A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ''plurale tantum'' woods), a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade (see differences between British, American, and Australian English explained below). 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-density areas of trees with a largely closed canopy that provides extensive and nearly continuous shade are often referred to as forests. Extensive efforts by conservationist groups have been made to preserve woodlands from urbanization and agriculture. For example, the woodlands of Northwest Indiana have been preserved as part of the Indiana Dunes.


United Kingdom

''Woodland'' is used in British woodland management to mean tree-covered areas which arose naturally and which are then managed, while forest is usually used in the British Isles to describe plantations, usually more extensive, or hunting Forests, which are a land use with a legal definition and 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 since 1600, and often (though not always) for thousands of years, since the last Ice Age (equivalent to the American term old-growth forest).

North America

Woodlot is a closely related term in American forest management, 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.


In Australia, a woodland is defined as an area with sparse (10–30%) cover of trees, and an open woodland has very sparse (<10%) cover. Woodlands are also subdivided into tall woodlands, or low woodlands, if their trees are over or under high respectively. This contrasts with forests, which have greater than 30% cover by trees.

Oak disease

Sudden oak death (SOD), an oak disease, results from ''Phytophthora ramorum'', a pathogen that thrives in moist, humid conditions. This causal agent attacks the phloem and cambium of oaks, allowing beetle and fungi infestation. It has killed millions of tanoaks since it was discovered in the mid-1990s. SOD does not affect white oaks and drier areas like foothill woodlands, but affects forests and more moist conditions like live oak woodlands and forests, which have been significantly impacted.

Woodland ecoregions

Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands

* Afrotropical realm ** Angolan miombo woodlands (Angola) ** Angolan mopane woodlands (Angola, Namibia) ** Central Zambezian miombo woodlands (Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia) ** Eastern miombo woodlands (Mozambique, Tanzania) ** Kalahari Acacia-Baikiaea woodlands (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe) ** Zambezian and mopane woodlands (Botswana, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe) ** Zambezian Baikiaea woodlands (Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe) * Neotropical realm ** Cerrado woodlands and savannas (Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay)

Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands

* Afrotropical realm ** Al Hajar montane woodlands (Oman) * Palearctic realm ** Gissaro-Alai open woodlands (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan)

Montane grasslands and shrublands

* Afrotropical realm ** Angolan Scarp savanna and woodlands (Angola) ** Drakensberg alti-montane grasslands and woodlands (Lesotho, South Africa) ** Drakensberg montane grasslands, woodlands and forests (Eswatini, Lesotho, South Africa) ** East African montane moorlands (Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda) ** Ethiopian montane grasslands and woodlands (Ethiopia) * Palearctic realm ** Kopet Dag woodlands and forest steppe (Iran, Turkmenistan)

Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub

* Australasian realm ** Coolgardie woodlands (Australia) ** Mount Lofty woodlands (Australia) ** Murray-Darling woodlands and mallee (Australia) ** Naracoorte woodlands (Australia) ** Southwest Australia woodlands (Australia) * Nearctic realm ** California chaparral and woodlands (United States) * Palearctic realm * Baccanico (berrywood) an area with a high density of all sorts of berry ("berry" in Italian "bacca") trees. ** Canary Islands dry woodlands and forests (Spain) ** Mediterranean acacia-argania dry woodlands and succulent thickets (Morocco, Canary Islands (Spain)) ** Mediterranean dry woodlands and steppe (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia) ** Mediterranean woodlands and forests (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) ** Southeastern Iberian shrubs and woodlands (Spain)

Deserts and xeric shrublands

* Afrotropical realm ** East Saharan montane xeric woodlands (Chad, Sudan) ** Madagascar succulent woodlands (Madagascar) ** Somali montane xeric woodlands (Somalia) ** Southwestern Arabian montane woodlands (Saudi Arabia, Yemen) * Palearctic realm ** Baluchistan xeric woodlands (Afghanistan, Pakistan) ** Central Afghan Mountains xeric woodlands (Afghanistan) ** Central Asian riparian woodlands (Kazakhstan) ** North Saharan steppe and woodlands (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco Tunisia, Western Sahara) ** Paropamisus xeric woodlands (Afghanistan) ** South Saharan steppe and woodlands (Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan) ** Tibesti-Jebel Uweinat montane xeric woodlands (Chad, Egypt, Libya, Sudan) ** West Saharan montane xeric woodlands (Algeria, Mali, Mauritania, Niger)

See also


External links

The UK Woodland Trust

Woodland Bond
{{Vegetation Category:Forests Category:Habitats