Woodland is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of primary or secondary succession. Higher densities and areas of trees, with largely closed canopy, provide extensive and nearly continuous shade and are referred to as forest.
Conservationists have worked hard to preserve woodlands. For example, the woodlands in Northwest Indiana have been preserved as part of the Indiana Dunes.
Woodland is used in British woodland management to mean any smaller area covered in trees, however dense. (Forest is usually used in the British Isles only for more extensive wooded areas, again, regardless of density – and also including Royal forests, which may not be wooded at all). The term Ancient Woodland is used in British nature conservation to refer to any wooded land that has existed for a very long period (equivalent to the American term old growth forest).
Woodlot is a closely related American term, which refers to a stand of trees generally used for firewood. While woodlots often technically have closed canopies, they are so small that light penetration from the edge makes them ecologically closer to woodland than forest.
Famous quotes containing the word woodland:
“I already, and for weeks afterward, felt my nature the coarser for this part of my woodland experience, and was reminded that our life should be lived as tenderly and daintily as one would pluck a flower.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)