By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Forests are important. They are ecosystems that house different species of flora and fauna, many of which are beneficial to humankind.
These are only some of the not-so-secret functions of forests that many are aware of. Here are other, less known roles that forests play in our lives:
- Natural Supermarket – Approximately 50 percent of the fruit we consume come from trees. Nuts and spices are also harvested from forests around the world and are authentic as it gets.
- Life insurance – Some communities depend exclusively on forests for their food sources. Around 250 million people reside in forest and savannah areas rely on the food as well as materials they can forage from the trees or plants found in forests.
- Water source – Forests largely provide drinking water to over ⅓ of the world’s largest cities such as New York and Mumbai. Rivers and streams have their sources in forests and trees act as filters to supply clean water.
- Energy source – One-third of the world’s population use wood as a source of energy. Forests supply about 40 percent of global renewable energy which consists of solar, hydroelectric, and wind power.
- Climate Change heroes – Lush forests are keys to fighting against climate change and making cities more sustainable. Trees and plants cool the air, remove pollutants, prevent erosion, and even provide a home to different kinds of animals.
- Carbon Sinks – Forests absorb roughly 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year. However, this is countered whenever deforestation occurs. The process releases back the carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere, making it the second-leading cause of climate change after burning fossil fuels.
- Recreational Spots – Nature-based tourism accounts for 20 percent of the global market. Green spaces are a good source of recreation where people can relax and be as close to nature as they can be.
Forests are silent helpers in sustaining life on Earth. While we benefit from the natural processes of forests, it is important to preserve it and as well as its resources.
We should limit what we get to avoid exploitation and replace the resources taken, such as planting new trees in place of those that were cut down for use.