As a resource, forests
provide many important natural resources, such as timber, fuel, rubber,
paper and medicinal plants. Forests also help sustain the quality and
availability of freshwater supplies. More than three quarters of the
world’s accessible freshwater comes from forested catchments. Water
quality declines with decreases in forest condition and cover, and natural
hazards such as floods, landslides, and soil erosion have larger impacts.
It’s well known that forests play a key role in our battle against
climate change; storing carbon and sucking in carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere and locking it into their biomass.
Products / Benefits (Water)
But what’s less well known is that the products and services they provide
are essential to every aspect of life. By regulating water for many of the
world’s rivers, they help secure water quality, and supply nearly half of
the world’s largest cities from Caracas to New York. They also help
decrease the impacts of storms and floods, whilst helping control erosion.
As the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, forests are home to
more than half of terrestrial species, from the great apes to the smallest
Economics and Livelihoods
They also provide homes, security and livelihoods for 60 million
Indigenous peoples, whilst contributing to the livelihoods of 1.6
billion people worldwide.
Products & Biodiversity
The impact of forests reaches even further. In many developing countries
more than 80% of total energy consumed by people and industry derives from
forests. Such as fuel wood and charcoal. Trade in timber and other forest
products, is estimated at almost 330 billion US Dollars /year. Its value
multiplies as its processed into a myriad of products used globally every
day. Use of the genetic diversity within forests enables the development
of new medicines; progress in healthcare and science.
Forests cover 31% of
total land area while at the same time supporting 80% of terrestrial
biodiversity that live in them. Many of the world’s most threatened and
endangered animals live in these forests, making them crucial to
sustaining ecosystems. Not only animals live in the forests, as they also
provide a home to more than 300 million people worldwide.
World Environment Day
World Environment Day
(WED) chose this year’s theme, ‘Forests: Nature at Your Service’, to
encourage forest conservation and sustainable consumption for green
growth, and in support of the
UN International Year of Forests initiative. Preserving forests
throughout the world has to be in our collective consciousness so as to
change our lifestyles.