By Stephen Roshy
Well maintained forests play a vital role in controlling and mitigating the effects of global warming. Forests not only help slow down climate change, but also provide a sustainable means of living for many living beings. Forests have a multitude of benefits that are often overlooked by many; it is more than just a wood commodity or natural beauty (though natural beauty is important to human health).
Forests promote sustainable living
In many countries, forests are home to some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. Well-managed and preserved forests play an important societal and economic role for these people and are key to alleviating poverty. A healthy forest ecosystem provides indigenous people with goods for household consumption as well as items for trade.
The urgent need for forest cultivation
Even under the best of circumstances, climate change is expected to increase in the coming decades. This requires increasing cultivation of forests and green habitats. According to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), billion of people are at risk from water and food shortages and poor health from deforestation and climate change. Preserving and restoring forest habitat is urgent and essential for these communities.
Forests conserve nature
It is generally well-understood that forests act as a carbon sink, absorbing CO2 in the process of photosynthesis. A major concern is how warming temperatures causes more rapid decomposition of organic material in soils, leading to an increase in CO2 released into the atmosphere.
A recent study done by Harvard University produced the surprising finding that these same warming temperatures may stimulate the ability of healthy trees to absorb carbon, thus offsetting some of the increased CO2 released from decomposition.
The benefits of reforestation - or avoiding the destruction of forests in the first place - are numerous; from helping to mitigate climate change, protecting habitats and species, and as an economic lifeline for communities dependent upon them. Forest restoration is urgent and vital to preserve vital ecosystems and reduce global warming.
Decrease carbon footprint by forests and trees
While the rate of deforestation may be decreasing, millions of hectares of forests have been - and continue to be - lost to mismanagement, disease and wanton destruction. These forests can be restored with dedication and rehabilitated to restore and preserve biodiversity and help stabilize CO2 in the atmosphere .
Forests are the lungs of the planet, greatly influencing the global climate. Increased reforestation can prevent temperatures from rising, increase sustainability and ensure a healthy livelihood for forest-dependent people across the globe.
Image credit: ? is for äp?L, courtesy flickr