Extended Forestry Operations

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Civ3 Opening Plays
- Improving Terrain
- Terrain basics
- Terrain types
- ID your power
- Rivers and position
- Forestry operations
- Workers and Settlers
- Get out the Axe
- Plant & Cut Crews
- Intense Profit

Opening Sequence Examples
- Mixed Terrain - Germany
- Flood Plain - Russia
- Grassland - Iroquois

Civ3 Example Games
- GOTM9 Japan Campaign
(ancient age warfare example)
- Index

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Known Bugs and Glitches

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The Intensive Forestry Operations for profit and production bonuses can extend beyond the time period when all railroads have been completed and technology has progressed beyond replaceable parts.

Each player has to decide if they want to pursue some of these options after the rush to cover the world with railroads has been completed and after the final obvious jungle and forest squares have been cleared.

Forestry on Every Square in the Empire

If you wish to exploit this legitimate option, you will usually need to have captured screen shots of any areas of your empire that had sections of forest in the early game. Now you can refer to the screen shots like ancient maps to help you remember which squares have already had the forests harvested for the bonus.

In this interim period following railroads and the reduction of your worker force to a number that is as close to zero as possible, you can assign the worker crews to redevelop terrain squares on a rotating basis to harvest additional production bonuses from forestry. This process involves planting a forest to replace the existing improvement and then harvesting the forest and replacing the improvement all in one turn. If you assign enough workers to the crew to complete these operations in all in a single turn, then there is absolutely now loss in production or interruption in food supply from the citizen that is assigned to the square within the borders of the city. Because almost every square is covered with railroad there is never a movement cost associated with these operations and you can always use the optimum number of workers or slaves to accomplish the tasks.

Perform these tasks in one turn
    (always after replaceable parts)

Crews using combinations of workers




plant + harvest forest then return to a mine

4 + 5 + 3 = 12

1 to help plant


plant + harvest forest then return to irrigation

4 + 5 + 2 = 11

1 to help plant


plant + harvest forest then return to a mine in democracy

3 + 3 + 2 =  8

1 to help harvest


plant + harvest forest then return to irrigation in democracy

3 + 3 + 1 =  7

1 to help harvest
1 to help irrigate


It does not matter what the existing improvement is on the square, and this task sequence can be combine with a general process of redistributing the production and food output from the cities to take advantage of the increase capacity from railroads and/or the increased population capacity from hospitals and mass transit centers.

In a typical empire that contains 350 total terrain squares there are 150 to 200 locations that could yield this production bonus. The average core city could earn a 100 to 120 shield production bonus. All of these forestry options will yield a profit of between 27 and 32 gold units when applied to any square that has not previously been harvested. If you have are playing as an industrious civilization, then the profit will be increased only by between 3 and 5 units of gold per square.

One thing to point out here is that these workers are usually workers that you have standing around anyway. If you are holding workers to control pollution, do not automate them. Hold them in a stack and make sure the stack is large enough perform one of these profit extractions. If you do not have a pollution event in any given turn, then use the stack to capture some extra cash. If your games proceed in a similar fashion to some of my games you will have 40 to 70 slave workers by the late industrial age and these workers can easily clear up to 8 squares of pollution per turn or harvest the equivalent of about 60 extra pieces of gold.

Forestry in the boonies

If your game is progressing well, and you already control enough territory to push up against the domination limit, you may have cleared large expanses of the map of any other civilizations. I leave as much of this open space as possible totally open and unsupervised so that it will grow barbarians and yield cash bonuses on each turn. On small maps, the barbarian cash bonuses will generally only average out to about 25 or 50 units or gold per turn. On large maps the bonuses may be 3 times that amount if open areas are shaped correctly.

I also try and plan the last 15 to 20 squares of territory so that they protrude into the open space around a town that I never improve with any buildings. This last town will generally add nine terrain squares all on its own plus one to five terrain squares in the gaps where the town joins to the main territory. If the town is further separated from the main territory it will cover nine squares all on its own. Any of these squares that are on plains, grassland, or forests can yield a forestry bonus of ten shields. A typical forestry operation in the boonies will yield a harvest of 80 shields over a period of 10 to 15 turns and will allow me to build a cruise missile or an artillery pieces plus a settler that will then disband and move the town to a new location.

All we do in these locations is build roads, plant forests, found the town, harvest the forest to build a unit or two, harvest enough forest to short rush a settler, micromanage the population that now is at two citizens so it will not be producing extra food, and then harvest a final forest square to pop the setter and abandon the town. Move to the next location three squares over and repeat the process. If the terrain has roads or railroads in place from an extinct civilization this process is really trivial. If there are no roads in place, then we have to use three extra workers to plop down roads before the forestry crews and the settler arrive on the scene.

You have to be careful to make sure that each new town in the boonies still keeps your territory under the domination limit, but beyond that risk, this technique can be a good set of tasks to keep you and your workers/slaves busy while you slog through the final technologies required to reach the UN or the space shuttle parts.

The strangler fig

You can plant forests in the territories of your enemies. If your tried to pillage improvements in enemy territory it would start a war but changing the improvements around an enemy city seems to cause no ill feelings. You need to have a right-of-passage agreement in place for this process to be effective and even then I would classify these operations as mostly “a thrill event” as opposed to any significant strategic advantage. You can irrigate all the squares around an enemy city to reduce shield production and drive the population as high as possible. The “strangler fig” approach has the opposite effect of reducing population by planting forest on every irrigated square to reduce the food production of the town and cause starvation.

If railroads are present, each irrigated square that you replace with forests will lose two food units. There is no value in planting forests on plains squares with mines but there is an additional loss of one food unit per square for each mined grassland square that you replace with forests. Installing more strangler fig squares will increase the rate of food loss, but will not increase the starvation rate of one person per turn once the city runs out of food. It will take an average of four game turns for a metropolis to begin starving when you install five strangler forests.

The greatest benefits in dropping enemy population can usually be gained when a metropolis drops from 13 to 12 or when a city drops from 7 to 6 because this cuts the defender bonus by 50% and effectively reduce the defender strength by one-third for each of these steps.

You may use the following tests to determine if the strangler fig approach might have some benefit to you:
- The victim city or town should not be on the coast with a harbor in most cases.
- Victim cities and metropolises located on hills may yield the greatest benefit from defensive bonus reduction.
- City locations with a restricted number of plains and grassland squares are usually your best targets.

Mad King Ludwig’s Fortress

If you look into the future and envision that you must invade a strong enemy with an amphibious force, you can use a right-of-passage agreement to land a crew of workers and install fortresses and forests and key landing sites. The Forest and Fortress bonuses will add 75% to the defensive strengths of you invasion forces. If you have the ability to build railroads in these locations it will be to your benefit to make sure a railroad is in place under the fortress and the forest. The AI players do no tend to view these fortified locations as liabilities and will not generally clear the forest or pillage the fortress if they have other things to do. One of the reasons the fortresses stay forever is that the pillage sequence for improvements is hard coded to have the fortress go last after the railroads and then the roads are removed.

Locations that do not have a coastal hill or mountain within easy striking distance of major cities can benefit from this approach of build the AI his/her own little fortress in a park. Withdraw all your worker units from the AI territory and then declare war without risking your reputation. Nine times out of ten, the AI players will not defend Mad King Ludwig’s Fortress and you can land your invasion force at that location and wreck havoc on their cities in the next turn.

Planting forests to look pretty

Forests have no effect on preventing global warming or pollution in the Civ3 game but they may make your feel better about how your map looks. If you have run out of other tasks to perform, then you may want to replant forests in remote areas. I would not use workers of your own nationality for this task because they should all be joined to towns and cities by this point in the game.

I have not tested this thoroughly but, planting extra forest on tundra would seem to have a detrimental effect when combined with global warming. Under ideal circumstances, you want global warming to occur in the tundra and convert it into grasslands or plains so you can increase the power of those squares.

The realities of the civ3 game will dictate that you put down roads before reforesting any wild areas and then make sure that a railroad line is available within one or two squares in any direction. If your workers are in regions outside of your cultural borders and those regions are larger than five squares in width and height, then you will need to provide bodyguards to protect the workers against potential barbarians. Having military units present in the wilderness will suppress the appearance of barbarians in squares next to the military units and this will reduce the number of 25 gold barb hunting trophies and the number of elite promotions that you can earn.

I don’t plant forest to look pretty because I have a vivid enough imagination to visualize what the terrain might be as forest or jungle. It amazes me that many players who complain about how tedious it is to manage their workers will dedicate significant time and effort to planting these pretty forests. I use these map regions as barbarian farms and generate between 50 and 75 extra gold units per turn on a large map when I am working on a space shuttle or diplomatic victory.

Next Topic – Final Overview of Forestry Operations

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This page was last updated on: September 18, 2002