Forest Terminology Explained


While undertaking research, you or your students may come across some terms that may need explaining, so we have made it easy for you below. 

*FURTHER INFORMATION: The Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (ABARES) has produced an "Australia's forests and forestry glossary" (2020) found here -

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A bushfire preventative technique that involves lighting a controlled fire at a safe point to burn back towards the front of the bushfire. Also see bushfire, controlled burning, wildfire.

Basal area (BA)

The cross-sectional area of a tree at breast height (1.3m) expressed in square metres (m2). It's a tool used to calculate sustainable timber yield.


Material capable of being decomposed e.g. wood.


The genetic variety of life forms and their ecosystems. Comprises genetic diversity (within species), species diversity (between species) and ecosystem diversity. Also see ecosystem.


The tree trunk from the ground to the crown break. The bole doesn't include major branches supporting the tree crown, and may/not be straight.


Section of the bole that is utilizable for a commercial product and is cut square at both ends to be made ready for delivery for processing.

Breast height

1.3m above the ground. This is the standard height at which a tree diameter is measured. Also see basal area, DBH.

Broadleaf forests

The general description of forests composed principally of trees and shrubs of the botanical group of flowering species which is in contrast to conifers or pines.


A wildfire burning through bushland such as a State forest. Also see wildfire.