Why We Need to Protect The Forests We Have Left
“We cannot protect the Earth’s biodiversity without protecting our forests. They harbor most of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and support food security, jobs, and livelihoods for millions of people.”
From cleaning the air we breathe, to providing food we eat and the medicines we take when we’re ill, it can be easy to forget the range of ways forests touch on our everyday lives.
Forests also play an invaluable role in combating climate change and contributing to the prosperity and wellbeing of future generations – so long as they and their resources are sustainably managed.
But despite all these environmental, health and social benefits, forests across the world are being destroyed at an alarming rate. So nothing better than highlight why we need to protect them.
Forests absorb and store carbon, mitigating climate change
Forests are one of the largest carbon sinks on Earth: they absorb carbon through photosynthesis and store it.
In fact: forests absorb twice as much carbon as they emit every year. Between 2001 and 2019, the world’s forests sequestered about twice as much carbon dioxide as they emitted.
It’s crucial to keep forests intact so they can continue capturing and storing carbon:
- Around 25% of global CO2 emissions are sequestered in forests, grasslands, and rangeland.
- If too many forests are taken down, more carbon stays in the atmosphere, heating the Earth even more.
It’s also important to know: the older the tree, the greater its potential to offset and store carbon.
Healthy forests mean healthy people
Forests provide people with an array of resources including fresh air, clean water and nutritious foods. Many also associate them with physical recreation and good mental health.
What is perhaps less known is that forests are also a vital source of medicine. Up to a quarter (25%) of all medicinal drugs in the developed world are plant-based and this rises to as much as 80% in developing countries, the UN estimates.
World’s Water Cycles depends on forests
The rainforest helps to regulate the worlds water cycle. Trees play an important part in the water cycle, grounding the water in their roots and releasing it into the atmosphere. In the Amazon, more than half the water in the ecosystem is held within the plants. Without the plants, the climate may become dryer and growing food could become impossible for many.
Sustainable forestry can create millions of green jobs
Forests support over 86 million green jobs and the livelihoods of millions of others. More than 90% of those who live in extreme poverty are forest-dependent.
Wood from sustainably-managed forests can support a range of industries, including paper production and construction.
Investment in forest restoration can therefore also help create more jobs – something which could prove particularly relevant post-pandemic.
Degraded lands can be restored at huge scale
The Great Green Wall project seeks to create a 8,000 km green belt across Africa’s drylands and restore 100 million hectares of degraded land, while also creating 10 million jobs and improving food security.
Once complete, it is expected to be the largest living structure on the planet – three times larger than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
One of the missions we have at Bluebell is to Empower people to sustainably use forests
Getting people involved at local level is vital to creating a healthy environment. Community empowerment also offers an opportunity to rebuild forest landscapes that are equitable and productive.
If you are a landowner and wants to learn more about how we can help you to expand your forest preservation, just send a message to us and our team will shortly contact you.