Earth’s forests provide many environmental, social and economic benefits – producing O2 and absorbing CO2, conserving water and moderating weather; providing homes and food for humans 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 animals that live there are rapidly declining as we cut down forests for paper and other disposal products, increasing farmland and relentless pursuit of oil and minerals.
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 CO2 and other greenhouse gas, which helps keep climate change under control.
- Forests provide us food, shelter and many other services, such as maintaining clean water and preventing soil erosion.
- Forests are home to many animal species and plants, some of which are quickly disappearing such as caribou, orangutan and the yew tree used in cancer treatments.
- Forests cover 31% of total land area on the Earth while supporting 80% of terrestrial biodiversity.
- Around 50% of the world’s forests are now gone, with most of the loss occurring during the past 60 years.
- Forests provide homes, security and livelihoods for 60 millionIndigenous peoples.
- Annually, 36 million acres of natural forest are lost because of deforestation and degradation.
- Half of all timber harvesting is used for paper products.
- The world-wide 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.
- The boreal forest is the largest forest in the world. It wraps around Earth’s entire northern hemisphere and acts as the lungs of the planet, producing O2 andinfluencing the world’s climate.
- Canada’s part of boreal forest is about 300 million hectares. It is the home for many of Canada’s iconic animals, such as caribou and grizzly bears and it also contains millions of lakes and rivers which are the world’s largest source of surface freshwater.
- Logging, mining, oil and gas development are damaging Canada’s boreal forest. In Ontario alone, 44,000 migratory bird nests were lost in 2001 due to logging. At that rate, Canada’s boreal forest is losing more than 3,000 American-sized football fields EVERY DAY!
- Canada is the second largest exporter of wood products in the world, with lumber being the dominant product.