What is a Forest?

 A forest is a biological community that is dominated by trees and other woody vegetation.

The forests of Illinois are temperate forests—they have four seasons.

More than 250 species of trees can be found throughout the forests of Illinois.


Originally, Illinois had 13.8 million acres of trees (shown in gray on the map). Today, we have about 4.3 million acres (shown in green).

Much of the forests were cleared for farming before settlers learned how valuable the prairie lands were for agriculture.

In addition, Illinois had a very important timber industry and forests were cleared for lumber and firewood.

Illinois forests are now increasing as more trees are planted.