Earth’s forests provide many environmental, social and economic benefits, producing oxygen and absorbing CO2; conserving water and moderating weather; providing homes and food for us and wildlife. Today, half of the world’s forests are gone, most of the loss occurring over the past 60 years. With few exceptions, forests worldwide are experiencing significant damage and are in immediate need of conservation. The destruction of both arboreal forests in the north and tropical forests closer to the equator are affecting precipitation and weather, and the balance of O2 and CO2. These forests and the birds and animals that live there are rapidly declining as we cut forests for paper and wood, farmland and our relentless pursuit of oil and minerals.
Gratefully there are programs emerging worldwide that are aimed at reducing forest loss and growing a healthier future. Governments and people are working together to conserve endangered forest ecosystems by well-planned forest planting and controlling loss to agricultural and commercial harvest of wood.
|Why should we protect forests?
- If we want to keep breathing, we will take better care of our forests, a vital oxygen source; in addition, forests absorb carbon dioxide and if managed with care, can help keep climate change under control and prevent drastic changes.
- Forests provide us food, shelter and many other services including maintaining clean water, and preventing soil erosion .
- Forests are home to rare animal species and plants, including medicinal plants that are disappearing at fast rates.
- Forests cover 31% of total land area while at the same time supporting 80% of terrestrial biodiversity that live in them.
- Around 50% of the world’s forests are now gone, with most of the loss occurring in the past 60 years.
- Forests provide homes, security and livelihoods for 60 million Indigenous peoples.
- Annually, 36 million acres of natural forest are lost as a result of deforestation and degradation.
- Half of all timber harvesting is used for paper
- Magazine industry uses 17 million trees annually, and 95% of publishers still use virgin paper.
- About 10 million people worldwide, mainly in India and China, are involved in forest conservation and management activities.
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