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The Role Our Forests Play on Earth

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Forest Tree Moss

Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by John Tarantino of The Environmental Blog.

One can easily get an idea of a person’s health just by looking at his or her outward appearance. According to Lisa Miles, a nutrition scientist, it’s sometimes possible to distinguish if someone is healthy or malnourished by looking at the color and the texture of one’s skin, hair, gums or eyes. This is also similarly true with our forests well-being. The health of our forests can offer a glimpse at Earth’s overall ecosystem health – the connection cannot be overemphasized. Research shows that the extinction of forests is on the upsurge and this is closely linked to global warming and other factors which is making our forests further susceptible to certain ailments such as insect attacks, invasive species, and fires.

Many forests from around the world are suffering these days due to many factors linked to global warming. Sadly, not many of us are aware that we continue to play a big part in contributing to these emissions into the atmosphere. Our forests are disintegrating because of a growing world appetite for resources and because of a finite supply arable land, land that is over-grazed, and desertification.

Deforestation also plays a great role in making our forests prone to destruction. Trees play a very big role when it comes to regulation of water. Trees help us in conserving water, moderating our climate, harboring wildlife and improving the quality of our air. Regrettably, in some parts of the world, trees are now being cut down faster than they are being planted.

Forests play a vital role not only in providing habitat for a wide range of species of plant and animals, they also play a great role in absorbing carbon dioxide from our air. Forest fires and controlled burns can be just as destructive as cutting down trees because it puts an end to their ability to store or sequester carbon. Eventually, these carbon dioxide gases are released back into the atmosphere which adds to the increasing problem of the global greenhouse gas effect.

Extreme weather, invasive species such as insects, and wildfires are all adding to the destruction of forests worldwide. Global warming is just one more thorn that is boosting the severity, number, and size of forest fires in North America alone. This is having the effect of warmer winters which is leading to earlier snow melts which leads to reduced availability of water during hot summer months and droughts in some areas.

There is now a need to manage our forests on a global scale and in a responsible manner. Sustainable forest management is one way that we can maintain our forests because our forests have a socio-economic value. Jason Sohigian, a Deputy Director of the Armenia Tree Project presented and demonstrated that a forest can be worth more than a goldmine. Forests are essential to the survival and the well-being of our planet. To help preserve our forests, we have to reduce deforestation and emissions caused by burning fossil-fuels. We also need to realize the all-encompassing value of trees and how it can help in combating climate change.

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