what is the difference between woods and forest

what is the difference between woods and forest

McKinley Woods. (Picture courtesy of Chris Ward)

Have you ever ever loved a stroll by the woods on a pleasant day? Or was it a stroll by the forest? What is the distinction, anyway?

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Some would argue it is simply semantics; a forest and a wooden are primarily the identical. The reality is, there’s a technical distinction, however most of us use the phrases pretty interchangeably.

The very definitions of the 2 phrases — forest and woods — are comparable, however not fairly the identical. A forest, based on Webster’s New World Dictionary, is “a thick progress of timber and underbrush masking an in depth tract of land.” A wooden, however, is outlined as “a thick grove of timber” in the identical dictionary.

The U.S. Nationwide Vegetation Classification system (yep, that is a factor that exists) additional defines forests and woods primarily based on the density of timber, based on Sciencing. In a forest, 60% to 100% of the land is roofed by tree cover, whereas solely 25% to 60% of a wooden is roofed by tree cover.

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The United Nations’ Meals and Agriculture Group defines the phrases as effectively. In keeping with that company, a forest have to be a minimum of 1.24 acres. Timber in a forest have to be a minimum of 16 ft tall, and the tree cover should cowl a minimum of 10 p.c of the land. Different wooded land should equally be a minimum of 1.24 acres with timber a minimum of 16 ft tall, however the tree cover is not as substantial, masking solely 5 p.c to 10 p.c of the land.

By all these requirements, a forest is extra substantial than a wooden, however it’s uncertain anybody would name you out on it should you use the phrases interchangeably, as many people do. We even do it on the Forest Protect. All our preserves with woods within the identify — Hammel Woods, McKinley Woods and Messenger Woods, to call just some — meet the entire above definitions of a forest.


Issues are tough in terms of one other sort of forest too: a tropical forest. Many individuals use the phrases tropical forest, rainforest and jungle interchangeably, identical to they do forest and woods.

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Jungle just isn’t a scientific time period, Sciencing studies. A jungle is often considered a rainforest with a dense undergrowth. Rainforests, however, are forests that usually have a wet season and a dry season. The most important and most well-known of those is the Amazon, which covers 1.4 billion acres in South America, based on the World Wildlife Fund.

There are two varieties rainforests: tropical and temperate. Tropical rainforests are in heat climates close to the equator, however temperate rainforests are in coastal areas north of the equator, based on the NASA Earth Observatory. We even have temperate rainforests in america, together with alongside the Pacific coast stretching north from Northern California.

It doesn’t matter what you name them, these wooded areas are essential to our planet’s well being. The timber that populate our forests and woods accomplish that a lot. They clear the air, mitigate local weather change and supply habitat for tens of millions of wildlife species, to call just some of their essential roles, based on the World Wildlife Fund. And what’s good for the setting is equally pretty much as good for people.

Regardless of what forests do for us and our planet, we proceed to lose timber at an alarming fee. Greater than 36 soccer fields’ price of timber are misplaced each single minute on account of deforestation, based on Conservation Worldwide.


Keep up-to-date on the happenings in Will County’s forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital e-newsletter that gives subscribers with updates on Forest Protect information, upcoming occasions, and different enjoyable and helpful info for the entire household. In case you’re solely focused on packages, subscribe to The Weekly 5, which outlines the 5 must-do packages every week. Signing up for both e-newsletter is simple and freed from cost.

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