From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

Forest is a large area dominated by trees. Hundreds of more precise definitions of forest are used throughout the world, incorporating factors such as tree density, tree height, land use, legal standing and ecological function. According to the widely used Food and Agriculture Organization definition, forests covered four billion hectares (15 million square miles) or approximately 30 percent of the world's land area in 2006.

Forests are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem of Earth, and are distributed around the globe. More than half of the world's forests are found in only five countries (Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China). More than half of the world's forests are tropical. Forests account for 75% of the gross primary productivity of the Earth's biosphere, and contain 80% of the Earth's plant biomass.

Forests at different latitudes and elevations, and with different precipitation and evaporation rates, form distinctly different ecozones: boreal forests around the poles, tropical forests around the Equator, and temperate forests at the middle latitudes. Higher elevation areas tend to support forests similar to those at higher latitudes, and amount of precipitation also affects forest composition.

Human society and forests influence each other in both positive and negative ways. Forests provide ecosystem services to humans and serve as tourist attractions. Forests can also affect people's health. Human activities, including unsustainable use of forest resources, can negatively affect forest ecosystems.

Definition[edit | edit source]

A forest is a piece of land with many trees. Many animals need forests to live and survive. Forests are very important and grow in many places around the world. They are an ecosystem which includes many plants and animals.

Types of forests[edit | edit source]

There are three types of forests—temperate, tropical, boreal—and each have different characteristics depending on their location. Temperate forests are in areas with four seasons. Tropical forests are in areas with a hot climate and the trees in these forests are broadleaf trees. Boreal forests are in areas with a cold climate.

Importance of forests[edit | edit source]

Forests are important to the environment because they use carbon dioxide (CO2) and produce oxygen. They also provide habitat for animals and other types of life.

Threats to forests[edit | edit source]

Forests are threatened by deforestation and climate change, which affects the animals and people who depend on them.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Forest Resources
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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD