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森林在任何樹木可以生長的地方出現，不管屬哪一緯度。森林的樹木通常为不同的樹種，並有不同的高度。用生物學术语，森林也許從林地被區分:A forest has a more or less closed canopy, in which the branches and foliage of trees meet or interlock. A woodland has an open canopy, which allows some sunlight to penetrate between the trees (see also: savanna).
森林通常被根據佢地存在嘅生物群系嚟分類，並按照主要種類的樹葉壽命（佢地係唔係常青的或落葉嘅）。Boreal forests occupy the subarctic zone and are generally evergreen and needle-leaved. Temperate zones support both deciduous forests (e.g., temperate deciduous forest) and evergreen forests (e.g., temperate rainforest, chaparral). Tropical and subtropical forests include tropical rainforest, tropical moist forest and tropical dry forest.
The science of studying and managing forests, with a goal of sustainable extraction, is called forestry. Some ecologists also study forests.
Forests can be damaged by logging, forest fires, and acid rain. In the United States, most forests have been destroyed at some point, though in recent years environmental protection has allowed for a comeback in many areas. In a number of places, forests have been allowed, for one reason or another, to grow back.