All About Forest(1)…


A forest (also called a wood, woodland, wold, weald or holt) is an area with a high density of trees. There are many definitions of a forest, based on the various criteria. These plant communities cover approximately 9.4% of the Earth’s surface (or 30% of total land area), though they once covered much more (about 50% of total land area), in many different regions and function as habitats for organisms,hydrologic flow modulators, and soil conservers, constituting one of the most important aspects of the Earth’s biosphere. Although a forest is classified primarily by trees a forest ecosystem is defined intrinsically with additional species such as fungi. A woodland, with more open space between trees, is ecologically distinct from a forest.

Etymology…

The word „forest” was borrowed by Middle English from Old French and Medieval Latin forestis, literally meaning „outside”. Uses of the word „forest” in English to denote any uninhabited area of non-enclosure are now considered archaic. The word was introduced by the Norman rulers of England as a legal term (appearing in Latin texts like the Magna Carta) denoting an uncultivated area legally set aside for hunting by feudal nobility (see Royal Forest). These hunting forests were not necessarily wooded much, if at all. However, as hunting forests did often include considerable areas of woodland, the word „forest” eventually came to mean wooded land more generally. By the start of the fourteenth century the word appeared in English texts, indicating all three senses: the most common one, the legal term and the archaic usage.

Other terms used to mean „an area with a high density of trees” are wood, woodland, wold, weald and holt. Unlike forest, these are all derived from Old English and were not borrowed from another language…

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