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Archaeopteris was a plant that was both tree-like and fern-like, growing to 10 metres (33 ft) in height. Archaeopteris quickly spread throughout the world, from the equator to subpolar latitudes.
The shed organic matter altered the freshwater environment, slowing it down and providing food. This promoted freshwater fish.
Archaeopteris formed the first forest by being the first known species to cast shade due to its fronds and forming soil from its roots. Archaeopteris was deciduous, dropping its fronds onto the forest floor. The shade, soil, and forest duff from the dropped fronds created the first forest.
Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tension and embedded in a matrix of lignin that resists compression.
Wood has been used for thousands of years for fuel, as a construction material, for making tools and weapons, furniture and paper, and as a feedstock for the production of purified cellulose and its derivatives, such as cellophane and cellulose acetate.
As an abundant, carbon-neutral renewable resource, woody materials have been of intense interest as a source of renewable energy. In 1991 approximately 3.5 billion cubic meters of wood were harvested. Dominant uses were for furniture and building construction.
In 2005, the growing stock of forests worldwide was about 434 billion cubic meters, 47% of which was commercial.