Wood, obviously, can be gathered from any of the standing trees on the map. While wood sometimes takes longer to collect, as many peons/peasants/etc as are required can be sent out to gather more wood as they need it. Also, a gnomish machine called a shredder is available, which allows you to down trees and to gather it at a fast rate, bringing back loads of 200 wood at a time. Two or three shredders can quickly bring a forest down to nothing. Wood is used more in buildings, while gold is more used in units. The more you have, the more buildings you can build at a faster rate.
Don't forget not to surpass the amount of gold you have on hand, however!
 Defensive Properties
A reminder, however! When it comes down to it, forests are near impassable and most units can't damage trees, so if you have it to defend your base, don't let the peons discover and cut it, since it's only to your detriment!
 Destroying Tree Barriars
Some units, however, such as catapults, will make short work of trees, so even if you have your back covered by a wall of trees, don't expect anything short of a forest to deter someone from making their own back way in!
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