3 Major Types of Forest & the 11 Sub-Types

For hundreds of millions of years, different types of forests have been changing, physically altering the face of the planet as various forest kinds grew and adapted to shifting climatic conditions.

Simply said, a forest is a huge area with a significant number of trees.

Forest is a minimum “Land spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent or trees able to reach these thresholds in situIt does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban use.”

The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)

According to the FAO’s definition, the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020) discovered that forests covered 4.06 billion square kilometers or about 31% of the earth’s surface, and that these forests contained 3.04 trillion trees.

Yet, woods can be found in arid, humid, arctic, and sweltering conditions. An ecosystem in a forest is a group of creatures that coexist there.

There are various forest types, which are mainly divided based on how far away from the equator they are. And if we comprehend the value of forests, we would be aware that a world devoid of trees could mean the end of all life, including ourselves.

According to a recent Yale University study, there are currently 422 trees accessible for every single person. Compared to this estimate, there were 46% more trees in existence 1,000 years ago.

Let’s investigate the various kinds of forests in that context.

3 Major Types of Forest & the 11 Sub-Types

Latitude, precipitation totals, patterns, or macroclimate all serve as general classifications for forests. Here, we’ll talk about the tropical, temperate, and boreal forests, the three main latitude-based forest types.

The location, climate, temperature, flora, fauna, and last but not least, the sub-categories are further broken down into these primary sorts.

So let’s explore the forests more thoroughly.

  • Tropical Forest
  • Temperate Forest
  • Boreal Forest

1. Tropical Forests

As a result of the nearly constant rainfall, tropical forests are essentially rainforests. Here, each month sees an average of 60 mm of precipitation.

The world’s largest tropical rainforest is found in South America’s Amazon. Four qualities set tropical rainforests apart from other types of woods.

  • Very high annual rainfall
  • High average temperatures 
  • Nutrient-poor soil
  • High levels of biodiversity


Latitudes 23.5o N and 23.5o S are where you can find tropical rainforests. The Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn are these two. They are based in Australia, Central and South America, Western, and Central Africa, Western Asia, Southeast Asia, and the island of New Guinea amongst them, Brazil has the largest share of 3.17 million sq km.


Among all habitats on earth, tropical rainforests have the greatest variety of species. They don’t have winter, yet they typically get 100 inches of rain a year.

Due to the high temperatures and humid air in these woodlands, decomposition occurs remarkably quickly. In general, heavy rains cause the soil’s nutrients to wash away. This explains why tropical rainforest soils are deficient in nutrients.


During the year, these woodlands have temperatures between [20°C] 68o and [25°C] 77o Fahrenheit.

Flora and Fauna

Two-thirds of all plant species worldwide can be found in tropical rainforests. This date back 100 million years in certain cases. The majority of the trees in these forests have broad leaves and can reach heights of 82 to 115 feet. Additional plant life includes palm trees, ferns, mosses, vines, and ferns.

Due to the densely populated trees that form a high canopy, the sun hardly ever reaches the forest’s lower levels. Hence, the majority of wildlife found in tropical rainforests has evolved to live in trees.

These woodlands are home to a vast range of birds, snakes, bats, and monkeys. Tropical rainforests are thought to be home to nearly half of all animal species on the planet.


Various categories of tropical forests include:

  • Evergreen: Evergreen forests never experience a dry season and receive rain all year long.
  • Seasonal: They experience a brief dry season and evergreen vegetation
  • Dry: The trees in these forests lose their leaves over a protracted dry season.
  • Montane: Often referred to as “cloud woods,” these areas get the majority of their precipitation from lowland fog or mist.
  • Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests: These ecosystems feature a dry, warm temperature, and conifers that can withstand changing weather.
  • Subtropical: In contrast to tropical woods, subtropical forests are found to the north and south. Here, trees are adapted to withstand the summer dryness.

2. Temperate Forests

The second-largest biome on Earth is temperate woods. Almost 25% of the world’s forest land is covered by them. Forests are temperate woodlands that can be distinguished by five features. They include,

  • Tree leaves are stacked in strata
  • Trees have a lengthy
  • Warm growing season
  • Plenty of rainfall
  • Typically good soil
  • Trees are dormant in the winter
  • Flat and broadleaf trees


In both hemispheres, temperate forests can be found between latitudes of 25° and 50°. Eastern United States, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Czech Republic, China, Japan, South Korea, and portions of Russia are among the nations that have this type of forest.


A temperate climate experiences chilly winters, humid, hot summers, and year-round precipitation.  The annual average rainfall in temperate coniferous forests ranges from 50 to 200 inches, while it ranges from 30 to 60 inches in temperate deciduous woods. Here, the soils are rich and damp.


Temperate woodlands often have annual temperatures of 10° C. It fluctuates between -30°C (-22°F) and 30°C (86°F) every day.

Flora and Fauna

Three tiers of plants with a wide range of species are often present in temperate forests. Lichen, moss, ferns, wildflowers, and other tiny plants are all present on the forest floor.

The intermediate level comprises shrubs, and the top level comprises hardwood trees including maple, beech, sycamore, oak, aspen, walnut, lime, chestnut, birch, elm, cypress, cedar, pine, douglas fir, redwood, and spruce.

Around the planet, all temperate woods have the same type of plant. Because of this, the animals and birds share a similar geographical type. In this biome, a variety of animals including black bears, deer, raccoons, opossums, porcupines, elks, and red foxes coexist alongside hawks, cardinals, spotted owls, and pileated woodpeckers.


There are two subcategories of temperate forests:

  • Temperate Deciduous forests
  • Temperate Coniferous forests

3. Boreal Forests

Boreas, the Greek God of the North Wind, is where the word “boreal” originates. Boreal forests, often called Taiga forests, are forests that thrive in frigid climates and have a minimum tree height of 5 meters and a 10% canopy cover. Boreal or taiga woods differ from other types of forests in that they:

  • Evergreen trees 
  • Cold weather
  • Dry climate
  • The thin layer of soil
  • Short growing season


The latitudes between 50o and 60o N are where the boreal forests are found. They can be found in Scandinavia, Canada, Northern Asia, and Siberia. Being the greatest portion of the entire boreal region, Canada is home to around 28% of the world’s boreal forests.


Short summers and long winters are characteristics of taiga woods’ climate. Each year, they receive between 15 and 40 inches of precipitation, most of which is snow. Due to the freezing temperatures that slow down decomposition, these forests typically have thin soil.


Boreal woods experience temperatures that range from 21°C in the summer to -54°C in the winter.

Flora and Fauna

The majority of the trees in boreal woods are evergreen. Some instances of the trees include spruce, fir, pine, tamarack, trembling aspen, balsam poplar, and birch. Due to the dense canopy, the forest floor has little flora.

The majority of the animals that dwell in these forests have thick coats and are accustomed to the harsh winters. There will likely be moose, snowshoe hares, beavers, black bears, elks, wood bison, lynxes, yellow perch, northern pike, walleye, wolves, and wolverines, as well as a large variety of shorebirds, songbirds, and raptors.


The boreal forest is typically classified into three subzones in nations like Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland:

  • High Boreal (northern boreal/taiga zone)
  • Middle Boreal (closed forest)
  • Southern Boreal (closed canopy)

Let’s examine the significance of forests now that you are familiar with their basic types.


Large expanses covered in trees, or forests, make up around one-third of the earth’s surface. There are countless advantages that forests provide to their residents and the variety of life. They support biodiversity, maintain climate stability, and promote economic growth.

They also hold the second-largest amount of carbon on the earth, behind the oceans. The protection of forests against deforestation and other negative effects of human civilization is therefore essential.

So, let’s join hands to protect our forest, let’s plant and replant more trees.


+ posts

A passion-driven environmentalist by heart. Lead content writer at EnvironmentGo.
I strive to educate the public about the environment and its problems.
It has always been about nature, we ought to protect not destroy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *