Forests cover one third of the earth’s landmass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. The forests serve as green lungs and water purifying systems in nature. In fact, 1. 6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide. Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water for nearly 50% of our largest cities.
They create and maintain soil fertility; they help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms, floods and fires. Forests are the most diverse ecosystems on land, and are home to more than half of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. Forests also provide shelter, jobs, security and cultural relevance for forest-dependent populations. They are the green lungs of the earth, vital to the survival of people everywhere — all seven billion of us. Forests embody so much of what is good and strong in our lives.
Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to live and breathe. Global deforestation is growing at an alarming rate — every year, 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed. Anthropogenic factors that can affect forests include logging, urban sprawl, human-caused forest fires, acid rain, invasive species, and the practice of shifting cultivation. If forests disappear, the amount of Carbon Dioxide in air will increase, resulting in increase of temperature of earth.
Furthermore, it would cause global warming as the Carbon Dioxide gas will trap the heat radiated by the earth, resulting in the melting of glaciers. People who depend on forests for their livelihoods are struggling to survive. Many precious species face extinction. In the absence of forests, the animals would not get food and shelter; the soil will not hold water, which will cause floods. Deforestation will endanger our life and environment. One that ultimately impoverishes us all as harm to our forest life-support system continues each and every single day. But this trend is not irreversible.
It’s not too late to transform life as we know it into a greener future where forests are at the heart of our sustainable development and green economies. Furthermore, targeted investments in forestry could generate up to 10 million new jobs around the world. Already, many leaders are glimpsing the potential for renewable energy and nature-based assets, but for transformation to happen, forests need to become a universal political priority. The services forests provide are essentially to every aspect of our quality of life. And the answer to sustainable forest management, moving towards a green economy, lies in our hands.