Difference Between Forest and Jungle

Forest vs Jungle

Because jungle and forest appear to be two words in English language that confuse many people , this article explains to you the difference between forest and jungle. Are they synonyms? Do they mean the same? Can jungle be used for every instance where forest is to be used? These are the questions that need to be answered. This article will explain the differences to clear any misunderstanding on this count.

Though one can find use of Jungle with reference to a forested area, writers find it more suitable when they are describing a geographical area in Asia or Africa rather than Europe or America. However, there are people who have seen jungles in India and other parts of Asia as well as forests in the western world are of the opinion that differences do exist (and it may be due to difference in weather conditions and natural vegetation rather than anything else).

What is a Forest?

A forest generally means any wooded land and is present in both equatorial and tropical climatic zones. Forests contain all types of trees, but not many varieties of trees are found in a single forest. Their area is quite large and they are penetrable. They have a high density of trees and are found in all regions that are capable of sustaining tree growth. They can be boreal, rainforest or tropical forests. Now, according to the Oxford English dictionary, the definition of forest goes as follows. A forest is ” a large area covered chiefly with trees and undergrowth.”

Difference Between Forest and Jungle

What is a Jungle?

The word Jungle has been derived from Hindi language where it surprisingly means forests. However, the actual origin of the word can be traced back to the word ‘jangala‘ in Sanskrit. The word became popular and got incorporated into English language after Rudyard Kipling immortalized the character of jungle boy Mowgli in his novel Jungle Book. It is not just Jungle that is used widely in the western world but there is a plethora of Hindi words that find their way in English dictionaries such as Pajamas, Bungalow, Thug, Juggernaut, Pundit, and so on. It is a result of cross-cultural absorption.

As mentioned before, the word is derived from Hindi language meaning forests only. They are present in both tropical and equatorial climatic conditions. They mostly include young trees and dense bushes. They are impenetrable in the sense that even sunlight is not able to penetrate them properly. They are not vast when compared to forests. Jungles are mostly found at the edges of forests. Jungles are mainly a type of tropical rainforest. Moreover, this is how the Oxford English dictionary puts the definition of a jungle. A jungle is ” an area of land overgrown with dense forest and tangled vegetation, typically in the tropics.”

What is the difference between Forest and Jungle?

• Jungle and forest have come to be used for similar geographical areas covered with trees and bushes.

• Jungle comes from Hindi language whereas forest is the original English word.

• Jungle is a type of rainforest.

• Jungle is smaller than a forest.

Images Courtesy: 

  1. Appalachian Cove forest by Miguel.v (CC BY-SA 3.0)