Habitats: Forest-floor

Geetha Iyer
When we think of forests, we think it is made up of only trees of different kinds. But, in actuality, the forest ecosystem is much more than just trees. Forests are also habitats for a host of other species of plants along with animals and microorganisms. This article dwells on some habitats within the forests that have a significant role to play in harbouring diversity.

Forests – an introduction

Geetha Iyer
When we think of forests, the mind’s eye conjures up a lush green world, where the Panchatantra tales played out, where animals rule, where there is a little bit of mystery but mostly magic. But forests lose all their charm in school, where children learn about different types of forests from their definitions. If we want our children to care for forests and think about their conservation, we need to bring back that charm of the forests. Here are some interesting ways of teaching forests.

Ocean’s deep dark zone – Benthos

Geetha Iyer
Even as man’s knowledge of outer space increases by the day and his search for extra-terrestrial life continues unabated, he remains ignorant of the myriad life forms flourishing right in his backyard. Our knowledge of the deepest parts of our oceans is still nascent but let us share it widely, especially with our children, so that we can help conserve oceans.

Life in the oceans-Planktons

Geetha Iyer
In the second part of the article on Oceans, we look at life in the oceans and how they survive the various forces. Life in the oceans is governed by two factors – the presence or absence of light and the pressure exerted by water at various depths.

Understanding oceans

Geetha Iyer
Recently the international community agreed to the presence of a fifth ocean in the world–the Southern Ocean. The oceans and the life systems within them are directly and indirectly linked with our lives. It is important to understand the role that the oceans play in sustaining the earth as global warming is equally affecting our oceans and the lives within them. As a first step towards understanding oceans here are the characteristics that make an ocean.

The Intertidal zone – Rocky shores

Geetha Iyer
This article is about rocky shores, another habitat in the intertidal zone. As the name suggests, there are plenty of solid rocks here and the rocky shores are so rich in diversity that one can find the presence of several organisms. Read on to know more.

The Intertidal zone: Sandy beaches

Geetha Iyer
When we talk of oceans, we think of seas and the seashore. The shores of the seas are where the land meets the water of the ocean. This region is known as the intertidal zone and an incredible variety of organisms live in this zone. The region is a mix of different habitats and this article deals with sandy beaches. Read on to know more.

Ponds – A multipurpose habitat

Geetha Iyer
Ponds are a familiar structure to all and need no specific introduction. But their familiarity is also a reason for their destruction. People tend to take them for granted and that is the sad story of water pollution. This month’s column explores these multipurpose habitats.

Salt pans – a human-made wetland of significance

Geetha Iyer
It is not always that human activity destroys nature. Once in a while, they also contribute to its biodiversity. Man-made salt pans not only produce a nutrient that humans most need to survive, but they have also become places for several birds and mirco-organisms to flourish. These habitats too are under threat and we need to conserve them.

Mangroves: a national wealth

Geetha Iyer
Mangrove forests are a national wealth. They protect coastal areas from natural disasters, provide food for their inhabitants, are home to a variety of wildlife, provide a safe breeding ground for many species of fish, sustain livelihoods and are now also a popular tourist destination. When this rich and vibrant habitat gives us so much, the least we can do is to protect and conserve it.