Why we must protect and preserve the forest
When we ask ourselves why we must protect and preserve the forest, surely our answer will be directly related to the knowledge we have acquired about its importance and its direct relationship with our daily lives.
The rush with which we live and the obligations that occupy our minds and our time often make us forget that forests fulfill essential functions for the sustainability of our planet: They protect the soil by regulating the water cycle and preventing erosion; influence the weather; produce oxygen; they fix and accumulate carbon dioxide; they provide landscape value; they support the economy of the inhabitants of the area; they produce food and are home to different species of animals.
According to the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020, forests cover almost 1/3 of the world’s land, which is equivalent to 4.06 billion hectares. Of that forest area, 54% is distributed in only five countries: the Russian Federation, Brazil, Canada, the United States of America and China:
- Russian Federation: 815 million hectares (20%)
- Brazil: 497 million hectares (12%)
- Canada: 347 million hectares (9%)
- USA: 310 million hectares (8%)
- China: 220 million hectares (5%)
- Rest of the World: 1.87 billion hectares (46%)
It is estimated that every year, more than 12 million hectares of forests are burned or felled around the world. If we could avoid it, these forests would help us mitigate climate change.
Deforestation And Net Change in Forest Area
The FAO defines deforestation as the conversion of forests to another type of land use (regardless of whether it is human-induced or not).
The “net change in forest area” is the sum of all forest losses (deforestation) and all forest gains (forest expansion) in a given period. The net variation, therefore, can be positive or negative, depending on whether the gains exceed the losses, or vice versa.
The same 2020 FAO report details that deforestation continues, but at a lower rate.
The FAO estimates that since 1990, 420 million hectares of forest have been lost worldwide due to deforestation, but the rate of forest loss has slowed considerably. In the most recent five-year period (2015-2020), the annual rate of deforestation was estimated at 10 million hectares; which is a reduction compared to the 12 million hectares in 2010-2015.
Think that when trees are felled for their wood or fuel, or when forests are burned for agriculture, their stored CO2 (a greenhouse gas) is released into the air, thereby causing the planet to warm.
What is biodiversity?
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines “biological diversity” (or biodiversity) as the variability of living organisms from any source, including, inter alia, terrestrial and marine ecosystems and other aquatic ecosystems and ecological complexes of those who are part; It encompasses diversity within each species, between species, and within the ecosystem.
Forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Forests and other wooded land are made up of more than 60,000 species of trees. Biodiversity is seriously threatened by deforestation, forest degradation and climate change.
How can we help take care of the forest?
- Avoid introducing new animal or plant species that could alter the biological cycle of the ecosystem.
- Do not dirty or contaminate streams, rivers, ponds… the waters, in general, that may exist.
- Respect the environment and keep it clean, leaving no trace of our presence and no waste of any kind.
- Make the most of sustainable paper and wood products.
- Print only when necessary and if possible do it on both sides.
- Digitize the documents. There are 100% cloud-based tools that can be accessed at any time.
- Use the hand dryer whenever possible and try not to use paper towels.
- Acquire products with the FSC certified seal.
- Support environmental NGOs and campaigns to plant trees.
- Recycle paper and cardboard.