Today is the United Nations International Day of Forests. The theme for this year is “Forests and Biodiversity – Too Precious to Lose”. World’s forests provide home for more than 80 percent of the terrestrial species of insects, plans and animals. Imagine that four out of five land-based species on this planet live in our forests! That is remarkable!
Forests around the world are suffering from deforestation, wild fires and illegal exploitation. Even though the species extinction rate is accelerating on the planet, we still have time to turn the tide.
Forest is a place where growth happens. Where water, sunlight, nitrogen and carbon dioxide are needed for creating oxygen for all living organisms. Forests regulate the weather, carbon and water systems in the environment.
Why forests are so important for the ecosystem, people and the planet? I give here five reasons why an appropriate conservation of our planet’s lungs is necessary, why forests are important to people, and why forests are crucial for any forms of living.
Forests as carbon sinks
Forests store carbon naturally through photosynthesis. The carbon is stored into wood and other wood based materials. Forests absorb about one third of the global annual carbon emissions. Planting trees not only absorb carbon from the atmosphere but also help in the fight against desertification. The amount of carbon stored vary a lot based on the type and age of the forest. An acre of mature forest can sequester a ton or more carbon annually and release almost the same amount of oxygen to the atmosphere.
Forests provide food, medicine, fuel, wood based materials and much more!
Forests provide a range of commodities from food and medicine to fuel and raw materials for built environments. Depending on the type of the forest they provide mushrooms, berries and eatable flowers and plants all year round. Trees adapt even to textiles for the fashion sector. Yarn is made directly from wood fibers without chemical treatment and turned into clothes. Moreover, forests have been ancient sources for medicines and more recently for cosmetics. Forests are a sustainable source for energy and bio fuels. Trees are a renewable natural resource that can replace fossil-based energy sources.
Forests provide home for land-based species
80% of land-based animals, insects and plants find their homes from forests. A forest creates protective surroundings for these living organisms, big and small, who all have a crucial role to sustain life and helping other species to grow.
Forests are to be protected and preserved
Forest areas are shrinking in a fast pace mostly due to human actions. The less we have forests and green areas the faster the climate is warming up. Planting more trees is one of the most effective solutions for tackling the climate change. Consequently, protecting the forests from deforestation and managing forests for climate change mitigation are the key. Forests must be kept clean, productive and wide to ensure that the biodiversity is thriving and is in balance.
Benefits of spending time in a forest
Forests are a great place for outdoors activities. Whether it is hiking, mountain biking, running or nature photography, it’s all good for the health. A walk in a forest affects to the mood releasing stress and feelings of anxiety. Scientists say that spending time in a forest quickly decreases pulse and blood pressure. It helps to bring yourself back to the present moment. Breathing the clean air full of oxygen creates endorphins and increases overall feeling of happiness. Only great effects, right!
Let’s learn to love forests! To me, a forest is a place of serenity, mindfulness and recharge. What does forests mean to you? Let me know in comments.
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