Sylvan or Silvan refers to an association with the woods. Specifically, that which inhabits the wood, is made of tree materials, or comprises the forest itself. The term can also refer to a person who resides in the woods or a spirit of the wood. In mythology, the term also refers to deities or spirits of the woods.
The term in English is from the Latin silva meaning "forest, woods." This root is found in place names in Canada such as Sylvan Lake http://www.sylvanlake.ca/ (as in wooded lake) in Alberta, Sylvan Valley Regional Park Reserve in Saskatchewan, and in the United States like Pennsylvania (lit. "Penn's woods") and Spotsylvania. The first names Sylvester and Sylva(i)n, and the female name Sylvia/Silvia, are also from the Latin word.
In the Chronicles of Narnia, silvans are tree spirits, appearing primarily in the fourth book of the series, Prince Caspian. In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth books, there is a division of Elves residing in forested realms referred to as Silvan Elves.
In the Dungeons & Dragons role playing game, Sylvan is the language of all magical creatures associated with the wilderness, such as fairies, dryads, centaurs and such.
In the computer game Heroes of Might and Magic V, Sylvan is a playable faction, featuring the Elves and other mythical forest creatures such as Sprites, Unicorns, Treants and Dragons.
In the computer role-playing game "Dragon Age: Origins," the player's party battles living trees known as Sylvans in the Brecillian Forest. In the lore of the game, the trees are actually possessed by demonic spirits which have gone mad because they are trapped in the tree without being able to see or hear.
In the MMORPG Dark Age of Camelot, the Sylvans are a playable race of humanoids from the realm of Hibernia, with bark-like skin and long, slender appendages.
The popular toy line called Sylvanian Families, Sylvanian refers to the toy line earlier specialising in woodland creatures, it branched out to other animals later on.