A forest is a large area dominated by trees. Forests are the dominant terrestrial ecosystem of Earth, and are distributed across the globe. Forests account for 75% of the gross primary productivity of the Earth’s biosphere, and contain 80% of the Earth’s plant biomass.
Forests at different latitudes and elevations form distinctly different eco zones: boreal forests near the poles, tropical forests near the equator and temperate forests at mid-latitudes. Higher elevation areas tend to support forests similar to those at higher latitudes, and amount of precipitation also affects forest composition.
Forests covers almost a third of the earth’s land, providing vital infrastructure to most diverse collection of lives. Forests Support countless number of species as well as over 1.6 billion human populations, yet humans play a key role in the widespread of deforestation activities clearing a considerable number of forests each year. In certain parts of the world with dry climates, a combination of farming, overgrazing and drought has turned once productive areas into deserts. Earth’s forests are important resources for the products they provide and for the ecological functions they perform. Some people plant trees while others cut them down as they strive to satisfy their needs, they use the wood from forests to make products ranging from fire wood, furniture and building materials in homes to pulp used in paper industries. In many parts of the world, wood is still a source of fuel mostly used for cooking and heating. But living forests also provides a number of important ecological services. Forests have been given the name “Lungs of the Earth” because they remove carbon IV oxide and produce oxygen.
From Genesis to Revelation, scripture overflows with God’s love for trees, Abraham welcomes the angel under the oaks of Mamre, Moses spoke with God before a bush that will not burn and Debra holds court under the palms. Genesis 2:9 (and out of the ground the lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.) this shows how trees were also important before the eyes of God. Forests can be considered a renewable resource partly on the type of forest for example the temperate forests of the United States can be considered renewable. Most of these forests has been logged at least once in the past and have grown back naturally. However today’s forest differ somewhat in species composition from the forest they replaced, worldwide, about a half of the area originally covered by forest and woodland have been cleared.
Why focus on Forest protection?
As we integrate indigenous knowledge with the current emerging sciences of ecology and conservation, we should do exploitation of forest resources in a very sustainable way such that we don’t compromise the needs for the future generations even as we strive to satisfy our endless daily needs. By this, it will yield to an attempt to preserve the diversity of forest species which is not only vital for their own survival but also to all life forms on earth. If we trace back the way indigenous people were so much careful in the line of forest conservation then we should even be more careful in dealing with forest resources.
Effects of deforestation
The aspect of deforestation is an alarming concern to conservation as it can lead to severe erosion. As soil is exposed to heavy rains, it can wash away nutrients in top soil growing or plowing after deforestation can cause permanent changes to local soils and micro climates that in turn prevent the regrowth of trees.
Planting trees is a win-win situation because trees are habitat to many wild fauna species where nearly half of all known species’ live in forests.
Benefits of Forest Conservation
The following are some of the important benefits we gain from conserving our forests:
1. Increases home value
Because people live there too, it is estimated that about 300 million people live in forests worldwide including the estimated indigenous people whose survival depends on native food and they provide habitats and food for organisms, moderate climate, limit soil erosion and protect fresh water supplies.
Cooling the earth and provision of clean air
One of the important aspect to put into consideration when you think about a forest is that it keeps the earth cool and helps clean the air so that we have good oxygen.
Trees absorb carbon IV oxide that fuels global warming, by acting as carbon sinks forests help fight global warming. Plants also need carbon IV oxide for photosynthesis, but currently earth’s air is almost overtaken by extra emissions of carbon compounds that accelerates heating of the earth. This helps mitigate the impacts of global warming in and around urban areas. Planting trees around urban areas can help cool the urban air by up to 8 degrees Celsius reducing air conditioning needs by 30 percent. In cities, trees also act as excellent air filters by removing harmful pollutants in the air and fine particulates.
2. Provision of rain
Large tree cover can influence weather patterns of a region creating their own microclimate; this is opposed to areas which are not covered with forests. Rain reduces the incidence of drought and enhances sufficient food production and crop growing.
3. Control of floods
Trees help the ground absorb flash floods thus slowing down surface runoff which in turn curbs soil erosion. Forests also act as ground water recharge because as water gets through their roots and trickles down to ground water aquifers they replenish ground water supplies that are important for drinking, sanitation and irrigation across the globe.
4. Wind breakers
Trees provide a buffer zone for wind sensitive plants and give Bees humble time to pollinate such plants. Strong wind may blow away roofing sheets in buildings; therefore growing trees around such areas is important to slow down its disastrous effect.
5. Aesthetic value
Forest has one of the best beautiful sceneries where each and every individual would want to go out during leisure time to relax their minds and have fun even with their loved ones. Trees add beauty to their surroundings.
According to the Forest Act (Act Number 7 of 2005) Enacted by Parliament in 2005 to provide for the establishment, development and sustainable management including conservation and rational utilization of forest resources for the socio-economic development of the country. Parts of the project area consist of indigenous forests. Section 8 of the Act requires all indigenous forests and woodlands to be managed on a sustainable basis for the purposes of conservation of water, soil and biodiversity, river line and shoreline protection.
In our country Kenya for instance we have witnessed a weak legislations and enforcement of forest conservation policies and frameworks that are in place and our judicial systems do not take forest crimes as serious crimes. This should be revisited to safe our country from global warming. The deputy president of the republic of Kenya His Excellency William Samoei Ruto issued an order to suspend all activities that involve harvesting of forest resources mainly logging. We hope that this will bring justice to our forests. This should not make the environmentalists and conservationist relent in advocating for greening the Nation of Kenya; We are not at the projected 10% forest cover, We should fight to bring to an end the growing over harvesting of our forests for commercial purposes and work towards sustainable utilization and management of forest resources.
Planting new trees is one best way of increasing forest cover in Kenya. Let’s all team up to not only to protect the existing trees but to plant and grow more.