Forests are considered to be nature’s greatest providers. Apart from being a source of food security and water, they also help us with everything such as medicines, paper, renewable energy, air cleaners, and low tech air conditioning. Furthermore, they also help in enriching or protecting biodiversity.
Try asking people what importance does a forest hold and you can see that their answers would be differing. This is mainly because forests are complex and busy living worlds. Who broadly defines forests as a span of land for more than half a hectare along with trees that are more than five meters in height. There are several types of forests existing around the globe reflecting different altitudes, soil types, and climatic conditions.
Here in this article, we would be discussing some important facts and figures related to forests.
- Forests are known to cover 1/3rd part of the world's total land area, and they host almost half of the world's land-based animals and plant species.
- The trees in the forests are known as natural aqueducts. They are known to redistribute almost ninety-five percent of the water that they absorb especially to the places where it is needed most. Apart from that they hold water in the soil and prevent erosion and later it releases it back to the atmosphere while providing a cooling sort of effect.
- Tropical forest plants are known to make almost a quarter part of all modern medicines including 2/3rd part of all cancer-fighting drugs. These medicinal plants are worth US$105 billion every year.
- Forests are a great source of nutritious foods, such as seeds, insects, nuts, fruits etc which are indeed rich in minerals and proteins like iron or calcium. These naturally obtained products helps millions of peoples and communities to remain fit and healthy.
- Trees in general are a great carbon sink. In total, the world’s forest removes an estimated 2.1 Gigatonnes of CO2 annually. These forests are known to play a fundamental role in balancing the world's carbon cycle while helping others in combating climate change.
- On an approx. almost nine hundred million people, across the developed nations, are involved in charcoal production and wood fuel, which makes wood energy a major contributor to nutrition and food security. Wood fuel is known to provide almost forty percent of global renewable energy supply- much similar to hydroelectric, solar and wind energy combined.
- Forests that are sustainably managed provide several types of primary raw materials like paper, which is a great renewable and recyclable material in the world. Almost 225 million tonnes or 55 percent of all used fibers are nowadays recovered from paper.
- The world is witnessing an approximate loss of 3.3M hectares of total forest area in a year. However, almost twenty developing countries have now improved food security while increasing or maintaining forest cover. Remember we always need to manage forests responsibly and sustainably such that they can always remain healthy and provide a great variety of services and goods to support livestock, agriculture, and fishery production.
Forests are indeed a very important part in order to help sustain life on this planet. Furthermore, the forest acts as a natural supermarket providing a great source of products. We must also remember that these sources are very much limited and we as humans need to give proper care to them in order to manage them sustainably.