Forest: Weather and Forests
Forests form an important part of the wealth of a country; and in India, the preservation of the forests is so important that it has long been taken over by the Government, and is in charge of the Government Forests Department. Forests have a great influence upon climate; for they attract rain and preserve moisture an important matter in a dry country like India. The leaves of a tree are always giving off moisture; and this constant evaporation cools the surrounding atmosphere.
In consequence, when moisture-laden winds blow over a forest, the moisture they carry is condensed and forms clouds, and these dissolve in rain. This is not mere theory. It has been proved that the destruction of forests of any extent quickly changes the climate of the whole district. Whereas before it had an abundant rainfall, after disafforestation the rainfall became scanty, the land went out of cultivation and became an arid desert. On the other hand, afforestation, or the planting of forests, will turn a desert into well-watered and fertile district.
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Further, forests on hill sides do much to prevent destructive floods. When heavy rain falls on bare hills, it rushes down at once to the plains in roaring torrents, carrying parts of the hill with it, and flooding the country below. But when the hills are covered with forests, the trees and the spongy soil they create absorb a large part of water, and allow the rest to flow down to the plains quietly and without any destructive effects. Forest products, especially timber, form an important part of a nation’s wealth.
The Indian forests supply all the timber that is required in the country, and much is exported, the sale of it bringing in a very respectable revenue to the State Forests also provide abundant fuel to the districts near by, and so enable the cultivators to keep the gobar for enriching their finds, instead of being obliged to burn this valuable manure as fuel. The planting and preservation of forests is therefore a matter of great importance.