overstory

[oh-ver-stawr-ee, -stohr-ee]
noun, plural overstories.
the uppermost layer of foliage in a forest, forming the canopy.

Origin:
1480–90, for an earlier sense; 1955–60 for current sense; over- + story2

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Often, development will remove all of the layers of vegetation except for the
  overstory trees.
Bryophyte cover was strongly affected with a nearly linear decline in relation
  to overstory cover reductions.
The primary overstory species are red oak, white oak, and hickory.
The overstory varies from moderately open to closed.
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