Forests are some of the most beautiful, magical places on Earth. That’s why we plant 10 trees for each item purchased in our store. But, that’s not all they are. They are living entities that are necessary for the survival of life on our big, blue planet. Right now, forests cover approximately 30 percent of the Earth.
The improtance of a forest breaks down into a few key points. They provide habitat for thousands of species and support the lives of 1.6 billion people. But, between 45 – 60 thousand square miles of forest are lost per year due to deforestation! This is not just a tragedy. It’s a plague on our planet that could spell disaster for all life on Earth in the future.
With this in mind, I’m outlining 10 reasons that show the importance of forests.
They let us breathe!
There are a lot of fascinating forests out there, but their use extends far beyond the aesthetic. Forests take in the carbon dioxide that we breathe out and, in turn, provide us with the oxygen we breathe in. One mature tree can provide enough oxygen per day to support between 2 to 10 people. The fewer trees there are, the fewer lives that our planet can support.
They cool the Earth
Carbon dioxide emissions are what is responsible for Global Warming. As I said before, forests consume the carbon dioxide in the air which, in turn, helps fight Global Warming. That’s just one of many reasons you should love trees!
They keep people cool too
Trees planted near homes help keep those homes cool and reduce the amount of energy needed to keep the people inside those homes cool. A large stand of trees can also decrease the amount of heat in a large city. Why do you think apartments near Central Park in New York City are so desirable and expensive?
Forests can make it rain
Trees take the water from the soil and release it into Earth’s atmosphere. So, forests that are large can not only create their own micro-climates, they influence atmospheric conditions that can cause it to rain. And, if the forest is large enough, it influences weather patterns for thousands of miles. For instance, The Amazon rain forest has an effect on the weather as far away as the United States!
They block wind
Growing up in a farm community in the Midwest, I would sometimes wonder why there was a stand of trees between two corn/soybean fields. As I got older, I found out that one of the reasons for those trees is they block the wind and help protect crops that are sensitive to wind. This also increases pollination from bees and provides the habitat for the animals that prey on crop ravagers like mice, rats and insects.
Forests clean the air
As I mentioned before, forests take in carbon dioxide. But, they also clean the air of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide – all huge contributors of air pollution. Want to help where you are? Here’s 10 ways to improve the environment through personal action.
They fight erosion
Another reason for those stands of trees around crop fields is that they help to keep that precious top soil in place! That’s why we work so hard planting mangrove trees in Madagascar. Forests not only keep soil in place, they prevent erosion from rain. Deforestation causes mud slides, dust storms and flooding.
They provide medicine
Many plants that are used to make medicine can be found in forests. This is why we plant the moringa tree, one of the most important, healthful trees for humans. Cacao trees provide theophylline, an asthma drug; while eastern red cedar needles contain a compound that helps fight MRSA. Well over half of the plant compounds that are used in cancer-fighting medications are found in the rain forests!
They provide food
Trees provide us with nuts, berries, mushrooms, fruit, sap and seeds. Forests also support the lives of so many animals that humans consume, such as rabbits, squirrel, deer, elk, birds and fish. And while we’re on the subject of food, here’s 10 reasons to buy local food!
Forests create jobs
As I said in my introduction, approximately 1.6 million people make their living from forests. Almost 10 million of those jobs are in conservation and management. Which is a really good thing! Interested in getting a job in tree planting? Check out our guide for finding the right forestry career.