The Benefits of Forests

The benefits of forests.

It is extremely difficult to summarize the importance of forests in a few lines. In addition to providing habitat for many plant and animal species, contributing significantly to the protection of biodiversity, forests are essential for the conservation of soil and water, provide timber and other products, then act as reservoirs for carbon sequestration mitigating the effects of climate change. Yet the surface covered by forests in the world continues to shrink dramatically …

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Forests cover an area of nearly 4 billion hectares, ie more than 30% of the land. But just 12.7% – ie 479 million hectares – is protected. Figures released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in November 2005 reported the loss of 13 million hectares of natural forests each year, which corresponds to a loss of 25 hectares (or 36 football fields) per minute.

Forest ecosystems are of vital importance for the planet and this represent the source of livelihood for many human settlements and for governments. In fact, they also contribute to the protection of biodiversity (tropical forests, which cover only 7% of the surface of the planet, home to about half the species of animals and plants) are essential for conserving water and preventing erosion soil, providing wood and other products, then act as reservoirs of carbon sinks mitigating the effects of climate change.

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These “services” make sure the forests are so valuable and indispensable, as Jared Diamond writes in his book “Collapse”, many ancient societies have even become extinct due to unsustainable deforestation.

Forests, Clean Air Earth Just as our lungs absorb carbon dioxide in the blood and you infuse oxygen, green plants absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and, in turn, release oxygen into the atmosphere. This is why we often speak of forests as the lungs of the Earth, an epithet used to refer mainly to the rainforests of the Amazon, the largest tropical forests in the world.
We know that photosynthesis (the production of energy by the chlorophyll in the presence of light) involves parts of the plant are essential for the survival of the organism. Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, is a fundamental requirement of photosynthesis. That is good for us because it means that forests cause an effective lowering of the level of carbon dioxide produced by respiration of animals, the consumption of fossil fuels, volcanoes and other natural phenomena and manmade. It’s not all: one of the products of photosynthesis is oxygen. The Amazon forests, thus absorbing a large amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen are the Earth’s air purifiers.

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