A forest is an area of land dominated by trees. 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.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. It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use.Using this definition FRA 2020 found that forests covered 4.06 billion hectares or approximately 31 percent of the global land area in 2020.
Forests are the predominant terrestrial ecosystem of Earth, and are distributed around the globe. More than half of the world’s forests are found in only five countries (Brazil, Canada, China, Russian Federation and United States of America). The largest part of the forest (45 percent) is found in the tropical domain (Tropical forests), followed by the boreal, temperate and subtropical domains.
Forests account for 75% of the gross primary production of the Earth’s biosphere, and contain 80% of the Earth’s plant biomass. 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.
1.Equatorial Moist Evergreen or Rainforest:
This evergreen hardwood forest is the natural vegetation of low-latitude high precipitation zone. This vegetation generally occur in between 10° N. and S. of equator where annual rainfall is very high and distributed equitably throughout the year. The total extent of tropical rainforest was 714 million hectares in 1990, which is half of the world’s forest cover.
Spatially, this forest is distributed in three separate regions:
(a) South American Amazonia basin:
This region is confined between Amazon River in the east to the foothills of the Andes in the west and Orinoco river basin in the north to Mardira River in the south.
(b) Equatorial Africa:
Mostly occur in Equatorial Africa including Zaire and Congo.
(c) Asia:Some parts of Western India and Sri Lanka
(d) South-East Asia:
Found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines etc.
The uses of forest resources in different economic activities are:
A. Teak and Mahogany are widely used in furniture industry.
B. Wood collected from forest is used as fuel.
C. (a) Brazil nut is rich in protein.
(b) Tagua nut is used for button-making.
(c) Barasu is an important raw material to produce soap and margarin.
(d) The milky juice of zopota tree is chickle which is converted to chewing gum.
(e) Wild rubber can be collected from rubber trees.
(f) Balata gathered from this forest is used for cable-making and other industrial purpose.
(g) Babassu palm nut is used in paint industry.
(h) Cohune nuts for perfume manufacturing,
(i) Toquilla palm for hat making.
2.Tropical Deciduous Forest:
In tropical monsoon region where rainfall is seasonal and a definite dry season exists, this deciduous and semi-evergreen forests are prevalent. Unlike Equatorial region, here variation of trees in different regions are much more.
This type of vegetation occurs in:
(a) India, Myanmar (Burma), Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, South China, Philippines etc.
(b) Northern Australia.
(c) Margins of tropical rainforest in Africa.
(d) Central South America.
Characteristics of Vegetation:
(i) Most of the tress are broadleaved and provide hardwood variety.
(ii) Trees are so heavy that in most cases they do not float in water.
(iii) Several layers are visible in forest, according to height of the trees. Trees with height of 50 meters to 10 meters are common.
(iv) Wide variety of climbers, creepers, parasites, epiphytes and saprophytes are common.
(v) No dominance of single species — as trees are intermingled with one another.
(vi) Thick undergrowth of shrubs, bushes and bamboos are common.
(vii) Swampy, marshy areas exhibit mangrove forests, e.g. Sundarban in West Bengal.
Primarily found in the Mediterranean climate within 35°-45° North and South of the equator.
It is a peculiar climo-floral development found in several areas:
(a) Adjacent regions of Mediterranean coast, extending east-west over 2,500 kms covering countries like Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Albania, Greece, Turkey etc.
(b) California in U.S.A. of N. America.
(c) Central Chile of S. America.
(d) S-E and southern parts of Australia.
(e) Cape region of South Africa.
Important among these are:
1. Trees are covered by hairs, e.g. Olive trees.
2. Leaves are very thick and skin-like, e.g. Bolen trees.
3. Some trees may adopt wax layers in the leaves.
4. Barks are very thick, e.g. cork and oak.
5. Roots are very long, e.g. grapes.
Beside these characteristics, some trees like lavender, rose-merry etc.. are orchids and distinctly different from others.
1. Large trees are rare. Trees are isolated. So lumbering industry is limited.
2. The barks of cork and oak are used to produce caps of the bottles.
3. Lavender and rose-merry trees produce perfumes.
4. Olive oil is extracted from olive trees.
5. Wine is produced from grapes.
4.Temperate Broad-leaved Deciduous and Mixed Forest:
In the eastern side of the continents, in warm temperate region, this forest is located in:
(i) South China.
(ii) South Japan.
(iii) South Africa.
(iv) South-East Australia.
(v) South Brazil.
1. Rainfall all the year, minimum annual temperature over 10°C.
2. Due to heavy rainfall, evenly distributed throughout the year, trees are evergreen, broad-leaved and hard-wood type.
1. Koebrack in South-East Brazil.
5.Warm Temperate Broad-leaved Deciduous Forest:
In warm temperate region, where temperature remains above 6°C at least 6 months of the year. This forest developed in central and north-west China, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Tasmania.
1. Trees shed their leaves during spring.
2. No layer in the leaves.
Elm, Beach, Maple, Walnut etc.
1. As same type of trees are concentrated in different regions, wood collection is easier.
2. Wood transportation is also easier.
3. As there is very little undergrowth, collection of forest product is much easier.
IMPORTANT OF FOREST
1.They let us breathe!
2.They cool the Earth
3.They keep people cool too
4.Forests can make it rain
5.They block wind
6.Forests clean the air
7.They fight erosion
8.They provide medicine
9.They provide food
10.Forests create jobs