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Plants, Soil, and Fungi


One of the most active parts in a forest takes place in the soil where insects and other small invertebrate animals start to decompose fallen leaves, branches and animal remains. Fungi and bacteria complete the decay processes that return nitrogen, phosphorus and trace minerals to the soil to be taken up by roots and once again incorporated into living plants. These nutrient cycles support all the plants and animals of the forests and other natural areas.


Fungi play another vital role in the forest as symbiotic (sym -together, bios – living) partners of roots. Certain types of fungi are incorporated into the structure of roots and help them take up nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate. In return, the host plant supplies the fungus with carbohydrates (sugars and starches).


When speaking of fungi, there are a couple of critical things to note. First, plants and fungi form […]