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This is in reference to Dwarf Fortress 40d (v0.28.181.40d). Later versions of this game have significantly changed the related mechanics.

I just embarked on a map with 6 trees on it. There is a small (about 100 tiles total) bit of greenery, and the rest is a mix of red sand and felsite. If I pump water up and turn the ground muddy, will the forest spread? Would the muddy section have to be next to the existing green area?

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Do we need both tags? –  C. Ross Oct 3 '10 at 11:46
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137 dwarf-fortress questions and 1 dwarf-fortress-40d question implies 'no.' :) Since the tag was added in response to a comment below, I vote remove the tag and add '40d' to the question. I'd do it but I can't edit posts yet. –  Wikwocket Oct 3 '10 at 15:19
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To answer the question about muddying the area, no. If you muddy an area it will not cause the forest to spread as the areas where the forest grows is determined by the biomes (which are visible when you choose your location to embark to) no soil type.

Though, trees do sprout randomly, so go ahead and cut down the ones that are on your map for now. There really is nothing you can do to increase your fortress's wood production. unless you find an underground river or pool. if you find either of those, muddying an area underground will cause it to grow tower cap mushrooms which can be used as wood.

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Red Sand is already a soil layer, and aboveground plants do not require mud to grow in a soil layer.

It might take a while, particularly if your dwarves trample saplings, but trees will continue to grow on the map, even if you harvest all six trees, as tree saplings sprout randomly, not due to tree pollination.

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Is this true in the latest version? I'm still playing 40d ... and I've been playing for 2 years now and still no trees. –  aslum Oct 3 '10 at 2:12
    
Ah yes, this is for DF2010. You might want to edit the original question to specify 40d. –  Raven Dreamer Oct 3 '10 at 3:47
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