Tag:natural=wood

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Public-images-osm logo.svg natural = wood
Biogradska suma.jpg
Description
Woodland with no forestry. See also landuse=forest
Used on these elements
may be used on nodes
should not be used on ways
may be used on areas
use on relations unspecified
Useful combination
See also
landuse=forest
Status: Approved

Description

Woodland where timber production does not dominate use. There are major differences in the way this tag & landuse=forest are used by Openstreetmap users. Some use this tag to show an area is covered in trees, others use it for woodland not impacted by human maintenance. This problem is explained below under Notes

Tagging

Tagging scheme for natural=wood
Tag Notes Example
name=* Name of woodland.
wood=* Type of woodland. coniferous, deciduous, palm, mixed

proposed extension

Tag Notes Example
type=* Do trees keep leaves all year? deciduous, evergreen, mixed

Rendering

Mapnik Osmarender OpenCycleMap

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Notes

When tagging woodland, three approaches are advocated by different groups:

Firstly, forestry is commonly used in Openstreetmap to describe the use of land to grow trees for timber, paper, etc.

Approach 1

  • natural=wood is used to mark areas covered by trees.
  • landuse=forest is used to mark areas of land managed for forestry.
  • woodland=virgin is used to mark areas of virgin woodland unmanaged by man.

Approach 2

  • landuse=forest is used for maintained or managed woodland. This approach views most woodland as managed or maintained especially in areas such as Europe.
  • natural=wood is used for ancient or virgin woodland, with no forestry use.

Approach 3

  • wood=* is used to mark the presence or absence of trees.
  • natural=wood is used to mark areas of unmanaged forest. It implies wood=yes
  • landuse=forest is used to mark areas of managed forest. It implies wood=yes

Discussion

The use of these tags has become the subject of much debate due to inconsistent application, and wooly term usage.

Advantages of each approach

  • Approach 1
    • Tags appear consistent – having trees on is not a "land use".
    • Allows for woods to be marked in areas where other landuses exist (e.g. areas of trees in the middle of a quarry)
    • Does not require the tagger to make a distinction between managed and virgin woodland, which can be near impossible to make even for someone surveying the area.
    • Allows for tagging of areas of commercial forestry which are not currently wooded (landuse=forest + natural=scrub).
    • Is more consistent with tagging of other features such as reservoirs, which are tagged natural=water, along with their land use.
  • Approach 2
    • More commonly used after a bot was used to retag existing woodland this way.
  • Approach 3
    • As for Approach 1
    • Uses only existing tags.
    • Existing tagging largely retains its meaning.
    • Further landuses might be specified to distinguish between forest managed for decorative/leisure use, lumber/pulp production, or ecological improvement.

See also

Related terms: <woods> <forest>