Forest Floor

2007, Oil paint and alkyd on canvas over panel

Forest Floor shows a stream habitat. In general, the soil in an environment such as the one pictured here—the floor of a mature rainforest—is shallow and nutrient poor, its minerals washed away by an annual rainfall of between 75 and 225 inches. A host of nearly invisible decomposers, including springtails, nematodes, tardigrades, bacteria, and fungi, breaks down fallen leaves, branches, and other plant detritus; the usable nutrients produced by their activities are promptly taken up again by vegetation.