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Annex 1: definitions

Developed countries

Forest: land with tree crown cover (stand density) of more than about 20 percent of the area. Continuous forest with trees usually growing to more than about 7 m in height and able to produce wood. This includes both closed forest formations where trees of various storeys and undergrowth cover a high proportion of the ground, and open forest formations with a continuous grass layer in which tree synusia cover at least 10 percent of the ground.

Other wooded land: land which has some forestry characteristics but is not forest as defined above. It includes open woodland and scrub, shrub and brushland (see below), whether or not used for pasture or range. It excludes land occupied by ‘trees outside the forest’.

Open woodland: land with tree crown cover (stand density) of about 5–20 percent of the area.

Scrub, shrub and brushland: land with scrub, shrub or stunted trees, where the main woody elements are shrubs (usually more than 50 cm and less than 7 m in height), covering more than about 20 percent of the area, not primarily used for agricultural or other non-forestry purposes, such as grazing of domestic animals.

Exploitable forest: forest and other wooded land on which there are no legal, economic or technical restrictions on wood production. It includes areas where, although there are no such restrictions, harvesting is not currently taking place, for example, areas included in long term utilization plans or intentions.

Developing countries

Forest: ecosystem with a minimum of 10 percent crown cover of trees and/or bamboos, generally associated with wild flora, fauna and natural soil conditions, and not subject to agricultural practices. The term forest is further subdivided, according to its origin, into two categories:

  1. Natural forests: a subset of forests composed of tree species known to be indigenous to the area.

  2. Plantation forests:

Deforestation: change of forest with depletion of tree crown cover to less than 10 percent. Changes within the forest class (from closed to open forest) which negatively affect the stand or site and, in particular, lower the production capacity, are termed forest degradation. Degradation is not reflected in the estimates.

Other wooded land includes the following:

  1. Forest fallow, consisting of all complexes of woody vegetation deriving from the clearing of natural forest for shifting agriculture. It consists of a mosaic of various succession phases and includes patches of uncleared forests and agriculture fields which cannot be realistically segregated and accounted for area-wise, especially from satellite imagery. Forest fallow is an intermediate class between forest and non-forest land uses. Part of the area which is not under cultivation may have the appearance of a secondary forest. Even the part currently under cultivation sometimes has the appearance of forest, due to presence of tree cover. Accurate separation between forest and forest fallow may not always be possible.

  2. Shrubs, referring to vegetation types where the dominant woody elements are shrubs with more than 50 cm and less than 5 metres height on maturity. The height limits for trees and shrubs should be interpreted with flexibility, particularly where the minimum tree and maximum shrub heights, which may vary between 5 and 7 metres approximately.

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