Forests cover around 30% of the land area on Earth and produce vital oxygen - in fact more than 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced by the Amazon Rainforest alone. Forests are integrated ecosystems home to some of Earth’s most diverse life, home to many of the world’s most threatened and endangered animals, and over 1.5 billion people rely on what forests offer - food, fresh water, shelter, clothing and medicines.
But forests around the world are under threat from deforestation. Deforestation occurs with fires, crop planting, cattle grazing, urbanisation, unsustainable logging for timber, and degradation due to climate change. This impacts and threatens a wide range of animal and plant species as well as humans. At present we are losing a staggering 18.7 million acres of forests annually, which is equivalent to 27 soccer fields EVERY MINUTE. If the current rate of deforestation continues, it will take less than 100 years to destroy ALL of the remaining rainforests on the earth.
"In Kenya women are the first victims of environmental degradation, because they are the ones who walk for hours looking for water, who fetch firewood, who provide food for their families" - Wangari Maathai
A SIMPLE SOLUTION EXISTS
Our beautiful ancient forests have over billions of years perfected natural carbon sequestration - a natural cycle by which nature has achieved a balance of carbon dioxide and oxygen in our atmosphere suitable for sustaining life. However when forests are cleared, they emit carbon back into the atmosphere, placing humanity on a collision course with the devastating effects of climate change.
"We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all " - Wangari Maathai
We need to plant more trees in both urban and rural areas across the globe. Trees are the best technology and the most cost effective way we have to take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by fixing the carbon dioxide into soils and biomass. 50% of a tree’s biomass is stored carbon and acts as a carbon sink a reservoir that will store carbon for an indefinite period. So quite simply we know we must stop the loss of our natural forests and accelerate forest landscape restoration.
“Forests have too often been a landscape for conflict. Perhaps in the future, forests can become landscapes of reconciliation, places where people come together and try to build a common understanding and a share sense of direction in what we want in the future.” - Professor Keenan
About the Author: Vinita is the Founder of Bhumi Organic Cotton and passionate about an Earth Life Balance.