Timber’s Term of the Week: Forest

Forest

noun

Definition:

  1. Land spanning more than 0.5 hectares (just over an acre – ed.) with trees higher than 5 meters (just over 16 feet – ed.) and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent, or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ. It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use. Forests are determined both by the presence of trees and the absence of other predominant land uses. The trees should be able to reach a minimum height of 5 meters in situ. Areas under reforestation which have yet to reach a crown density of 10 percent or tree height of 5 m are included, as are temporarily unstocked areas, resulting from human intervention or natural causes, that are expected to regenerate. (Source: the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO))
  2. A group selection site on  Boggs Mountain State Forest
  3. Land at least 10 percent stocked by forest trees of any size, including land that formerly had such tree cover and that will be naturally or artificially regenerated. (Source Brad Smith, et. al.)

Synonyms:

  1. forestland, timberland, woodland

Discussion:

Other sources say a forest is a tract of land covered with trees; these are not technical definitions. Using such definitions gives the impression that the practice clearcutting results in deforestation. I’ve written before about deforestation (Deforestation and Reforestation, What is Deforestation?, and Toilet Paper, Hummers, and Global Warming, oh my!) Logging does not equal deforestation. The FAO defines deforestation as “the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of tree canopy cover below the 10% threshold … Deforestation implies the long-term or permanent loss of forest cover. Such a loss can only be caused and maintained through a continued man-induced or natural perturbation.” (World Forest Resource Assessment in 2000, On Definitions Of Forest And Forest Change)

This is deforestation; the conversion to another land use.

This is deforestation; the conversion to another land use.

Etymology:

Forest comes from Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin forestis.

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