map

Sparse trees and parkland (tropical)
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zaire
  Map Legend
   (click any forest type for more information)
legend



map

Sparse trees and parkland (tropical)
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zaire
  Map Legend
   (click any forest type for more information)
legend



map

Sparse trees and parkland (tropical)
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zaire
  Map Legend
   (click any forest type for more information)
legend



map

Sparse trees and parkland (tropical)
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zaire
  Map Legend
   (click any forest type for more information)
legend




Evergreen needleleaf forest (temperate) [top]
Natural forest with > 30% canopy cover, in which the canopy is predominantly (> 75%) needleleaf and evergreen.

Deciduous needleleaf forest (temperate) [top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, in which the canopy is predominantly (> 75%) needleleaf and deciduous.

Mixed broadleaf/needleleaf forest (temperate)
[top]
Natural forest with > 30% canopy cover, in which the canopy is composed of a more or less even mixture of needleleaf and broadleaf crowns (between 50:50% and 25:75%).

Broadleaf evergreen forest (temperate)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, the canopy being > 75% evergreen and broadleaf.

Deciduous broadleaf forest (temperate)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, in which > 75% of the canopy is deciduous and broadleaves predominate (> 75% of canopy cover).

Freshwater swamp forest (temperate)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, composed of trees with any mixture of leaf type and seasonality, but in which the predominant environmental characteristic is a waterlogged soil.

Sclerophyllous dry forest (temperate)
[top]
Natural forest with > 30% canopy cover, in which the canopy is mainly composed of sclerophyllous broadleaves and is > 75% evergreen.

Disturbed natural forest (temperate)
[top]
Any forest type above that has in its interior significant areas of disturbance by people, including clearing, felling for wood extraction, anthropogenic fires, road construction, etc.

Sparse trees and parkland (temperate)
[top]
Natural forests in which the tree canopy cover is between 10-30%, such as in the steppe regions of the world. Trees of any type (e.g., needleleaf, broadleaf, palms).

Exotic species plantation (temperate)
[top]
Intensively managed forests with > 30% canopy cover, which have been planted by people with species not naturally occurring in that country.

Native species plantation (temperate)
[top]
Intensively managed forests with > 30% canopy cover, which have been planted by people with species that occur naturally in that country.

Unspecified forest plantation (temperate)
[top]
Forest plantations showing extent only with no further information about their type, This data currently only refers to the Ukraine.

Unclassified forest data (temperate)
[top]
Forest data showing forest extent only with no further information about their type.

Lowland evergreen broadleaf rain forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude that display little or no seasonality, the canopy being >75% evergreen broadleaf.

Lower montane forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, between 1200-1800m altitude, with any seasonality regime and leaf type mixture.

Upper montane forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, above 1800m altitude, with any seasonality regime and leaf type mixture.

Freshwater swamp forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude, composed of trees with any mixture of leaf type and seasonality, but in which the predominant environmental characteristic is a waterlogged soil.

Semi-evergreen moist broadleaf forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude in which between 50-75% of the canopy is evergreen, > 75% are broadleaves, and the trees display seasonality of flowering and fruiting.

Mixed broadleaf/needleleaf forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude, in which the canopy is composed of a more or less even mixture of needleleaf and broadleaf crowns (between 50:50% and 25:75%).

Needleleaf forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forest with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude, in which the canopy is predominantly (> 75%) needleleaf.

Mangroves (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, composed of species of mangrove tree, generally along coasts in or near brackish or salt water.

Disturbed natural forest (tropical)
[top]
Any forest type above that has in its interior significant areas of disturbance by people, including clearing, felling for wood extraction, anthropogenic fires, road construction, etc.

Deciduous/semi-deciduous broadleaf forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude in which between 50-100% of the canopy is deciduous and broadleaves predominate (> 75% of canopy cover).

Sclerophyllous dry forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude, in which the canopy is mainly composed of sclerophyllous broadleaves and is > 75% evergreen.

Thorn forest (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests with > 30% canopy cover, below 1200m altitude, in which the canopy is mainly composed of deciduous trees with thorns and succulent phanerophytes with thorns may be frequent.

Sparse trees and parkland (tropical)
[top]
Natural forests in which the tree canopy cover is between 10-30%, such as in the savannah regions of the world. Trees of any type (e.g., needleleaf, broadleaf, palms).

Exotic species plantation (tropical)
[top]
Intensively managed forests with > 30% canopy cover, which have been planted by people with species not naturally occurring in that country.

Native species plantation (tropical)
[top]
Intensively managed forests with > 30% canopy cover, which have been planted by people with species that occur naturally in that country.

Broad Description of Forest Types

Temperate Needleaf

Temperate needleleaf forests cover a larger area of the world than any other forest types. They mostly occupy the higher latitude regions of the northern hemisphere, as well as high altitude zones and some warm temperate areas, especially on nutrient-poor or otherwise unfavourable soils. These forests are composed entirely, or nearly so, of coniferous species (Coniferophyta). In the Northern Hemisphere pines Pinus, spruces Picea, larches Larix, silver firs Abies, Douglas firs Pseudotsuga and hemlocks Tsuga, make up the canopy, but other taxa are also important. In the southern hemisphere most coniferous trees, members of the Araucariaceae and Podocarpaceae, occur in mixtures with broadleaf species that are classed as broadleaf and mixed forests.

Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed
Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, which include a substantial component of trees in the Anthophyta, cover over 6.5 million km2 of the Earth's surface. They are generally characteristic of the warmer temperate latitudes, but extend to cool temperate ones, particularly in the southern hemisphere. They include such forest types as the mixed deciduous forests of the USA and their counterparts in China and Japan, the broadleaf evergreen rain forests of Japan, Chile and Tasmania, the sclerophyllous forests of Australia, the Mediterranean and California, and the southern beech Nothofagus forests of Chile and New Zealand.

Tropical Moist
Tropical moist forests cover more than 11 million km2 of the humid tropics and include many different forest types. The best known and most extensive are the lowland evergreen broadleaf rainforests, which make up over half this area and include, for example: the seasonally inundated varzea and igapÑ forests and the terra firme forests of the Amazon Basin; the peat forests and moist dipterocarp forests of Southeast Asia; and the high forests of the Congo Basin. The forests of tropical mountains are also included in this broad category, generally divided into upper and lower montane formations on the basis of their physiognomy, which varies with altitude. The montane forests include cloud forest, those forests at middle to high altitude, which derive a significant part of their water budget from cloud, and support a rich abundance of vascular and nonvascular epiphytes. Mangrove forests also fall within this broad category, as do most of the tropical coniferous forests of Central America.

Tropical Dry
Tropical dry forests are characteristic of areas in the tropics affected by seasonal drought. Such seasonal climates characterise much of the tropics, but less than 4 million km2 of tropical dry forests remain. The seasonality of rainfall is usually reflected in the deciduousness of the forest canopy, with most trees being leafless for several months of the year. However, under some conditios, e.g. less fertile soils or less predictable drought regimes, the proportion of evergreen species increases and the forests are characterised as "sclerophyllous". Thorn forest, a dense forest of low stature with a high frequency of thorny or spiny species, is found where drought is prolonged, and especially where grazing animals are plentiful. On very poor soils, and especially where fire is a recurrent phenomenon, woody savannas develop (see 'sparse trees and parkland').

Sparse Trees and Parkland
Sparse trees and parkland are forests with open canopies of 10-30% crown cover. They occur principally in areas of transition from forested to non-forested landscapes. The two major zones in which these ecosystems occur are in the boreal region and in the seasonally dry tropics. At high latitudes, north of the main zone of boreal forest or taiga, growing conditions are not adequate to maintain a continuous closed forest cover, so tree cover is both sparse and discontinuous. This vegetation is variously called open taiga, open lichen woodland, and forest tundra. It is species-poor, has high bryophyte cover, and is frequently affected by fire.

Forest Plantations
Forest plantations, generally intended for the production of timber and pulpwood increase the total area of forest worldwide. In 1999 FAO has estimated that total plantation area in developed countries is about 600,000 km2 and in developing countries it is about 550,000 km2. Commonly mono-specific and/or composed of introduced tree species, these ecosystems are not generally important as habitat for native biodiversity. However, they can be managed in ways that enhance their biodiversity protection functions and they are important providers of ecosystem services such as maintaining nutrient capital, protecting watersheds and soil structure as well as storing carbon. They may also play an important role in alleviating pressure on natural forests for timber and fuelwood production.