Domestic Encyclopædia (1802)/Forest

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FOREST, generally speaking, signifies a large tract of land, covered with trees.

The principal forests in this country are those of Sherwood, Windsor, the New Forest, that of Dean, on the north of the river Severn, and Epping-forest, in the county of Essex. There are, besides, several smaller forests, the total extent of which, together with those just enumerated, amounts to about 300,000 acres. The utility of forests, to a commercial nation, is very great; as, by the quantity of timber they afford, a considerable expence may he saved, which must otherwise be incurred by the importation of materials for ship-building.

Independently of these considerations, forests of a moderate extent are a national ornament, especially if they do not occupy such lands as could be more usefully employed in agriculture. Formerly, England abounded with woods, and was celebrated for its lofty and majestic oak, which, however, of late years has become scarce. On the contrary, various large tracts of uncultivated ground might now be advantageously planted with larch, fir, and other trees; but, as these expensive undertakings are beyond the ability of private individuals, it is to be hoped that the Commissioners of the Land Revenue will be able speedily to carry so patriotic a measure into effect.—See Plantation.