What is a Forest?

A forest is a diverse group of woody perennial species with other types of plants such as vines, epiphytes, ferns, mosses, lichens, grasses, forbs, and an incredibly rich mix of fungus. A forest is powered by rain, fungal rich soil, and sunlight. Species find their niche in a forest, which is a place of competition between species for resources, as well as more positive interactions in synergy. The play between species, and the ability of forests to shape their own micro-climates, makes forests some of the most productive biomes on the planet.

Generally, Forest is defined as ‘a large uncultivated tract of land covered with trees and other vegetation such as herbs and shrubs, growing more or less closely together along with animals- minute and large in size’. Biologically, forest is a community of plants and animals dominated by trees. From silviculture or management point of view, forest is defined as an area managed for the productions of timber and other forest produces or for recreation purposes or for protection of a watershed. Ecologically, forest is a biological community of plants and animals existing in a complex interaction with non-living environment, such as soil, climate and physiographic condition.

Forests play a vital role in sustaining the life forms and atmosphere of our planet. Forests provide a habitat for all the living things contained within them. Apart from trees, the forest is also made up of soil, water, other plants, animals, birds and insects. Many of these living things are dependent on other living things within the forest for their survival.

Forests are an integral part of nutrient cycles in our environment, ensuring that water, minerals, gases and trace elements stored in vegetation and the soil are recycled to maintain soil fertility. Forests play an important role in gas exchange (e.g. carbon, nitrogen and oxygen cycles) in our environment. Gas exchange cycles are crucial to the maintenance of our atmosphere.

How many trees are required to make forest?

The living parts of a forest include trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants, mosses, algae, fungi, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and microorganisms living on the plants and animals and in the soil.

These interact with one another and with the non-living part of the environment - including the soil, water, and minerals, to make up what we know as a forest.

Forests (according to the U.S. National Vegetation Classification system) consist of trees with overlapping crowns forming 60% to 100% cover. Woodlands are more open, with 25% to 60% cover.
Other classification systems recognize savannas, as having widely spaced trees with anywhere from a minimum of 5 - 10 % cover to a maximum of 25 - 20% cover.

What are forest resources?

Forest resources are basically categorized into three. Non-wood forest product such as herbs, animals, leaf etc, woody forest products such as the timber used for various purpose and also the environmental service functions such carbon sequestration, air purification, weather control, watershed management, biodiversity conversation and other intangible benefit that can't be capture physically but is essential to the balance of the ecosystem.

Classification of forest:

Forest is three types and these are (1) Evergreen forest, (2) Semi-evergreen forest and (3) Deciduous forest

Evergreen forest:

An evergreen forest is a forest which remains green throughout the year. The trees lose their leaves continuously throughout the year, old leaves are shed at the same time new leaves are borne. There is not a particular season when trees lose all their leaves altogether which happens in deciduous forests in which trees starts losing all its leaves in a particular Season called autumn or fall in temperate deciduous forests and dry season in tropical deciduous forests. In evergreen forests individual leaves fall irrespective of other leaves in the tree as they get old. Evergreen forest are of two types- tropical broad-leaf evergreen forests occurring in tropical latitudes where rainfall occurs throughout the year and temperate evergreen forest occurring at upper temperate latitudes just below arctic circle consisting of coniferous trees with needle like leaves. Temperate evergreen forests are also called arboreal forests or taiga. Some temperate evergreen forests also occur at higher elevations of some mountain chains like Alps, Himalayas, and Rockies etc. They consist of trees like cedar, spruce, larch, fir, cypress, junipers etc.

Semi-evergreen forest:

Semi-evergreen seasonal tropical forest a distinct formation type, dominated by both evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved trees, flanking the rain forest in areas that have a marked dry season. Examples are found on all the continents with tropical territory, but are especially extensive in central and S. America, south-eastern Asia, and northern Australia. In Africa, Savannah and related types of vegetation seem to have replaced much of this kind of forest.

Deciduous forest:

It means forest that has trees with leaves (like birch) which drop the leaves in the autumn to preserve energy in the winter since they don’t get any sun. In the spring they grow new leaves. So would think these are probably mostly in the regions near the arctic circle, like Finland (where I live). But not all trees in here do that, the conifers (pine and spruce) keep the “leaves” (if they can be called that) even in the winter time. Usually the forests in here are mixed type, although some areas might have only one type, but that’s mostly because of trees cut down. Birch grows much faster, so those are often cut down at early stage to allow more room for pines to grow. In here we also plant the same we cut down and open harvests are not that common although that happens also. The smart way is to cut down the largest trees and have smaller trees grow between them which can then cut down when it’s their turn and then there are already nice young trees growing on the place where the first cut trees existed. We also leave some old died trees intact in the forests, since those are home for some birds.

Based on age:

Even aged forest- A forest stand consists of trees, essentially of the same age is known as even aged forest. 

Uneven aged forest- A forest stand having trees of all ages ranging from small seedlings to mature trees is termed as uneven aged forest.

Based on Composition of Species:

Pure forest of monoculture- This forest is mainly composed of one species. It is found in artificial forest planted with one species. For example, teak forest, sal forest etc. 

Mixed forest- When in an area two or more species are planted is called mixed forest. It is also called natural forest.

Based on mode of regeneration:

High forest- Seed origin natural and undisturbed closed forest with high canopy is sometimes called high forest. 

Coppice forest- A forest originated from coppice shoots or root suckers is known as coppice forest. Sal forest is called one type of coppice forest.

Based on management objectives:

Productive forest- A forest managed primarily for maximum production of timber, fuel wood, pulpwood etc. is termed as productive forest. 

Protection forest- A forest managed primarily for control of soil erosion and watershed, control of river bank erosion is termed as protection forest. 

Recreational forest- This forest is managed with the aim of recreation and tourism as well as for wildlife conservation.

Based on biotic interference:

Virgin forest- Natural forest which is undisturbed by any form of biotic agent, termed as virgin forest. 

Disturbed forest- Natural forest which is disturbed by fire, felling of trees and other causes, termed as disturbed forest. 

Legal classification of forest:

Reserved forest- These are government forests. In such forests everything is prohibited unless permitted. Peoples have no right in these forests. 

Protected forests- These are also government forests. In such forests everything is permitted unless prohibited. Peoples have some right on these forests. 

Acquired forests- Previously these forests were under Zaminders, but in the early 1950s, government took responsibilities of such forest from the owners under State Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950. 

Vested forests- The ownership of these forests remains private. But according to Private Forest Ordinance, 1950, property of the forests is non-retainable as in agriculture land. The control of these forests has been vested in a divisional Forest Officer. The benefits shared between the two. 

Homestead forests- These are privately owned trees around homesteads in the rural areas throughout Bangladesh. These are entirely private properties.

Differences between a jungle and a forest:

The biggest difference is that most temperate forests lose their leaves in winter. Jungles lose their leaves all year round. On the ground jungles and forests are pretty similar - depending on the trees etc. There's lots of shade, clearings, leaf mulch and dead trees and branches.


Forest is a general term to refer to a large area covered with trees and other woody vegetation’s. It is a complex eco-system that is distributed across the globe. The term forest can be categorized into different types according to geographical location, climate, and other characteristics. Given below are some of these categories.

Tropical rainforests – Tropical rainforests are located near the equator; thus they experience high temperatures and abundant rainfall. These are very dense, abundant forest with canopies that prevent sunlight from reaching the floor of the forest.

Coniferous forests – These forests are made up primarily of cone-bearing or coniferous trees. Coniferous forests are found mainly in the northern hemisphere, and the trees are adapted to long winters.

Deciduous forest – This type of forests can be found in many parts of the world including North America, Europe, New- Zealand, Australia, and Asia. These forests go through the seasonal changes, and the trees are specially adapted to withstand extreme weather conditions.


A jungle is a land covered with impenetrable vegetation dominated by trees. The term jungle comes from Sanskrit word jangala. This word came to be known in English during the British colonial period. The term jungle was first used to describe the tropical forests in the Indian subcontinent. Thus, Jungle is particularly associated with tropical situations and the most corresponding scientific term for jungle would be monsoon and tropical seasonal forest.

Jungle is an area covered with tangled vegetation at ground level, especially in the tropics. Such vegetation is so dense that it hinders the movements by humans. It is important to know that jungle is not equivalent to a rainforest though many people think that these two words are synonyms. Unlike in a jungle, the ground level of a rainforest is open of vegetation due to lack of sunlight. However, jungles can exist at the border of or within rainforests. If the vegetation of the rainforest is destroyed due to a natural course such as floods, hurricane, etc. or through some human activities, the new vegetation that comes up is dense and impenetrable. This is called a jungle. This vegetation grows so thick and impenetrable due to the availability of light at ground.

The jungle is a common word used for tropical rainforests. Hence, any jungle on earth, such as the world-famous Amazon rainforest or the unknown jungles of Mosquitia (Honduras), is a forest, meaning a dense collection of trees and other woody vegetation covering a relatively large area.

However, not every forest is a jungle, for the word “jungle”, which originates from the Hindi word jungli, is meant to signify a land covered with impenetrable vegetation dominated by trees, very much like the tropical rainforests from the Equator, or even any other wild, uninhabited place such as a savanna or a desert. Not to mention that the term “forest” can be categorized into different types (coniferous, evergreen, deciduous, broadleaf) according to geographical location, climate, and other characteristics.

Hence, there’s a huge difference between a jungle and a forest. But despite said difference, both ecoregions are natural wonders that pump out the vital oxygen we need to live, absorb the CO2 we exhale in return, host a wide variety of biodiversity, clean up dirty air, and act as shades from the sun.

What will happen if the forests on earth destroyed?

If forests are destroyed, animals and other creatures of the forests will come out to human settlements searching for a place to stay. They will be killed more and more by humans.

Environment goes into an imbalance. Humans will start fighting each other for wood and other plant materials. We will end up destroying each other for forest areas.

Slowly, the Carbon dioxide levels rise all over the world. Rains will become scarce, heat level in the world will increase to very high levels and soon a lot of places will become arid and dry. 

The snow clad peaks of mountains, frozen rivers and the ice at the poles will all melt at a rapid pace.

The sea levels will rise due to this and a lot of places will go underwater. The heat will start to evaporate the water and it will make Earth totally uninhabitable.

How are forests useful to man?

Aside from the industrial aspects like certain timber monopolies and jobs, there are more personal uses for forests.

Trees produce oxygen, which of course we have everywhere, but it is much cleaner and fresher in forests.

Talking a walk in a forest can relieve stress. It can relax your mind and is a calming environment outside of busy cities.

Many people live in forests, there is an abundance of natural resources capable of sustaining homes in the forest. Fresh water, fertile soil, wood, etc.

They prevent flooding. One of the main issues with deforestation is the drastic change in environment. Without roots soaking up rainwater, nearby areas would flood and cause water damage?

You can sell the plants and animals. From berries and nuts to deer and birds, people can make a living off of hunting and gathering what lives around them.

They are beautiful. If you are not looking to just admire them yourself, consider who would. Houses sell for more when they are near a beautiful landscape. Photographers capture amazing shots of nature. Tourist attractions and all of that.

Wildlife habitats. Even if it does not benefit man as much, forests still houses hundreds of species of plants and animals who really need forests to survive.

Forests were born before man. The chain of evolution started from wild animals and then domesticated animals. Wild plants were initially used as source for human food. Later these plants were systematically cultivated by man, by artificially growing them in gardening, providing water and manure, and allowing plebty of sunshine and fresh air. These changes modified the plants and became the new source of food for the men and their pet animals.

Most plants which are in domestic use have their wild varieties, which ca cure any disease that the cultivated plants may catch.Similarly, if any domesticate danimals become extinct, we can re-create then by domesticating the original wild animals. Thus we are a in a symbiotic relationship with the Forests.

In addition to the above, Forests serve to capture rain from passing clouds, maintain atmospheric heat in balance and also provide moisture in the air through leaves respiring moisture.

Why must we conserve our forests?

Forests are the 'lungs ' of the earth because they supply oxygen to the atmosphere they are rich in flora and funna form the home of rare species of plants and animals.

Trees and forests have always been a life support system, not only for humans, but also for wild and domesticated plants and animals. Trees and forests protect the land from erosion. They protect homes, farms, and coastlines from strong winds and waves.

They make soils fertile, keep air, streams and lagoons clean and clear, and provide habitats and food for animals. Trees also provide us with food and countless other products that would either be too expensive to buy or impossible to import from overseas. Forests give us 5 'f's, in the form of food, furniture, fibre, fertilizer and fuel food-in the form of fruits, nuts, animals and also medicine.

Forests supply the raw materials for the lumber, plywood, paper, packaging and other wood-based materials that are staples of modern life forests are sources of clothes, resins(rubber, gum ) the animals and plant wastes form natural fertilizers, the trees help in absorbing CO2,and replenishing O2.thus purifying the atmosphere, and reducing pollution. The trees check soil erosion, bring in rains, and help to conserve ground water.

Due to population boom, there is an increase demand for many of the commodities. This has led to deforestation; forests have shrunk to give space for agricultural lands, construction of factories and houses.

Animals, birds are becoming extinct due to loss of shelter and vegetation fertile lands are becoming barren due to scarcity of water & erosion of top soil;

Excessive floods and forest fires also destroy forests. This has led to an increase in temperature which is now referred to as global warming.

So it is essential preserve forests by reducing cutting of trees help in afforestation programs, finding alternative sources for forest products, reducing wastage, recycling and reusing processes.

Benefits of Forest:

There are two types of benefits of forest such as tangible benefits and intangible benefits. 

Tangible benefits are- Timber, Fuel woods, Medicine, Fruits, Flowers etc. 

Intangible benefits 
1. Amelioration or improvement of climate, 
2. Conservation of moisture and soil, 
3. Control of air, water or environmental conservation, 
4. Control of flood, 
5. Aesthetic, recreational and development of tourist facilities, 
6.  Protection of peoples and their houses and properties from flood, cyclone, tidal waves and other natural calamities, 
7.  Conservation and development of wildlife including birds, 8. Improvement of agro-system. However, each of the benefits is inter-related with each other.
Forest Forest Reviewed by Afsar on November 27, 2018 Rating: 5
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