What Is the Difference Between a Forest and a Wood?

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Woods and forests both have natural areas filled with trees, but woods are smaller and have fewer kinds of plants and animals. Forests have lots of shade because trees grow closely together in an area with a high density of trees. On the other hand, woods have plenty of sunlight because they have less vegetation.

Like forests, woods are also areas in the wild, but they are much smaller. In a forest, natural sunlight barely comes through the canopy of trees, whereas sunlight is abundant in a wood. A wood has a dense growth of trees that is typically larger than a grove but smaller than a forest. Forests are either deciduous or evergreen in nature, and they are large areas where there are many animals. Trees in forests and woods grow thickly, with shrubs, underbrush and grasses flourishing between them. According to the U.S. National Vegetation Classification system, trees with overlapping crowns form 60 to 100 percent cover of forests and 25 to 60 percent cover of woodlands. Temperate forests, which are those that contain evergreen and deciduous trees, cover most of North America and parts of Europe and Asia. Boreal forests, which comprise evergreen trees only, are common in countries with colder climates. Evergreen trees produce cones and have short needles. Both woods and forests are home to various kinds of animals, trees, plants, birds and insects.