OUR GREATEST TREASURES
Forests cover 20% of the land on earth. They are the dominant terrestrial biome on earth, where the majority of plants and animals reside. For this International Day of Forests, it’s important that we stand up for the planet.
Forests are productive lands with diverse ecosystems, which helps us stabilize our environment by consuming excess CO2. Forests are natural producers for our earth.
Life on earth would not be the same without forests. But unfortunately, we have overlooked its value over the years and started exploiting it for profit. As a result, forests have diminished to half their size.
Before the industrial revolution, forests covered almost 40% of the land. But the 18th-century population exploded in an unprecedented way. As a result, the demand for space and resources arose. Therefore, a major portion was converted into agricultural lands, industries, and human habitation.
The United Nations proclaimed March 21 to be the International Day of Forests. It is a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
DEPENDENCY ON FOREST PRODUCTS
All of us have read in our school textbooks about the products we get from forests. Wood, spices, rubber, gum, and medicines. It all comes from forests. Undeniably, we are heavily dependent on forests to meet our basic needs.
Let’s move past these products. What do you think is the most vital thing a forest provides?
First, they help in maintaining the ecological balance and the water cycle. Forests play a major role in the hydrological cycle, important for growing food.
In addition, forests are the natural barrier against erosion, landslides, and avalanches. Most importantly, they give us fresh air to breathe. Yet we are not treating them well.
Deforestation occurs at an alarming rate and is disturbing the ecological balance. It affects about two billion rural people depending on forests for their survival.
It’s where they find shelter, food, and water. Moreover, forests have been their home since the beginning of civilization.
Each tree has a role to play in a forest, just like every individual has in a family. Plants produce their foods using excess CO2 present in the environment through photosynthesis.
The roots of trees give the soil the structure it needs to absorb the rainwater, thus preventing soil erosion. They play a vital role in avoiding floods. The roots of the trees absorb the water that would otherwise wash away the fertile soil.
DOES REFORESTATION HELP?
The presence of one only type of tree species does not let animal species thrive there. Because one type of plant species does not provide the necessary range of food, shelter, and nutrients for life to thrive.
The soil fertility also suffers in monoculture. With no other species to compete with, the plants absorb all the water and nutrients they need.
It gives nothing back to the soil, which results in soil infertility. And by disturbing the soil, tree monocultures can’t absorb CO2 efficiently.
We are removing forests at a devastating rate and have disconnected ourselves from the reality of nature. We are doing our best at ignoring the silent cries of nature.
Shop LC uses the Miyawaki technique to help restore forests. To date, we have planted thousands of saplings in a conscientious bid to better care for the environment.
HOW TO SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS
We have witnessed that various tree-planting programs, with the help of local communities, have seen a major shift in our ecosystem.
Protecting forests starts with you. Support indigenous groups and organizations that help defend forests despite outside pressures.
Volunteer in planting programs. Make yourself and others aware of the importance of forests. Educate yourself and others about deforestation.
Here are some tips that you can follow to protect our forests.
- Avoid using paper bags and instead, start using cloth bags for shopping.
- Next time you are out shopping, ask for an electronic receipt instead of a paper one.
- We understand some prefer the traditional way of reading a newspaper. But how about you turn in your radio while you get to the office.
- Lastly, recycling, reducing, and reusing is the best alternative to control the over-usage of resources.
Learn more about the International Day of Forests.
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