It is always important to remind ourselves the benefits of forests as we tend to take the importance and benefits of forests for granted. There is a need to understand that the impact of deforestation is very great and will be very difficult to correct as forests are under threat. Forests play a vital part in our lives these include:
- Provide us with oxygen as we exhale oxygen
- Provide the 2nd largest carbon store after Oceans
- Habitants to biodiversity and livelihood for over 2 billion people relying on forests, nearly half of known species live in forests (mainly tropical forests)
- Influence weather patterns, eg. The Amazon forest generate atmospheric conditions promoting regular rainfall in areas around it
- Provide us with timber and related by-products
- Help reduce; flooding, surface runoffs and erosion, g. by slowing the rate of flow providing a buffer for natural disasters
- Provide windbreaks, for buildings, crops etc
- Sources of food and medicines for humans and animals, g. most of the cancer-fighting drugs come from forests
- Provide beauty moreover they are places of tranquillity and relaxation
Significant threats the World’s Forest are
- climate change resulting in droughts, forest fires and pests
- deforestation from human forest clearing for other uses mainly agriculture use (soybean palm oil) and illegal logging
Illegal logging causes environmental damage, costs governments billions of dollars in lost revenue, promotes corruption, undermines the rule of law and good governance and funds armed conflict. There are multiple examples on the impact of illegal logging. Consumer countries contribute to this by importing timber and related wood products without checking the legality of the product.
A number of initiatives and campaigns are being undertaken globally from various governments, associations and trade bodies etc to help protect forests for us and future generations by ensuring sustainability.