Woodland Glossary

Woodland, like many things, has its own language. Whether your new to woodland or an experienced forester we hope to reveal the meaning behind some of the words of the woodland.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H |I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


acre - a unit of land equal to 43, 560 square feet; a square parcel of land approximately 208.5 feet on each side.

aesthetics - the forest value, rooted in beauty and visual appreciation, affording inspiration, contributing to the arts, and providing a special quality of life.

aspect - the compass direction toward which a slope faces.



biodiversity - the variety of life in all its forms and all its levels of organisation. Biodiversity refers to diversity of genetics, species, ecosystems, and landscapes.

biomass - the lowest value forest product. Usually consists of stems, branches, bark, etc., that cannot be marketed in any other way. Chipped and used as fuel.

broadleaf - a tree with broad leaves rather than needles.

bryophytes - one of the main groups of the plant kingdom, comprising mosses and liverworts.

buck - to saw a felled tree into shorter lengths. A skilled logger knows the markets and can increase the value of the tree by bucking it to fit the available markets.

buffer strip - a narrow zone or strip of land, trees, or vegetation bordering an area. Common examples include visual buffers, which screen the view along roads, and streamside buffers, which are used to protect water quality. Vegetation left along a stream, lake or wetland to protect aquatic life and water quality. Buffer strips filter sediment, provide food, maintain cool water temperatures, and may increase diversity within a landscape.

bumper tree - trees near skid trails used as pivot points to turn a load of logs, usually resulting in severe injury to the bumper trees. In skid trail layout, bumper trees are left in place to protect high quality trees from skidding damage.

butt log - a log cut from the bole immediately above the stump.



canopy - the more or less continuous cover formed by tree crowns in a forest.

clearcut - a forest harvesting practice in most or all trees are removed from a site. Clearcuts are used for immediate commercial purposes and for regeneration of future forests. Clearcuts in Maine are defined by State Statute.

canopy - the uppermost layer of vegetation in woodland, or the upper foliage and branches of an individual tree.

carr - woodland in a wet or boggy area, usually containing alder or willow.

clearfell - removal of all trees in an area.

coed - welsh word for a wood.

community forest - the 'Forests for the Community' initiative was launched in 1989 by the then Countryside Commission and Forestry Commission, to promote the vision of forested landscapes on the doorsteps of towns and cities as places for work and leisure. Twelve Community Forests have been established in England.

conifer - a tree which has needles rather than broad leaves and which typically bears cones eg. yew, pine, fir, spruce. Most conifers in Britain are not native, but have been introduced for commercial forestry.

coppice - trees which are cut back to near ground level every few years and which grow again from the stump or stool. The many straight stems which grow from each stool are used for firewood, tools and other purposes. The word is also used as a verb, meaning "to cut coppice trees".

coppice rotation - the cycle of cutting back and regrowth in coppiced woodland, usually between 3 and 25 years

coppice-with-standards - a two-storey woodland management system where among the coppice (or "underwood") some trees are left to grow on as larger size timber ("standards")

cull - trees or logs which are rejected, or volumes deducted in log scaling because of a defect.

cutting cycle - the period of time between major harvests in a stand, usually determined by the type of management being practiced, the condition and type of the forest, and the growing conditions of the soil.



deciduous - shedding or losing leaves annually. Trees such as maple, ash, cherry, and larch are deciduous.

deed - a legal document used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.

dominant - trees whose crowns extend above those of surrounding trees which capture sunlight from above and on one or more side of the crown.

dutch elm disease - fungal tree disease first introduced to this country in the 1930s, carried by beetles. Since the 1960s it has devastated the elm population of the UK.



easement - see conservation easement.

ecology - the study of interactions between organisms and their environment.

ecosystem - organisms and the physical, chemical, and biological factors that make up their environment.

edge - the boundary between two ecological communities, for example, field and woodland. Edges often provide habitat for certain wildlife species.

endangered or threatened species - a species is endangered when the total number of remaining members may not be sufficient to reproduce enough offspring to ensure survival of the species. A threatened species exhibits declining or dangerously low populations but still has enough members to maintain or increase numbers.

epicormic branching - branches that grow out of the main stem of a hardwood tree from dormant buds produced under the bark, usually in response to damage or an increase in light. Severe epicormic branching increases knottiness and reduces lumber quality.

even-aged stand - a stand in which most trees originated around the same time (i.e. the age difference between the oldest and youngest trees is minimal, usually no greater than 10 to 20 years. ) Even-aged stands result from cutting of all the trees in a stand within a relatively short period of time, major natural disturbances (such as fire), or reversion of cleared land to forest.

even-aged management - managing a forest or forest stand to produce a forest of trees of the same relative age. Even-aged management techniques include intermediate treatments, clearcuts, patch clearcuts, and shelterwood cuts.

exotic species (non-native species) - species from other countries not naturally found growing in Britain. (See Native Species)



felling - the cutting of standing trees.

field layer - layer of small non-woody herbaceous plants eg. bluebells, daffodils, ferns.

forest - see woodland.

forest management - the application of sound forestry principles and practices to the operation of the woodlands.

forest types - associations of tree species that have similar ecological requirements. Some common forest types in Maine are spruce-fir, northern hardwoods, pine-oak, and poplar birch. Often types are simplified into hardwood, softwood, and mixed wood.

forestry - the art, science, and craft of tending woodlands to derive benefits to humans.



glade - an open space in a wood.

green belt - an area of open land retained round a city or town over which there are wide-ranging planning restrictions upon development.



habitat - the ecosystem in which a plant or animal lives and depends on for cover, breeding sites, food, and water.

hardwoods - a general term encompassing broadleaf, deciduous trees.

high forest - method of woodland management to encourage straight, single-stemmed trees which are often felled for timber when mature.

herbaceous vegetation - low-growing, non-woody plants, including wildflowers and ferns.



No glossary entries.



No glossary entries.


No glossary entries.


landing - a cleared area within or adjacent to a timber harvest where logs or tree length material are processed, piled, stored and loaded for transport to a sawmill or other facility. See also yard.

landowner - an owner of land

limestone pavement - areas of limestone broken up by deep cracks known as grykes. Grykes can harbour a wide range of species which are not found in the surrounding countryside.



mixed woodland - woodland made up of broadleaved and coniferous trees.



national tree week - an annual celebration of trees and tree planting promoted by the Tree Council.

national forest - an initiative of the Countryside Agency to create nearly 500 square kilometres (194 square miles) of forest in Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire.

national nature reserve (NNR) - areas which represent the best examples of different kinds of countryside or contain unusual communities of plants or animals or important natural features such as rock exposures or gorges. Designated by English Nature, Countryside Council for Wales or Scottish Natural Heritage.

national parks - the first National Park was designated in 1949 to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of certain areas whilst promoting their enjoyment by the public. There are now II National Parks in England and Wales.

national scenic area (NSA) - scottish designation which is comparable with the AONB designation in England and Wales.

native species - species which arrived in Britain in prehistoric times after the last Ice Age and before the English Channel formed.

natural regeneration - the perpetuation of a tree or plant species without human interference, i.e. from seed, suckering etc.



overstocked - the situation in which trees are so closely spaced that they compete for resources and do not reach full growth potential.

overstory - the level of forest canopy that includes the crowns of dominant, codominant, and intermediate trees.



pesticide - any chemical used to control undesirable insects, vegetation or animals, or to guard against or treat a forest health problem.

pollard - tree which is cut at eight to twelve feet above ground level and allowed to grow again from the stump to produce successive crops of wood.

primary woodland - land which has never been anything other than woodland since the end of the last Ice Age, although it may have been regularly harvested.

pruning - the act of sawing or cutting branches from a living tree. In forest management, pruning is done to promote the growth of clear wood free of knots, from which more valuable, knot-free boards can be sawn. Pruning is usually done in conjunction with a thinning.

pulp/ pulpwood - wood suitable for use in paper manufacturing.



No glossary entries.


regeneration - the process by which a forest is reseeded and renewed. Advance regeneration refers to regeneration that is established before the existing forest stand is removed.

replanted ancient woodland - ancient woodland which has at least once been cleared and replanted with new trees (usually conifers to replace broadleaves). This has generally taken place over the last 200 years.

rides - open trackways cut through woods originally for the extraction of timber.

rods - the wood taken from coppiced trees and used to make hurdles.

rot - a tree defect characterised by woody decay in a standing tree or log.



scheduled ancient monument (SAM) - an archaeological site of importance listed by English Heritage.

secondary woodland - woodland formed on sites since 1600 AD which have formerly been under farmland, moorland or some other nonwoodland use.

semi-natural ancient woodland (SNAW) - woodland dating back to at least 1600 AD comprising mainly native species which appear not to have been planted, but which may well have been managed at some period during history.

sessile - without a stalk [e.g. sessile oak, so called because of its stalkless acorns.

shelterwood system - a stand is cleared in two or more successive fellings (known as 'regeneration fellings'). The new stand is established between the first and the last regeneration fellings, often by natural regeneration. Although stands are more-or-less even-aged, a two-aged structure is temporarily created during regeneration.

shrub layer - formed by woody plants between 3 and 30 feet tall.

site of special scientific interest (SSSI) - SSSI's are notified by English Nature, Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage because of the presence of important plants, animals or geological or physiographical features.

spinney - a small wood or thicket.

stand - trees of one type or species [e.g. coppice, alder] grouped together within a woodland.

standard - a woodland or hedgerow tree having a single stem, and left to grow for several coppice rotations, so as to be suitable for timber.

stool - permanent base or stump of a coppiced tree.

succession - the gradual alteration of an area of vegetation changing by more or less natural processes, usually involving the arrival and decline of species.

sustainability - the ability of the natural environment to supply goods and services to humans for the indefinite future.



thinning - a partial cut in an immature, overstocked stand of trees used to increase the stand's value growth by concentrating on individuals with the best potential.

tithe - a small part or tenth of the produce of the land, originally paid as rent to the church.

tithe map and award - documents, mostly compiled between 1830 and 1845, recording the ownership, value and use of land within a parish.

tree preservation order (TPO) - an order made by a local planning authority which in general makes it an offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy trees without the planning authority's permission.

tumulus - a mound dating from prehistoric times built over a burial place.



understocked - a stand of trees so widely spaced that crown closure will not occur; such stands typically do not fully occupy the site nor can they achieve the site's full growth potential.

understory - the smaller vegetation (shrubs, seedlings, saplings, small trees) within a forest stand, occupying the vertical zone between the overstory and the herbaceous plants of the forest floor.

underwood - an alternative name for an area of coppice trees, particularly in the coppice with standards management system.



veneer log - a high-quality log of a desirable species suitable for conversion to veneer. Veneer logs must be large, straight, of minimum taper, and free from defects.

vernal pool - an ephemeral body of water that fills in the spring, holds water for at least 10 days, and dries up by fall some or all years and that does not contain fish. Vernal pools are extremely important habitat for a variety of amphibians and reptiles.

virgin forest - see old-growth forest.



water table - level within the ground below which the pores of soil or rock are saturated with water.

weeding - the removal of all plants competing with a crop species, regardless of whether their crowns are above, beside, or below those of the desirable trees. Removal of diseased, damaged, and poor quality trees.

well-stocked - the situation in which a forest stand contains trees spaced widely enough to prevent competition yet closely enough to utilise the entire site.

wet flush - an area of soil in which nutrients accumulate due to water inflow.

wildwood - the original forest which developed in Britain as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age.

windblow/windthrow - damage caused to trees by the wind.

woodbank - a boundary bank surrounding a wood or subdividing it internally.

woodland - a biological community dominated by trees and other woody plants.



No glossary entries.


No glossary entries.


No glossary entries.