Fact Sheet

Basic Facts About Forests

Forests occupy one third of the Earth's land area and are found on all corners of the globe. While there are a few different types of forests, all forests have trees as the dominant plant type.
Forest, © Trisha Flaherty
© Trisha Flaherty

Forests are divided into three different layers: the forest floor, the understory and the canopy. The forest floor is comprised of soil, dead plants and animals and small plants such as grasses and wildflowers. The understory contains small trees or bushes and is also called the shrub layer. The canopy is made up of the leaves and branches of the trees that dominate the forest.

More on Forest: Types of Forests »

You may also be interested in:

Sage-Grouse, Photo: USFWS Pacific Southwest Region
Where We Work
This office works to restore and protect imperiled wildlife and habitats in Washington, Oregon and Idaho
Win for Wildlife
In July 2010, in a 5-0 vote, the Colorado State Parks Board approved sweeping changes to the Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Grant Program that will give habitat restoration and law enforcement proposals the opportunity to receive a portion of the funds collected from OHV registration fees.
Polar bear, © Tom Schneider
Conservation Issue
Climate change is now one of the leading threats to wildlife. Find out what Defenders is doing to help animals around the country survive in a warming planet.