In trying to establish the difference between woods and forests that are a few things to put into consideration, but we will have to start with the main thing that differentiates these two. The main difference between woods and forest is the rate of canopy cover of the wood’s tree density.
In the forest, there is a thicker canopy cover because the forest has more trees covering larger amounts of land while in the woods you will see a sparser density of trees. This makes the woods have a more open canopy that will ultimately provide less shade and drier land.
Furthermore, these two concepts are different in terms of ecosystems and they are home to different kinds of wild animals
If we want to have a historical understanding of the difference between a forest and woods, it will take us back to the Middle or dark ages when forests were used for royal hunting.
Without further ado, we will be diving into this topic properly. We will be discussing these two concept separately so that we will provide a proper explanation of what forest and woods is all about.
And we will differentiate the two by using the information provided by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the U.S. National Vegetation Classification system.
What Is a Forest?
According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a forest is a place with trees that are not less than 5 meters tall. Meaning that a forest should contain trees that are over 16 feet. These trees should cover an area of land that is not less than 0.5 hectares and provide a canopy cover of not less than 10%.
In a forest, you should also find younger trees that are about 5 meters long and also provide a canopy of not less than 10%.
Furthermore, the forest is known to be home to different kinds of animals. Some of the species you can find in a forest include birds, amphibians and mammals.
Note that a forest should not include land that has always been used for farming or general agricultural purposes.
According to the U.S. National Vegetation Classification system, a forest is a place with trees that provides a closed canopy – these trees have a height above not less than 6 meters and provide a cover of 60% – 100%.
Types of Forest Biome
Forests are made of tree biomes and they are:
Temperate forests have four different seasons in a year, and the temperatures in these kinds of forests will vary at different times and seasons of the year.
Because of the nature of a temperate forest, you will find different kinds of animals that are able to adapt to the different temperatures in this kind of forest. Some of the animals you can find in a tropical forest includes deer, raccoons, wolves, squirrels and hibernating bears.
The tropical forest has temperatures that are warmer, and more humid. These kinds of forests can only be found in places that are very close to the equator.
This is a kind of forest where you will find animals like poisonous frogs, jaguars, and gorillas. This is because of the high amount of rainfall in places where tropical forests are located. The Tropical rainforests provide enough trees and thick canopy to make for a dark and secure environment for the aforementioned animals to thrive.
These are kinds of frost that have very cold temperatures. Siberia and Alaska are a couple of places where you can easily find forests like this.
This kind of forest helps significantly with carbon capture. Its temperature makes it possible for animals like moose, reindeer, arctic hares, and polar bears to thrive in it.
What Is a Wood?
According to FAO land covered with trees of 5 meters and above spanning across 0.5 hectares of land providing a canopy of 5 – 10 percent is considered to be woodland. This implies woods provide a canopy of not more than 10% or it will be considered a forest. This canopy cover may be provided by shrubs, trees and bushes.
According to a piece of information provided by U.S. National Vegetation Classification standards woodland has a more open canopy of about 5 – 60 percent canopy cover provided by the domination of trees. If the canopy cover is above the aforementioned percentage then it will be considered a forest.
In North America stands of trees that existed before the year 1600 are called “old-growth forests,” while in the UK it is called “ancient woodlands,” it all depends on where you are located.
The Australians consider vegetation of trees with a canopy to cover 10 – 30 percent of woodland. They have tall and low woods with trees over 98 feet and trees under 30 feet respectively.
According to an article published by SigBusiness.com, woods will have more open canopy while forests will have more closed canopy cover – making the woods suitable place for animals that live on the ground and the forest suitable place for animals that live particularly among the trees.