Forestry Operations

Quick Start Challenge
How to play

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

- The Corona Bug
- The Scared2Death Bug

Forestry operations involve clearing (and/or replanting) trees from various terrain squares to change the food, shield, and commerce production rates for those squares. Firaxis lists Forest and Jungle squares as terrain types on their own, but it is helpful for you to visualize these squares as actually being some other underlying terrain type (grassland, plains, or tundra) just with an overlay of trees. The overlay can be removed from the underlying terrain by assigning worker units to clear the jungle or clear the forest.

Standard Civ3 Deciduous Forest GraphicsStandard Civ3 Jungle GraphicsForest squares are unique among the terrain types in that they yield a one time bonus of ten shields of production output when they are cleared for the first time. (Note that this one time limit was hard coded into the game with the V1.17 patch release even though a more thoughtful approach would have been to allow the turns of forestry operations to be set in the game editor, but that is another issue.) Jungle squares are similar to forests but yield no production benefit, produce different output values when worked by a citizen, and carry the risk of causing citizens and military units to die of disease if they linger too long in the jungle. For the purpose of this general discussion, whenever we talk about forestry operations, we will be including operations to clear jungle or construct roads in jungles when those topics apply.

Standard Civ3 Deciduous Forest GraphicsThere are basically five phases of the game which will affect your decision making choices with respect to forestry operations.

- Opening single unit operations
- Forestry Operations (pre-engineering)
- Engineered Forests (early medieval period)
- Intensive Forestry Operations (pre-steam power)
- Extended and Reconstructive Forestry (after replaceable parts)

Before we look at some recommended forestry operations in these five phases, we want to look at the basic relationships between forest/jungle squares and the units which will normally interact with the squares.

Units that can perform Forestry Operations

There are four units in the standard Civ3 game that can perform tasks that can alter forests and jungles.

The most obvious unit is the “worker” unit. Workers can clear forests and jungles and then later in the game they will gain the ability to replant forests. Make sure you keep it clear in your mind that workers are your units that you can move around on the map with little animated figures. While citizens are the people within the population of your cities who can work on terrains squares to produce food, gold, and shields output.

A second unit that we can use to perform forestry operations in the “settler”. Forestry operations by this unit are a bit more subtle because they only occur when a new town is founded. The settler will effectively clear the forest or jungle and build roads instantly in any square where a town is founded. The settler does not gain an instant ten shield production bonus for clearing forest, so it is helpful to remember that this potential benefit may be lost when founding a new town in forests.

The third and fourth units that could alter forests and jungle squares would be the two types of nuclear weapons that are included in the late stages of the game. These units are listed here for completeness, but will not be discussed because they do not provide a rational or cost effective solution to be considered in the game.

Task costs in terms of “Worker Turns”

In the early game, you will usually be in the despotism form or government. Despotism grants you free support for four units for each town or city that you have in your empire, but you will be charged one gold per turn for unit support costs for each unit above that level. It is in your best interest to make full use of these free support costs while mentally remembering that workers have an effective opportunity cost of one gold unit per turn. Even if you manage your empire well and end up paying no unit support costs per turn, the workers are effectively using up one of your free gold units per turn and therefore you want to use that gold to produce something else of value.

In rare cases your government will fall into anarchy and your workers will perform their tasks at half speed. The speed with which your workers complete tasks will also depend on if your civilization has the Industrious civilization trait or not. As of September 2002, the standard civilizations known to have the industrious trait include: America, China, Egypt, France, plus Carthage and the Ottomans from PTW.

The table below displays the number of worker turns that would be required to complete a given set of tasks for workers with standard skills versus the enhanced industrious workers. The last two columns display the total worker turns required to move into that adjacent undeveloped square plus complete tasks shown.


Including movement

Worker task





build road on flat terrain
build road through forests
build road through jungle


        2 (1.5)
        5 (4.5)


        3 (2.5)
        6 (5.5)

clear forest (see note 2)
clear jungle (see note 2)





build road then clear forest
clear forest then build road


       7 (6.5)


       8 (7.5)

build road then clear jungle
clear jungle then build road


       17 (16.5)
       14 (13.5)


       18 (17.5)
       15 (14.5)

Note 1: The numbers shown in parentheses in the table above will indicate where a round off effect could result in some different results when multiple workers of different nationalities can be applied to the same task.

Note 2: You have to play close attention to the turns required to complete these tasks if you use the Civ3edit program to look at the factors that control how workers complete tasks. The required turns is set at 2x the number of turns that would be required in despotism, monarchy, or republic on flat terrain. The required turns for a worker to complete a task is always multiplied by the movement cost for the terrain type where a worker is currently located. For terrain types like forest and jungles, this creates a complicated multiplier effect that you must take into account when you look at the values in the editor. As an example, the editor sets the base number of turns to clear jungle at 16 which is then multiplied by the movement cost of jungles which is 3 and then divided by 2 to arrive at the base figure for despotism as shown in the table above {3 * 16 = 48 ;  48 / 2 = 24}.

Functional benefits of Forest and Jungle terrain types

Forest and jungle squares have an impact on the movement and combat performance of units in the game. Wheeled units like catapults, cannons, and chariots cannot enter or pass through jungles without a road in place. If the terrain is in your territory or neutral territory and has a road present then your units gain the full increased mobility from the road. If the terrain is in the territory of another civilization and you do not have a “right-of-passage” agreement, then your units do not gain the FULL movement benefit of the roads. If you have wheeled units that need to move into jungle or mountain terrain in enemy territory, if there are roads present you may access the squares even though you do not gain the increased road movement bonus. Depending on the situation in the early game, this can be a significant issue.

Forests and jungles also confer a 25% combat defensive bonus to any units which defend from these squares.

Forest and jungle squares near your borders can slow down or prevent invading forces from reaching your cities quickly. They also provide increased defensive strength to the advancing enemy forces that can make it more difficult to turn back any offensive thrusts.




food production



shield production



gold production (w/o roads)



move point cost w/o roads

2 moves or 1 turn

3 moves or 1 turn

possible improvements

towns, roads, clear

towns, roads, clear

luxury and bonus resources

furs, dyes, spices, ivory, silks, game

dyes, spices, silks, gems

possible strategic resources

rubber or uranium

coal or rubber

possible underlying terrain

tundra, plains,
grassland, or bonus grassland

grassland or bonus grassland,
(plains extremely rare)

The locations for strategic resources that can appear in jungle or forest terrain are predetermined at the beginning of the game. When you clear the forest or jungle from a terrain square you have no impact on whether or not a strategic resource will initially appear in that square later in the game. The presence of forest or jungle in the square also has no impact on whether the strategic resource will be used up at some point in the game. You do not need to preserve large patches of jungle or forest to assure that you will have access to rubber or coal later in the game.

Planting new forests will not increase your chance of having one of these resources initially appear in your territory when they are discovered by technology. I have not confirmed if resources that evaporate from one square and then reappear in another square might be affected by the initial or current terrain status. I have confirmed on numerous occasions that strategic resources (such as rubber) will appear in towns and/or terrain squares that have been changed to a new terrain type that would normally not allow that type of resource.

Another game myth that is often raised in discussions is the myth that Forest and Jungle squares might decrease your chances of having pollution or global warming occur in or near your cities. This thought process is false because global warming and pollution events in the civ3 game are random statistical events that depend on the global population and the number of pollution units that are being generated in your cities.

Next Topic – Early Forestry Tasks with Single Units

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This page was last updated on: September 18, 2002