VOA名师答疑2023--Woods, Forests and Jungles

时间:2023-05-25 01:39:07



Woods, Forests and Jungles

Hello! This week on Ask a Teacher, we answer a question about the difference between "woods," "forests," and "jungles."


Hello Teacher!

This is Sumaira from Pakistan.

I have been listening to the podcast since August 2022. I am so glad that it helps me to improve my listening skills.

I want to ask you about the difference between the words "woods," "forest" and "jungle."




Thanks for writing to us, Sumaira. I love this question because I grew up playing in the woods a lot as a child.

Let's start with the word "woods"


Woods are areas covered with tall growing trees. They are smaller than a forest. The word appears in the singular form, "a wood," especially in British English.

The main difference between "woods" and a "forest" is the size of the land area and the amount of ground fully1 covered by trees called the canopy2. There are several definitions for a forest. The U.S. National Vegetation Classification system classifies a forest as having 60 to 100 percent of the land covered by the tree canopy. The same system says "woods" are classified as having only 25 to 60 percent of the land covered by the tree canopy. A wood can be small so long as it is bigger than a grouping of trees.


A "forest" is a larger area where tall trees grow close together largely covering the ground below. There are three main kinds of forests found around the world.

The first are temperate3 deciduous4 forests. Deciduous means that the trees' leaves turn different colors and fall off each year. These forests exist where the climate has four seasons and the temperature changes throughout the year.

Many forests in Europe, the United States and parts of Canada are temperate deciduous forests. Animals that you would find in these forests include bears, deer, squirrels, owls5 and snakes.

Boreal forests are found in colder climates that often have freezing temperatures. They are found in places around the Baltic Sea, Siberia, Northern Canada and Alaska. Animals you would find in a boreal forest include reindeer6, moose, Artic hares, wolves and wolverines.

Tropical forests are found near the equator in warmer, more humid climates. These forests experience two seasons, a rainy season and a dry season. In some tropical forests, the trees' leaves will fall off in the dry season just like deciduous forests. Tropical forests are found in places like India, Northern Australia, parts of Mexico and Bolivia and and in northwestern South America, on the Pacific Coast.

This brings us to our next word, which is "jungle."


The word "jungle" is a common term, not a scientific one, for forests found in the tropics. They are very dense7 and have a lot of undergrowth which means many of the plants and vegetation grow close to the ground. This undergrowth becomes tangled9 together and is extremely difficult to walk through.

Animals you would find in a tropical jungle include primates10 like gorillas11 and monkeys; birds like parrots; and reptiles12 like tropical snakes and lizards13.

Sometimes the word "jungle" is used to describe a rainforest. But a rainforest is another kind of forest. It has high rainfall throughout much of the year. The largest tropical rainforest is the Amazon Rainforest in South America. There are also temperate rainforests in the Pacific Northwest in the United States.

Please let us know if these explanations and examples have helped you, Sumaira.

What question do you have about American English? Send us an email at [email protected]

Words in This Story

classify – v. to organize things into groups by their type, size, or qualities

temperate – adj. moderate climate that lacks extremes

boreal – adj. of or relating to northern areas and regions

tropical – adj. of or occurring in the tropics

equator – n. an imaginary line drawn14 around the earth equally distant from both poles, the parallel of latitude15

vegetation – n. plants in general: plants that cover a particular area

tangle8 - v. to become or cause (something) to become twisted together



1 fully Gfuzd     
  • The doctor asked me to breathe in,then to breathe out fully.医生让我先吸气,然后全部呼出。
  • They soon became fully integrated into the local community.他们很快就完全融入了当地人的圈子。
2 canopy Rczya     
  • The trees formed a leafy canopy above their heads.树木在他们头顶上空形成了一个枝叶茂盛的遮篷。
  • They lay down under a canopy of stars.他们躺在繁星点点的天幕下。
3 temperate tIhzd     
  • Asia extends across the frigid,temperate and tropical zones.亚洲地跨寒、温、热三带。
  • Great Britain has a temperate climate.英国气候温和。
4 deciduous 992yy     
  • Overgrown deciduous shrubs can be cut back at this time of year.过于繁茂的落叶灌木可以在每年的这个时候修剪。
  • Deciduous trees shed their leaves in autumn.落叶树木在秋天落叶。
5 owls 7b4601ac7f6fe54f86669548acc46286     
n.猫头鹰( owl的名词复数 )
  • 'Clumsy fellows,'said I; 'they must still be drunk as owls.' “这些笨蛋,”我说,“他们大概还醉得像死猪一样。” 来自英汉文学 - 金银岛
  • The great majority of barn owls are reared in captivity. 大多数仓鸮都是笼养的。 来自辞典例句
6 reindeer WBfzw     
  • The herd of reindeer was being trailed by a pack of wolves.那群驯鹿被一只狼群寻踪追赶上来。
  • The life of the Reindeer men was a frontier life.驯鹿时代人的生活是一种边区生活。
7 dense aONzX     
  • The general ambushed his troops in the dense woods. 将军把部队埋伏在浓密的树林里。
  • The path was completely covered by the dense foliage. 小路被树叶厚厚地盖了一层。
8 tangle yIQzn     
  • I shouldn't tangle with Peter.He is bigger than me.我不应该与彼特吵架。他的块头比我大。
  • If I were you, I wouldn't tangle with them.我要是你,我就不跟他们争吵。
9 tangled e487ee1bc1477d6c2828d91e94c01c6e     
adj. 纠缠的,紊乱的 动词tangle的过去式和过去分词
  • Your hair's so tangled that I can't comb it. 你的头发太乱了,我梳不动。
  • A movement caught his eye in the tangled undergrowth. 乱灌木丛里的晃动引起了他的注意。
10 primates 9536f12c27d026e37c108bd6fc53dbba     
  • Primates are alert, inquisitive animals. 灵长目动物是机灵、好奇的动物。
  • Consciousness or cerebration has been said to have emerged in the evolution of higher primates. 据说意识或思考在较高级灵长类的进化中已出现。
11 gorillas a04bd21e2b9b42b0d71bbb65c0c6d365     
n.大猩猩( gorilla的名词复数 );暴徒,打手
  • the similitude between humans and gorillas 人类和大猩猩的相像
  • Each family of gorillas is led by a great silverbacked patriarch. 每个大星星家族都由一个魁梧的、长着银色被毛的族长带领着。 来自《简明英汉词典》
12 reptiles 45053265723f59bd84cf4af2b15def8e     
n.爬行动物,爬虫( reptile的名词复数 )
  • Snakes and crocodiles are both reptiles. 蛇和鳄鱼都是爬行动物。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Birds, reptiles and insects come from eggs. 鸟类、爬虫及昆虫是卵生的。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
13 lizards 9e3fa64f20794483b9c33d06297dcbfb     
n.蜥蜴( lizard的名词复数 )
  • Nothing lives in Pompeii except crickets and beetles and lizards. 在庞培城里除了蟋蟀、甲壳虫和蜥蜴外,没有别的生物。 来自辞典例句
  • Can lizards reproduce their tails? 蜥蜴的尾巴断了以后能再生吗? 来自辞典例句
14 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
15 latitude i23xV     
  • The latitude of the island is 20 degrees south.该岛的纬度是南纬20度。
  • The two cities are at approximately the same latitude.这两个城市差不多位于同一纬度上。

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