The purpose of this paper is to discuss the various possible degrees of artificiality of forests, to give examples of types of artificial forests and of ecological research carried out in this field in various countries, and finally to provide a general framework for a discussion of the problems involved. Starting from the climax forest (now absent in the Netherlands) human influence first caused a change in the botanical composition inducing secondary forest. An increasing influence may lead to degraded ”tertiary” forests, with approximately the same species as the secondary forest, but with a shrubby structure and with changes in the soil profile. Finally the forest may disappear and be replaced by shrub, heath or meadow communities etc.