Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Forests are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem on Earth. We review the environmental factors controlling their structure and global distribution and evaluate their current and future trajectory. Adaptations of trees to climate and resource gradients, coupled with disturbances and forest dynamics, create complex geographical patterns in forest assemblages and structures. These patterns are increasingly discernible through new satellite and airborne observation systems, improved forest inventories, and global ecosystem models. Forest biomass is a complex property affected by forest distribution, structure, and ecological processes. Since at least 1990, biomass density has consistently increased in global established forests, despite increasing mortality in some regions, suggesting that a global driver such as elevated CO2 may be enhancing biomass gains. Global forests have also apparently become more dynamic. Advanced information about the structure, distribution, and biomass of the world's forests provides critical ecological insights and opportunities for sustainable forest management and enhancing forest conservation and ecosystem services.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Pan, Yude; Birdsey, Richard A.; Phillips, Oliver L.; Jackson, Robert B. 2013. The structure, distribution, and biomass of the world's forests. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics. 44(1): 593-622.


    Google Scholar


    biogeographic gradients, landscape-scale diversity, forest productivity and mortality, carbon stock and budget, forest inventory, remote sensing, global environmental change

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page