Forests sustainably manage natural resources and generate essential ecosystem services that contribute to the health of our planet. They protect people, provide a clean air environment, store carbon and stabilize the climate. Deforestation is a threat to the biodiversity that forests support, as well as human and economic development around the world.
Forests are home to a diverse variety of species, including at least 8% of the world’s plants and 5% of its animals. They store carbon, regulate climate and maintain water quality.
They also help prevent floods, landslides and earthquakes. Trees’ roots give the soil structure to absorb and retain water, protecting the surrounding land from erosion.
Planting trees is an effective way to offset greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s important to make sure the plants are planted in sustainable forests that won’t be harvested for timber. Check out a local forest nonprofit or a national conservation charity to learn more about how to donate.
Encourage your local government to conserve forests, create parks and oppose destructive suburban sprawl and other development. This is a great way to protect the ecosystem, create jobs and build community pride.
Consider a conservation easement if you own a forested property. The money you invest in a conservation easement will be used to buy forest land for future generations, rather than being spent on paving roads or building new buildings.
A Forest is a place to rest and reconnect with nature
Research shows that spending time in a forest reduces stress, improves concentration, and increases happiness. It also helps people recover from stress-related exhaustion, which can affect the immune system and cause depression and other problems.
Visiting forests provides opportunities to learn about the natural world, which in turn fosters a sense of connection to others and the environment as a whole. It can help students develop a deeper appreciation for the importance of preserving our world’s natural resources and helping to preserve forests worldwide.
Focus on Forests is a free, interactive, high school curriculum that helps students understand the ecological systems of forests, analyze interdependencies within forest ecosystems and discover how they are affected by factors like fire. It includes hands-on activities and lessons in biology, civics, ecology, economics, and forest management content areas.
Forests are a source of clean air, fresh water and food for people throughout the world. They absorb CO2 from the air and replenish oxygen in the atmosphere, while producing wood and other non-wood products that are essential to human health.
They also help reduce the global temperature through evapotranspiration and cool down our atmosphere. When a forest is destroyed, it releases large amounts of greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change.
For more information on how you can save forests, check out the World Economic Forum’s One Trillion Trees initiative or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Get involved with a local forest nonprofit and volunteer!
Aside from helping to restore habitat, reforestation also benefits local communities by providing employment and reducing poverty. In addition, reforestation creates a greenbelt to prevent flooding and landslides, which can harm homes and farms and increase the risk of disasters. It can also improve the quality of life and safety for children, by providing a healthier landscape, more recreational activities and an opportunity to connect with nature.