By Ananwureyi Joy Ohine
According to the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), between years 1990 and 2015, the world lost some 129 million hectares of forests. Wow! That’s an area the size of South Africa! If we keep losing forests the way we are doing now, someday, there will be no forests left on our green planet. We don’t want that, do we?
Established by the United Nations Resolution in the year 2012, 21st March has been set aside every year to celebrate International Forests’ day. This day is set aside to raise awareness on the importance of forests and trees, including their benefits to current and future generations. The theme for this year’s International Forests Day is “Forest Reforestation: A Path to Recovery and Well Being”.
Are forests really important? YES! They are. How?
The importance of forests cannot be emphasized enough:
💚 Forests provide habitats for biodiversity. Our world’s forest is home to over 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
💚 Mitigation of global warming or climate change is another benefit that cannot be stressed enough. Forests play crucial roles in climate change, as deforestation can cause problems.
💚 Forests provide source of livelihood for humans.
💚 They help to provide jobs
💚 They provide medicine
💚 Provision of oxygen is another benefit
💚 Forests offer watershed protection
💚 Provision of food security
💚 Prevention of erosion
💚 Forests provide a significant percentage of the world’s renewable energy
💚 Forests provide natural cooling system for our planet.
💚 After oceans, forests are reportedly the world’s largest storehouses of carbon, as they absorb green house gases that produce climate change.
Despite all these obvious benefits, each year, an estimated 13 million hectares of forests are lost, along with their biodiversity. Sad, isn’t it?
It’s high time we are reminded of the value of our forests. Forests products are vital parts of our daily lives in more ways that we can imagine. In fact, forests play significant roles in poverty eradication and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What can we do?
🌳Let us all embrace reforestation. PLANT A TREE. This is the most straightforward personal strategy against deforestation. You do not have to be like Jadav Payeng, ‘the forest man of India’, before you can start planting trees.
🌳Use less paper. Globally, a significant percentage of timber is used to make paper products, and the demand increases each year.
🌳Use recycled products
🌳Don’t burn excessive firewood
🌳Raise awareness at every chance you’ve got
For us to achieve reforestation and a better well being for us all, we have our roles to play. It is a mutual responsibility. Let’s all join hands to restore forests and manage them more sustainably for the benefits of ourselves and the planet as a whole.
Remember, when we take away forests, it is not just the trees that go; the entire ecosystem is affected.
When we have healthy forests, we have healthy people. Caring for our forests is caring for life.
Don’t forget to hug a tree today. It is the quickest way to appreciate the vital role it plays in our lives.
The Green Giants are essential. THEY ARE MORE THAN JUST TREES!