B. Marshall, and P.G. Jarvis (editors). 1990. Plant Canopies: Their Growth, Form and Function.
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-39563-1, ISBN 978-0-521-39563-2

External links
International Canopy Access Network (
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