Wild stands of trees do not consist of a single canopy layer. Instead natural forests are composed of different species utilizing different levels of sunlight at as it filters through the canopy layers. Upper canopy trees such chestnuts, oaks, and maples utilize full sunlight. Underneath the upper canopy one finds vines, shrubs, and herbaceous plants growing in the different levels of shade. Plants composition also differs in regard to position in relation to forest or system edge. Wind, temperature, and light all vary more at a system’s edge making it a different habitat element.
The multiple canopy ecosystem structure is the product of time, stochastic events, competition, and other factors producing a species composition poised to efficiently collect natural resources and produce a sustainable yield. Modeling nature’s efficiency in niche partitioning we can greatly enhance sunlight and other resource accumulation and recycling.
It should also be noted that below the soil is another layer of niche stratification. In regard to both nutrients and water plant’s take different approaches to gathering resources that ensures individual survival and results in tremendous systems efficiency.