Woodlands are lightly shaded areas with sunlight falling on shrubbery and grasses. As of 2014, woodlands and forests around the world are steadily decreasing in number and size, due in part to slash-and-burn farming, which removes most trees, and to road building and logging, which decimate the landscape.
Woodland areas house an abundance of animal and plant life, including wild cats, elk and, in ancient times, oxen. Woodlands act as a physical buffer to high-force winds, and tree roots prevent erosion. As woodlands recede, the ground becomes unstable and erodes from water and wind. Hydroelectric dams flood woodlands on one side and dry them out on the other. Mountaintop-removal mining blows the tops off of mountains, including the woodlands, and then blasts deeper and wider, leaving a gigantic pit. Mining operations generally produce chemical waste that poisons surrounding land and water from within.