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This article is about a community of trees. Forest_sentence_0

For other uses, see Forest (disambiguation). Forest_sentence_1

For broader coverage of this topic, see Plant community. Forest_sentence_2

A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. Forest_sentence_3

Hundreds of definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological function. Forest_sentence_4

The Food and Agriculture Organization defines a forest as land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent, or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ. Forest_sentence_5

It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use. Forest_sentence_6

Using this definition FRA 2020 found that forests covered 4.06 billion hectares or approximately 31 percent of the global land area in 2020 but are not equally distributed around the globe. Forest_sentence_7

Forests are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem of Earth, and are distributed around the globe. Forest_sentence_8

More than half of the world’s forests are found in only five countries (Brazil, Canada, China, Russian Federation and United States of America). Forest_sentence_9

The largest part of the forest (45 percent) is found in the tropical domain, followed by the boreal, temperate and subtropical domains. Forest_sentence_10

Forests account for 75% of the gross primary production of the Earth's biosphere, and contain 80% of the Earth's plant biomass. Forest_sentence_11

Net primary production is estimated at 21.9 gigatonnes carbon per year for tropical forests, 8.1 for temperate forests, and 2.6 for boreal forests. Forest_sentence_12

Forests at different latitudes and elevations, and with different precipitation and evapotranspiration form distinctly different biomes: boreal forests around the North Pole, tropical moist forests and tropical dry forests around the Equator, and temperate forests at the middle latitudes. Forest_sentence_13

Higher elevation areas tend to support forests similar to those at higher latitudes, and amount of precipitation also affects forest composition. Forest_sentence_14

Almost half the forest area (49 percent) is relatively intact, while 9 percent is found in fragments with little or no connectivity. Forest_sentence_15

Tropical rainforests and boreal coniferous forests are the least fragmented, whereas subtropical dry forest and temperate oceanic forests are among the most fragmented. Forest_sentence_16

Roughly 80 percent of the world’s forest area is found in patches larger than 1 million hectares. Forest_sentence_17

The remaining 20 percent is located in more than 34 million patches across the world – the vast majority less than 1 000 hectares in size. Forest_sentence_18

Human society and forests influence each other in both positive and negative ways. Forest_sentence_19

Forests provide ecosystem services to humans and serve as tourist attractions. Forest_sentence_20

Forests can also affect people's health. Forest_sentence_21

Human activities, including unsustainable use of forest resources, can negatively affect forest ecosystems. Forest_sentence_22

Definition Forest_section_0

Although the word forest is commonly used, there is no universally recognised precise definition, with more than 800 definitions of forest used around the world. Forest_sentence_23

Although a forest is usually defined by the presence of trees, under many definitions an area completely lacking trees may still be considered a forest if it grew trees in the past, will grow trees in the future, or was legally designated as a forest regardless of vegetation type. Forest_sentence_24

There are three broad categories of forest definitions in use: administrative, land use, and land cover. Forest_sentence_25

Administrative definitions are based primarily upon the legal designations of land, and commonly bear little relationship to the vegetation growing on the land: land that is legally designated as a forest is defined as a forest even if no trees are growing on it. Forest_sentence_26

Land use definitions are based upon the primary purpose that the land serves. Forest_sentence_27

For example, a forest may be defined as any land that is used primarily for production of timber. Forest_sentence_28

Under such a land use definition, cleared roads or infrastructure within an area used for forestry, or areas within the region that have been cleared by harvesting, disease or fire are still considered forests even if they contain no trees. Forest_sentence_29

Land cover definitions define forests based upon the type and density of vegetation growing on the land. Forest_sentence_30

Such definitions typically define a forest as an area growing trees above some threshold. Forest_sentence_31

These thresholds are typically the number of trees per area (density), the area of ground under the tree canopy (canopy cover) or the section of land that is occupied by the cross-section of tree trunks (basal area). Forest_sentence_32

Under such land cover definitions, an area of land can only be known as forest if it is growing trees. Forest_sentence_33

Areas that fail to meet the land cover definition may be still included under while immature trees are establishing if they are expected to meet the definition at maturity. Forest_sentence_34

Under land use definitions, there is considerable variation on where the cutoff points are between a forest, woodland, and savanna. Forest_sentence_35

Under some definitions, forests require very high levels of tree canopy cover, from 60% to 100%, excluding savannas and woodlands in which trees have a lower canopy cover. Forest_sentence_36

Other definitions consider savannas to be a type of forest, and include all areas with tree canopies over 10%. Forest_sentence_37

Some areas covered with trees are legally defined as agricultural areas, e.g. Norway spruce plantations in Austrian forest law when the trees are being grown as Christmas trees and below a certain height. Forest_sentence_38

Etymology Forest_section_1

The word derives from the Old French forest (also forès), denoting "forest, vast expanse covered by trees"; forest was first introduced into English as the word denoting wild land set aside for hunting without the necessity in definition of having trees on the land. Forest_sentence_39

Possibly a borrowing, probably via Frankish or Old High German, of the Medieval Latin foresta, denoting "open wood", Carolingian scribes first used foresta in the Capitularies of Charlemagne specifically to denote the royal hunting grounds of the King. Forest_sentence_40

The word was not endemic to Romance languages, e. g. native words for forest in the Romance languages derived from the Latin silva, which denoted "forest" and "wood(land)" (confer the English sylva and sylvan); confer the Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese selva; the Romanian silvă; and the Old French selve, and cognates in Romance languages, e. g. the Italian foresta, Spanish and Portuguese floresta, etc., are all ultimately derivations of the French word. Forest_sentence_41

The precise origin of Medieval Latin foresta is obscure. Forest_sentence_42

Some authorities claim the word derives from the Late Latin phrase forestam silvam, denoting "the outer wood"; others claim the word is a latinisation of the Frankish *forhist, denoting "forest, wooded country", and was assimilated to "forestam silvam" pursuant to the common practice of Frankish scribes. Forest_sentence_43

The Old High German forst denoting "forest", Middle Low German vorst denoting "forest", Old English fyrhþ denoting "forest, woodland, game preserve, hunting ground" (English ), and Old Norse fýri, denoting "coniferous forest", all of which derive from the Proto-Germanic *furhísa-, *furhíþija-, denoting "a fir-wood, coniferous forest", from the Proto-Indo-European *perku-, denoting "a coniferous or mountain forest, wooded height" all attest to the Frankish *forhist. Forest_sentence_44

Uses of forest in English to denote any uninhabited and unenclosed area presently are considered archaic. Forest_sentence_45

The Norman rulers of England introduced the word as a legal term, as seen in Latin texts such as the Magna Carta, to denote uncultivated land that was legally designated for hunting by feudal nobility (see Royal Forest). Forest_sentence_46

These hunting forests did not necessarily contain many, if any, trees. Forest_sentence_47

However, because hunting forests often included significant areas of woodland, forest eventually came to connote woodland in general, regardless of the density of the trees. Forest_sentence_48

By the beginning of the Fourteenth Century, English texts used the word in all three of its senses: common, legal, and archaic. Forest_sentence_49

Other English words used to denote "an area with a high density of trees" are firth, frith, holt, weald, wold, wood, and woodland. Forest_sentence_50

Unlike forest, these are all derived from Old English and were not borrowed from another language. Forest_sentence_51

Some present classifications reserve woodland for denoting a locale with more open space between trees, and distinguish kinds of woodlands as open forests and closed forests premised on their crown covers. Forest_sentence_52

Finally, sylva (plural sylvae or, less classically, sylvas) is a peculiar English spelling of the Latin silva, denoting a "woodland", and has precedent in English, including its plural forms. Forest_sentence_53

While its use as a synonym of forest and as a Latinate word denoting a woodland may be admitted, in a specific technical sense it is restricted to denoting the species of trees that comprise the woodlands of a region, as in its sense in the subject of silviculture. Forest_sentence_54

The resorting to sylva in English indicates more precisely the denotation that use of forest intends. Forest_sentence_55

Evolutionary history Forest_section_2

The first known forests on Earth arose in the Late Devonian (approximately 380 million years ago), with the evolution of Archaeopteris. Forest_sentence_56

Archaeopteris was a plant that was both tree-like and fern-like, growing to 10 metres (33 ft) in height. Forest_sentence_57

Archaeopteris quickly spread throughout the world, from the equator to subpolar latitudes. Forest_sentence_58

Archaeopteris formed the first forest by being the first known species to cast shade due to its fronds and forming soil from its roots. Forest_sentence_59

Archaeopteris was deciduous, dropping its fronds onto the forest floor. Forest_sentence_60

The shade, soil, and forest duff from the dropped fronds created the first forest. Forest_sentence_61

The shed organic matter altered the freshwater environment, slowing it down and providing food. Forest_sentence_62

This promoted freshwater fish. Forest_sentence_63

Ecology Forest_section_3

Main article: Forest ecology Forest_sentence_64

Forests account for 75% of the gross primary productivity of the Earth's biosphere, and contain 80% of the Earth's plant biomass. Forest_sentence_65

The world's forests contain about 606 gigatonnes of living biomass (above- and below-ground) and 59 gigatonnes of dead wood. Forest_sentence_66

The total biomass has decreased slightly since 1990 but biomass per unit area has increased. Forest_sentence_67

Forest ecosystems can be found in all regions capable of sustaining tree growth, at altitudes up to the tree line, except where natural fire frequency or other disturbance is too high, or where the environment has been altered by human activity. Forest_sentence_68

The latitudes 10° north and south of the equator are mostly covered in tropical rainforest, and the latitudes between 53°N and 67°N have boreal forest. Forest_sentence_69

As a general rule, forests dominated by angiosperms (broadleaf forests) are more species-rich than those dominated by gymnosperms (conifer, montane, or needleleaf forests), although exceptions exist. Forest_sentence_70

Forests sometimes contain many tree species within a small area (as in tropical rain and temperate deciduous forests), or relatively few species over large areas (e.g., taiga and arid montane coniferous forests). Forest_sentence_71

Forests are often home to many animal and plant species, and biomass per unit area is high compared to other vegetation communities. Forest_sentence_72

Much of this biomass occurs below ground in the root systems and as partially decomposed plant detritus. Forest_sentence_73

The woody component of a forest contains lignin, which is relatively slow to decompose compared with other organic materials such as cellulose or carbohydrate. Forest_sentence_74

The biodiversity of forests varies considerably according to factors such as forest type, geography, climate and soils – in addition to human use. Forest_sentence_75

Most forest habitats in temperate regions support relatively few animal and plant species and species that tend to have large geographical distributions, while the montane forests of Africa, South America and Southeast Asia and lowland forests of Australia, coastal Brazil, the Caribbean islands Central America and insular Southeast Asia have many species with small geographical distributions. Forest_sentence_76

Areas with dense human populations and intense agricultural land use, such as Europe, parts of Bangladesh, China, India and North America, are less intact in terms of their biodiversity. Forest_sentence_77

Northern Africa, southern Australia, coastal Brazil, Madagascar and South Africa, are also identified as areas with striking losses in biodiversity intactness. Forest_sentence_78

Components Forest_section_4

A forest consists of many components that can be broadly divided into two categories that are biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components. Forest_sentence_79

The living parts 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. Forest_sentence_80

Layers Forest_section_5

A forest is made up of many layers. Forest_sentence_81

The main layers of all forest types are the forest floor, the understory and the canopy. Forest_sentence_82

The emergent layer exists in tropical rainforests. Forest_sentence_83

Each layer has a different set of plants and animals depending upon the availability of sunlight, moisture and food. Forest_sentence_84


  • Forest floor contains decomposing leaves, animal droppings, and dead trees. Decay on the forest floor forms new soil and provides nutrients to the plants. The forest floor supports ferns, grasses, mushroom and tree seedlings.Forest_item_0_0
  • Understory is made up of bushes, shrubs, and young trees that are adapted to living in the shades of the canopy.Forest_item_0_1
  • Canopy is formed by the mass of intertwined branches, twigs and leaves of the mature trees. The crowns of the dominant trees receive most of the sunlight. This is the most productive part of the trees where maximum food is produced. The canopy forms a shady, protective "umbrella" over the rest of the forest.Forest_item_0_2
  • Emergent layer exists in the tropical rain forest and is composed of a few scattered trees that tower over the canopy.Forest_item_0_3

However, in botany and many countries (Germany, Poland, etc.), a different classification of forest vegetation structure is often used: tree, shrub, herb and moss layers, see stratification (vegetation). Forest_sentence_85

Types Forest_section_6

Forests can be classified in different ways and to different degrees of specificity. Forest_sentence_86

One such way is in terms of the biome in which they exist, combined with leaf longevity of the dominant species (whether they are evergreen or deciduous). Forest_sentence_87

Another distinction is whether the forests are composed predominantly of broadleaf trees, coniferous (needle-leaved) trees, or mixed. Forest_sentence_88


The number of trees in the world, according to a 2015 estimate, is 3 trillion, of which 1.4 trillion are in the tropics or sub-tropics, 0.6 trillion in the temperate zones, and 0.7 trillion in the coniferous boreal forests. Forest_sentence_89

The estimate is about eight times higher than previous estimates, and is based on tree densities measured on over 400,000 plots. Forest_sentence_90

It remains subject to a wide margin of error, not least because the samples are mainly from Europe and North America. Forest_sentence_91

Forests can also be classified according to the amount of human alteration. Forest_sentence_92

Old-growth forest contains mainly natural patterns of biodiversity in established seral patterns, and they contain mainly species native to the region and habitat. Forest_sentence_93

In contrast, secondary forest is regrowing forest following timber harvest and may contain species originally from other regions or habitats. Forest_sentence_94

Different global forest classification systems have been proposed, but none has gained universal acceptance. Forest_sentence_95

UNEP-WCMC's forest category classification system is a simplification of other more complex systems (e.g. UNESCO's forest and woodland 'subformations'). Forest_sentence_96

This system divides the world's forests into 26 major types, which reflect climatic zones as well as the principal types of trees. Forest_sentence_97

These 26 major types can be reclassified into 6 broader categories: temperate needleleaf; temperate broadleaf and mixed; tropical moist; tropical dry; sparse trees and parkland; and forest plantations. Forest_sentence_98

Each category is described as a separate section below. Forest_sentence_99

Temperate needleleaf Forest_section_7

Temperate needleleaf forests mostly occupy the higher latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere, as well as high altitude zones and some warm temperate areas, especially on nutrient-poor or otherwise unfavourable soils. Forest_sentence_100

These forests are composed entirely, or nearly so, of coniferous species (Coniferophyta). Forest_sentence_101

In the Northern Hemisphere pines Pinus, spruces Picea, larches Larix, firs Abies, Douglas firs Pseudotsuga and hemlocks Tsuga, make up the canopy, but other taxa are also important. Forest_sentence_102

In the Southern Hemisphere, most coniferous trees (members of the Araucariaceae and Podocarpaceae) occur in mixtures with broadleaf species, and are classed as broadleaf and mixed forests. Forest_sentence_103

Temperate broadleaf and mixed Forest_section_8

Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests include a substantial component of trees in the Anthophyta. Forest_sentence_104

They are generally characteristic of the warmer temperate latitudes, but extend to cool temperate ones, particularly in the southern hemisphere. Forest_sentence_105

They include such forest types as the mixed deciduous forests of the United States and their counterparts in China and Japan, the broadleaf evergreen rainforests of Japan, Chile and Tasmania, the sclerophyllous forests of Australia, central Chile, the Mediterranean and California, and the southern beech Nothofagus forests of Chile and New Zealand. Forest_sentence_106

Tropical moist Forest_section_9

There are many different types of tropical moist forests, with lowland evergreen broad leaf tropical rainforests, for example várzea and igapó forests and the terra firma forests of the Amazon Basin; the peat swamp forests, dipterocarp forests of Southeast Asia; and the high forests of the Congo Basin. Forest_sentence_107

Seasonal tropical forests, perhaps the best description for the colloquial term "jungle", typically range from the rainforest zone 10 degrees north or south of the equator, to the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Forest_sentence_108

Forests located on mountains are also included in this category, divided largely into upper and lower montane formations on the basis of the variation of physiognomy corresponding to changes in altitude. Forest_sentence_109

Tropical dry Forest_section_10

Tropical dry forests are characteristic of areas in the tropics affected by seasonal drought. Forest_sentence_110

The seasonality of rainfall is usually reflected in the deciduousness of the forest canopy, with most trees being leafless for several months of the year. Forest_sentence_111

However, under some conditions, e.g. less fertile soils or less predictable drought regimes, the proportion of evergreen species increases and the forests are characterised as "sclerophyllous". Forest_sentence_112

Thorn forest, a dense forest of low stature with a high frequency of thorny or spiny species, is found where drought is prolonged, and especially where grazing animals are plentiful. Forest_sentence_113

On very poor soils, and especially where fire or herbivory are recurrent phenomena, savannas develop. Forest_sentence_114

Sparse trees and parkland Forest_section_11

Sparse trees and savanna are forests with lower canopy cover of trees. Forest_sentence_115

They occur principally in areas of transition from forested to non-forested landscapes. Forest_sentence_116

The two major zones in which these ecosystems occur are in the boreal region and in the seasonally dry tropics. Forest_sentence_117

At high latitudes, north of the main zone of boreal forest, growing conditions are not adequate to maintain a continuous closed forest cover, so tree cover is both sparse and discontinuous. Forest_sentence_118

This vegetation is variously called open taiga, open lichen woodland, and forest tundra. Forest_sentence_119

A savanna is a mixed woodland grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. Forest_sentence_120

The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of grasses. Forest_sentence_121

Savannas maintain an open canopy despite a high tree density. Forest_sentence_122

Forest plantations Forest_section_12

Forest plantations are generally intended for the production of timber and pulpwood. Forest_sentence_123

Commonly mono-specific, planted with even spacing between the trees, and intensively managed, these forests are not generally important as habitat for native biodiversity. Forest_sentence_124

However, they can be managed in ways that enhance their biodiversity protection functions and they can provide ecosystem services such as maintaining nutrient capital, protecting watersheds and soil structure, and storing carbon. Forest_sentence_125

Forest area Forest_section_13

The net loss of forest area has decreased substantially since 1990, but the world is not on track to meet the target of the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests to increase forest area by 3 percent by 2030. Forest_sentence_126

While deforestation is taking place in some areas, new forests are being established through natural expansion or deliberate efforts in others. Forest_sentence_127

As a result, the net loss of forest area is less than the rate of deforestation and it too is decreasing: from 7.8 million hectares per year in the 1990s to 4.7 million hectares per year during 2010– 2020. Forest_sentence_128

In absolute terms, the global forest area decreased by 178 million hectares between 1990 and 2020, which is an area about the size of Libya. Forest_sentence_129

Societal significance Forest_section_14

Main articles: Forestry, Logging, and Deforestation Forest_sentence_130

Forests provide a diversity of ecosystem services including: Forest_sentence_131


  • converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and biomass. A full-grown tree produces about 100 kg of net oxygen per year.Forest_item_2_9
  • acting as a carbon sink. Therefore, they are necessary to mitigate climate change. According to the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5 °C of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to avoid temperature rise by more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, there will need to be an increase in global forest cover equal to the land area of Canada (10 million km), by the year 2050.Forest_item_2_10
  • aiding in regulating climate. For example, a research from 2017, show that forests induce rainfall. If the forest is cut, it can lead to drought.Forest_item_2_11
  • purifying water.Forest_item_2_12
  • mitigating natural hazards such as floods.Forest_item_2_13
  • serving as a genetic reserve.Forest_item_2_14
  • serving as a source of lumber and as recreational areas.Forest_item_2_15
  • Serving as a source of woodlands and trees for millions of people depending almost entirely on forests for subsistence for their essential fuelwood, food and fodder needs.Forest_item_2_16

Some researchers state that forests do not only provide benefits, but can in certain cases also incur costs to humans. Forest_sentence_132

Forests may impose an economic burden, diminish the enjoyment of natural areas, reduce the food producing capacity of grazing land and cultivated land, reduce biodiversity reduce available water for humans and wildlife, harbour dangerous or destructive wildlife, and act as reservoirs of human and livestock disease. Forest_sentence_133

The management of forests is often referred to as forestry. Forest_sentence_134

Forest management has changed considerably over the last few centuries, with rapid changes from the 1980s onwards culminating in a practice now referred to as sustainable forest management. Forest_sentence_135

Forest ecologists concentrate on forest patterns and processes, usually with the aim of elucidating cause-and-effect relationships. Forest_sentence_136

Foresters who practice sustainable forest management focus on the integration of ecological, social, and economic values, often in consultation with local communities and other stakeholders. Forest_sentence_137

Humans have generally decreased the amount of forest worldwide. Forest_sentence_138

Anthropogenic factors that can affect forests include logging, urban sprawl, human-caused forest fires, acid rain, invasive species, and the slash and burn practices of swidden agriculture or shifting cultivation. Forest_sentence_139

The loss and re-growth of forest leads to a distinction between two broad types of forest, primary or old-growth forest and secondary forest. Forest_sentence_140

There are also many natural factors that can cause changes in forests over time including forest fires, insects, diseases, weather, competition between species, etc. Forest_sentence_141

In 1997, the World Resources Institute recorded that only 20% of the world's original forests remained in large intact tracts of undisturbed forest. Forest_sentence_142

More than 75% of these intact forests lie in three countries—the boreal forests of Russia and Canada and the rainforest of Brazil. Forest_sentence_143

According to FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, an estimated 420 million hectares of forest has been lost worldwide through deforestation since 1990, but the rate of forest loss has declined substantially. Forest_sentence_144

In the most recent five-year period (2015–2020), the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares, down from 12 million hectares in 2010–2015. Forest_sentence_145

China instituted a ban on logging, beginning in 1998, due to the erosion and flooding that it caused. Forest_sentence_146

In addition, ambitious tree planting programmes in countries such as China, India, the United States and Vietnam – combined with natural expansion of forests in some regions – have added more than seven million hectares of new forests annually. Forest_sentence_147

As a result, the net loss of forest area was reduced to 5.2 million hectares per year between 2000 and 2010, down from 8.3 million hectares annually in the 1990s. Forest_sentence_148

In 2015, a study for Nature Climate Change showed that the trend has recently been reversed, leading to an "overall gain" in global biomass and forests. Forest_sentence_149

This gain is due especially to reforestation in China and Russia. Forest_sentence_150

However new forests are not completely equivalent to old growth forests in terms of species diversity, resilience and carbon capture. Forest_sentence_151

On 7 September 2015, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a new study stating that, over the last 25 years, the global deforestation rate has decreased by 50% due to improved management of forests and greater government protection. Forest_sentence_152

There is an estimated 726 million ha of forest in protected areas worldwide. Forest_sentence_153

Of the six major world regions, South America has the highest share of forests in protected areas, at 31 percent. Forest_sentence_154

The area of forest in protected areas globally has increased by 191 million ha since 1990, but the rate of annual increase slowed in 2010–2020. Forest_sentence_155

Smaller areas of woodland in cities may be managed as urban forestry, sometimes within public parks. Forest_sentence_156

These are often created for human benefits; Attention Restoration Theory argues that spending time in nature reduces stress and improves health, while forest schools and kindergartens help young people to develop social as well as scientific skills in forests. Forest_sentence_157

These typically need to be close to where the children live, for practical logistics. Forest_sentence_158

Canada Forest_section_15

Main article: Forests of Canada Forest_sentence_159

Canada has about 4,020,000 square kilometres (1,550,000 sq mi) of forest land. Forest_sentence_160

More than 90% of forest land is publicly owned and about 50% of the total forest area is allocated for harvesting. Forest_sentence_161

These allocated areas are managed using the principles of sustainable forest management, which includes extensive consultation with local stakeholders. Forest_sentence_162

About eight percent of Canada's forest is legally protected from resource development. Forest_sentence_163

Much more forest land—about 40 percent of the total forest land base—is subject to varying degrees of protection through processes such as integrated land use planning or defined management areas such as certified forests. Forest_sentence_164

By December 2006, over 1,237,000 square kilometres of forest land in Canada (about half the global total) had been certified as being sustainably managed. Forest_sentence_165

Clearcutting, first used in the latter half of the 20th century, is less expensive, but devastating to the environment, and companies are required by law to ensure that harvested areas are adequately regenerated. Forest_sentence_166

Most Canadian provinces have regulations limiting the size of clear-cuts, although some older clear-cuts can range upwards of 110 square kilometres (27,000 acres) in size which was cut over several years. Forest_sentence_167

Latvia Forest_section_16

Latvia has about 3,270,000 hectares (12,626 sq mi) of forest land which equates to 50.6% of Latvia's total area (24,938 sq mi). Forest_sentence_168

1,510,000 hectares of forest land (46.3% of total forest land) is publicly owned and 1,750,000 hectares of forest land (53.7% of total forest land) is in private hands. Forest_sentence_169

Latvia's forests have been steadily increasing over the years which is in contrast to many other nations, mostly due to the forestation of land not used for agriculture. Forest_sentence_170

In 1935 there was only 1,757,000 hectares of forest, today this has increased by more than 150%. Forest_sentence_171

Birch is the most common tree at 28.2% followed by pine (26,9%), spruce (18.3%), grey alder (9.7%), aspen (8,0%), black alder (5.7%), oak/ash (1.2%) and finally hardwood making up the rest (2.0%). Forest_sentence_172

United States Forest_section_17

In the United States, most forests have historically been affected by humans to some degree, though in recent years improved forestry practices have helped regulate or moderate large scale or severe impacts. Forest_sentence_173

However, the United States Forest Service estimates a net loss of about 2 million hectares (4,942,000 acres) between 1997 and 2020; this estimate includes conversion of forest land to other uses, including urban and suburban development, as well as afforestation and natural reversion of abandoned crop and pasture land to forest. Forest_sentence_174

However, in many areas of the United States, the area of forest is stable or increasing, particularly in many northern states. Forest_sentence_175

The opposite problem from flooding has plagued national forests, with loggers complaining that a lack of thinning and proper forest management has resulted in large forest fires. Forest_sentence_176

Largest forests in the world Forest_section_18


Largest forests in the worldForest_table_caption_0
ForestForest_header_cell_0_0_0 AreaForest_header_cell_0_0_1 CountriesForest_header_cell_0_0_2
Amazon rainforestForest_cell_0_1_0 5,500,000 km (2,100,000 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_1_1 Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, VenezuelaForest_cell_0_1_2
Congo RainforestForest_cell_0_2_0 2,000,000 km (770,000 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_2_1 Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, GabonForest_cell_0_2_2
Atlantic ForestForest_cell_0_3_0 1,315,460 km (507,900 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_3_1 Brazil, Argentina, ParaguayForest_cell_0_3_2
Valdivian Temperate RainforestForest_cell_0_4_0 248,100 km (95,800 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_4_1 Chile, ArgentinaForest_cell_0_4_2
Tongass National ForestForest_cell_0_5_0 68,000 km (26,000 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_5_1 United StatesForest_cell_0_5_2
Rainforest of XishuangbannaForest_cell_0_6_0 19,223 km (7,422 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_6_1 ChinaForest_cell_0_6_2
SunderbansForest_cell_0_7_0 10,000 km (3,900 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_7_1 India, BangladeshForest_cell_0_7_2
Daintree RainforestForest_cell_0_8_0 1,200 km (460 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_8_1 AustraliaForest_cell_0_8_2
Kinabalu ParkForest_cell_0_9_0 754 km (291 sq mi)Forest_cell_0_9_1 MalaysiaForest_cell_0_9_2

See also Forest_section_19

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