The New Student's Reference Work/Forest

For′est. Forests may be considered as the climax of the world's vegetation, but conditions favoring their development do not exist everywhere. There are many types characteristic of different regions. The prevailing type of temperate regions is the deciduous forest. Sometimes it is nearly pure, as in beech-forests, oak-forests, etc.; but the more common type in the United States is the mixed forest, consisting of a mingling of numerous trees, as maple, elm, hickory, oak, beech, walnut, poplar, gum, etc. The deciduous forests of the United States are much finer than those of Europe, where the varieties are not so numerous and the trees are not so well-developed. Coniferous or evergreen forests are common in mountain regions and on sterile soils, extensive forests of this kind occurring in the lake-states, gulf-states and in the western mountains. The greatest of all forests are in the rainy tropics, as in the Amazon region, where the forests form jungles dripping with moisture, the trees being interlaced with vines and covered with air-plants. The scientific handling of forests is called forestry, (see Forest-Service) which involves not so much the preservation of forests, as proper care and cutting, by means of which they may be preserved and still yield the timber necessary for the world's use. A division of forestry has been organized by the Department of Agriculture in Washington, which has charge of this subject in the United States. Foreign countries, as France and Germany, are far in advance of the United States in the proper management of forests.