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Trees are a tile feature that can be found aboveground on all but the most arid or most mountainous of maps, and below ground in the caverns. The local variety of tree growth depends on biome and location, and what trees are native to those those conditions are a number of different species in the game. For example tropical areas often have palm trees, while colder areas feature Pines. nether-cap is an exception. It naturally exists at near freezing temperatures due to it having a very low internal temperature. This means it isn't affected in the slightest by climate and will grow anywhere underground. The only variation between the different species is in the weight and color of their wood.
Weight is often a minor concern but when using wood to create objects that will be moved, such as bins or buckets, choosing lighter wood is an advantage as it will be hauled faster. Heavier wood will make wooden weapons and siege engine projectiles more effective, while lighter wooden shields reduce penalties to speed while blocking just as well as heavier shields.
Nonetheless, all trees have the same intrinsic value (beyond the preferences of individual dwarves), although the color of the wood may matter for aesthetic purposes.
Viewed on their same z-level, many different sub-types of trees have their own symbol, such as
⌠. Some share the same symbol, but since the differences are only in preferences, this is not a significant problem (see table below for symbol pairings). For most purposes, a tree is a tree. Trees viewed from one z-level higher look like coloured rectangles (
■ ), appearing identical to coloured blocks floating in the air. Deciduous trees will change colour to red or yellow in autumn (
♠ ), and lose their leaves in winter (
╞ ) (controlled by the [AUTUMNCOLOR] tag). This does not affect their usefulness, and they may be cut down for wood regardless of season.
Chopping down trees yields wood (obviously), one of the game's most important resources. Without wood it is not possible to build beds, generate or transfer power, create ash, or power furnaces without magma (unless coal is available), and since wood is easily craftable many items become more difficult to craft. Thus a lack of trees can be an important deterministic factor in fortress development, as without a ready source of wood the player will be forced to rely on caravans for wood item production and possibly magma for metal-forging (that being said, it is not impossible to circumvent). The density of growth on the embark site is determined by the biome, and those are visible on the pre-embark screen by hitting F1, F2 etc. The tree density of the biome does not change as there are no climate shifts during game play, but heavy woodcutting activity will eventually strip any forest bare. Trees are currently not a source of food or other material, so it is not possible to harvest mangoes, maple syrup, nuts, rubber, etc. v0.34.11
Trees are a type of map tile and as such will form a solid barrier to movement, preventing channeling or the creation of walls and other constructions on their tile. This is problematic for caravan wagons, which require a path at least three tiles wide in order to access your fortress; on heavily forested maps it may be necessary to check depot access (D) every once in a while as trees continue to grow to make sure wagons can get through, and chop down (d-t) the impeding forest if they can't. Later on this can actually become a blessing, as if there is only one or a few pathways to the fortress it makes it easier to route incoming caravans down certain well-defended pathways, instead of allowing them to choose their own way across the map, where they may fall foul of ambushers or worse. It also makes building above-ground constructions more challenging, as any trees in the way must be chopped down first. Trees do not form a floor on the level above them (creatures cannot walk "on top of" trees), though both creatures and items can get stuck on top of trees if they manage to be thrown there. Currently there is no way to get down from the top of a tree in Adventure mode.
Trees grow from saplings, which start growing randomly on non-occupied tiles of a suitable biome; thus chopping down a forest may create a clearing, but within a couple of years a new forest will have grown. Saplings can be killed by heavy foot traffic, but not by flooding — they can survive submergence for extended periods of time and will still grow to maturity once the water level drops to 4/7[Verify] or lower. Dead saplings will remain for some seasons, and then disappear, more quickly if heavy traffic tramples them away. Growth from a sapling to a tree takes exactly 3 years. Many underground trees are called "young <tree>" instead of sapling, but the concept is the same. Saplings will not grow to maturity if their tile contains an item or building (including stockpile designations), though removing the item may cause the tree to spontaneously grow up. Paved roads and farm plots periodically purge all terrain features below them, preventing trees (or shrubs) from growing in unwanted areas. Trees cannot grow on stairs or ramps, making it possible to keep trees out of your plumbing by using up stairs instead of digging (this does not reveal the tile above). Above-ground trees will only grow in areas where there is sufficient soil 1 Z-level beneath them (currently observed to be at least one unmined tile within a two-tile radius); underground trees not only ignore this restriction for dry subterranean soil but will also grow on muddy subterranean stone. Additionally, saplings on soil cavern floors will block the construction of farm plots unless there is also a dusting or pile of mud beneath them.
Trees cannot be specifically "planted"; even if a map is stripped of all trees, new saplings will regrow, randomly and in their own time. Sadly, the elves do not seem to comprehend this. It is possible to farm trees by walling off or engineering a patch of soil and locking it away so your dwarves don't trample all over it, but it will take a long time for the farm to yield results. After you expose the caverns subterranean flora (including trees) will begin to grow on any exposed and previously bare soil within your fortress; this can be annoying when a copse of blood thorns suddenly appears in your sand collection area, but allows you to easily mine out large subterranean tree farms full of colorful subterranean trees.
List of Trees
|Tree Name||Tile||Biome / Habitat||Alignment||Deciduous||Density (g/cm3)||"Likes them for their..."|
||Tropical Dry Broadleaf Forest
||Any Temperate Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||Yes||0.410||catkins|
||Any Temperate Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||Yes||0.600||flying keys|
||Any Temperate Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||Yes||0.650||catkins|
||Subterranean Cavern (layers 2-3)||All||No||0.650||gloomy appeal|
||Subterranean Cavern (layer 3)
||Tropical Moist Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||No||0.430||flowers|
||Any Tropical Forest||All (Dry)||No||0.140||nuts|
||Temperate Conifer Forest
Tropical Conifer Forest
||Any Temperate Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||Yes||0.430||smelly catkins|
||Not Freezing||Good (Dry)||No||0.100||feathery leaves|
||Subterranean Cavern (layers 1-2)||All||No||0.600||fine grain|
||Not Freezing||Evil (Dry)||No||1.200||living shadows|
||Subterranean Cavern (layers 2-3)||All||No||0.600||stunning color|
||Not Freezing||Savage (Dry)||No||0.500||magnificence|
||Tropical Moist Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||No||0.260||buttresses|
Temperate Conifer Forest
||Any Tropical Forest||All (Dry)||No||0.520||sweet-smelling flowers|
||Any Tropical Forest||All (Dry)||No||0.600||loose inflorescences|
||Temperate Broadleaf Forest
|All (Dry)||Yes||0.540||autumn coloration|
||Mangrove Swamp||All (Wet)||No||0.830||roots|
||Subterranean Cavern (layer 3)||All||No||0.550||coldness to the touch|
(wood has [MAT_FIXED_TEMP:10000])
||Any Temperate Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||Yes||0.700||acorns|
||Any Tropical||All (Dry)||No||0.680||leaves|
Temperate Conifer Forest
Tropical Conifer Forest
||Tropical Moist Broadleaf Forest||All (Dry)||No||0.490||branch shedding|
||Any Desert||All (Dry)||No||0.430||amazing arms|
||Subterranean Cavern (layers 2-3)||All||No||0.600||raining spores|
||Subterranean Cavern (layers 1-2)||All||No||0.600||great size|
||Subterranean Cavern (layers 2-3)||All||No||0.500||curving trunk|
Any Tropical Forest
Tropical Freshwater Swamp
Tropical Saltwater Swamp
Tropical Freshwater Marsh
Tropical Saltwater Marsh
|All (Wet)||No||0.390||sad appearance|
- If any items are stuck on top of a tree, constructing a floor in that tile will remove the items from the game (like a small-scale, manual atom smashing).