The forest floor, also called detritus, duff and the O horizon, is one of the most distinctive features of a forest ecosystem. It mainly consists of shed vegetative parts, such as leaves, branches, bark, and stems, existing in various stages of decomposition above the soil surface. Although principally composed of non-living organic material, the forest floor also teems with a wide variety of fauna and flora. It is one of the richest components of the ecosystem from the standpoint of biodiversity because of the large number of decomposers and predators present, mostly belonging to invertebrates, fungi, algae, bacteria, and archaea. Certain (adapted) plants may be more apparent in tropical forests, where rates of metabolism and species diversity are much higher than in colder climates.
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