Protecting our forests

Save trees, save our future

Why should we save forests?

  • Watershed- Forests serve as a watershed. Almost all water ultimately comes from rivers and lakes and from forest-derived water tables. Some rivers running through forests are also keep cool and from drying out.
  • Habitat and Ecosystems- Forests serve as a home (habitat) to millions of different wildlife. Animals form part of the food chain in the forests. All these different animals and plants help form an ecosystem. The healthier the ecosystems are the better it can withstand and recover from a variety of disasters like floods and wildfires.
  • Economic benefits- Forests are very important to us economically. Plantation forests provide us with timber and wood, which is exported and used in different parts of the world. They also provide tourism income to inhabitants (people living in or close to forests) when people visit and see the beauty of nature.
  • Climate Control- Climate control and atmosphere purification is very important to us. Trees and soils help regulate atmospheric temperatures through evapotranspiration (evaporation and plant transpiration), which helps to stabilize the climate. They enrich the atmosphere by absorbing the bad gases (like CO2 and other greenhouse gases) and producing oxygen. Trees also help to remove air pollutants.
Why Trees?

What trees provide for our wildlife

Wherever they are trees, wildlife and other plants are sure to follow. Trees provide shelter and food for a variety of birds and small animals, like squirrels and beavers. Trees also create an environment that allows the growth of plants that otherwise would not be there. Flowers, fruits, leaves and wood parts of trees ate used by many different species. Bacteria and fungi contained in tree parts cause decay which makes nesting easier for some birds and increases soil fertility and structure for furrowing by other smaller animals. Trees also provide shade, reduce water and air temperatures and contribute to the overall health of aquatic ecosystems by providing habitat, shelter, and food for aquatic species.
Did you know?
About 2,000 trees are cut down in the rainforests per minute. Shockingly, 36 million acres of natural forest are lost each year.

Deforestation

Deforestation is when humans remove or clear large areas of forest lands and related ecosystems for non-forest use. Like clearing for farming purposes, ranching and urban use. In most cases, trees are never re-planted. Since the industrial age, about half the world's original forests have been destroyed, and millions of animals and living things have been endangered. Even though people have become more educated and aware of the importance of forests, deforestation has not reduced much, and there are still many more communities and individuals who still destroy forest lands for personal gains. The trees cut are usually very well developed trees that have taken many years to mature. When they are cut, they break down many more younger trees as they fall to the ground, leaving the areas heavily degraded.

Effects of deforestation

  • Soil erosion destruction- Soils (and the nutrients in them) are exposed to the sun's heat. Soil moisture is dried up, nutrients evaporate and bacteria that help break down organic matter are affected. Eventually, rain washes down the soil surfaces and erosion takes place, but soils never get their full potential back.
  • Water Cycle- When forests are destroyed, the atmosphere, water bodies and the water table are affected. Trees absorb and retain water in their roots, a large part of the water that circulates in the ecosystem of rainforests remains inside the plants. Some of this moisture is transpired into the atmosphere. When this process is broken, the atmosphere and water bodies begin to dry out. The watershed potential is compromised and less water will run through rivers. Smaller lakes and streams that take water from these larger water bodies dry up.
  • Loss of Biodiversity- So many wonderful species of plants and animals have been lost, and the many others that remain are endangered. More than 80% of the world's species remain in the Tropical Rainforest. It is estimated that about 50 to 100 species of animals are being lost each day as a result of destruction of their habitats.
  • Climate Change- Plants absorb Carbon Dioxide CO2 (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and uses it to produce food (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that make up trees), and in return, it gives off oxygen. Destroying the forests mean CO2 will remain in the atmosphere and in addition, destroyed vegetation will give off more CO2 stored in them as they decompose. This will alter the climate of that region. Cool climates may get a lot hotter and hot places may get a lot cooler.
Dear Future Generations: Sorry

Benefits of trees

  • Produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide- Trees are necessary for our survival. Through photosynthesis trees produce the gas we cannot live without; oxygen (O2). Trees take in the carbon dioxide (CO2) we release and produce oxygen. This cleans the air by removing harmful CO2 so that people and animals can breathe.
  • Moderate temperature and rainfall- Trees are like natural air conditioners and water pumps. They cool the earth by giving shade and recycling water. By cooling the air and ground around them, the shade from the trees helps cool the earth's temperature overall. Trees also help moderate the earth's rainfall, which also helps keep the temperature cooler. Forests help to make sure we get rain. Trees absorb a lot of water from the soil for nourishment. Later, when it shines on the trees, water is released from the leaves and absorbed back into the atmosphere. When the sun's energy removes water from the earth's surface, the water collects into clouds, and when the clouds are heavy with water they release back to the earth.
  • Provide food, medicine, shelter and warmth- Everyday we use or eat something that has come from a tree. The uses of wood are virtually endless. In addition to being processed into products, trees are also cut down so they can be used as fuel to cook food and heat homes. So many of the foods we consume come from trees like fruits, nuts and even maple syrup that we use on our pancakes. There are also many plants that have life saving properties. About $30 billion is spent every year in Canada on prescription and non-prescription drugs that contain active ingredients that come from forests. Illnesses such as malaria, hypertension, heart disease and cancer are all treated with medicines made in part from plants.
Did you know?
On average, a broad-leafed tree will absorb about 10 kg of CO2 per year

What we can do to help

  • Make an actual effort to effort to share information with others on deforestation and it's effects, and also on how they can help.
  • Join organizations, forest-preservation societies and pressure groups that aim to help preserve the rest of our natural resources.
  • Reduce the use of artificial items, recycle more and re-use items. Wood, paper, plastics and many other things we use daily can be linked to natural resources being destroyed. The more we recycle, the less dependency there will be on the environment (and trees). It also means that companies and governments will import less raw-material from the forest regions of the world.
  • Restore damaged ecosystems by planting trees on land where forests have been cut down.