Virtual Kollage: Six ways in which the forest in your country impacts your life

Posted by / Tuesday, 7 August 2018 / No comments

Six ways in which the forest in your country impacts your life

Forest, Trees, Woods, Beams, Landscape
To any ordinary person, a forest can be any large area that is covered by trees and bushes. In the candid opinion of the Food and Agricultural Organization, however, for a tree to qualify as such, it must meet some set criteria. Firstly, it must cover an area of more than 0.5 hectares, secondly, the percentage of the surface under the tree canopy must be more than 10%, and thirdly, the trees must be able to reach a height of 5 meters when matured. Apart from these criteria, even an established plantations for forest purposes or a young natural stand forest which is yet to hit a canopy cover of 10% or tree height of 5 meters is also considered as a forest. For the FAO, even where an area of the forest is currently not having trees as a result of human activity or caused by natural occurrences, but it is expected that these areas would regain their natural greenery, such areas must also be considered as forests. The FAO does not consider land that is being used for agricultural purposes as forests.

One can see from the above discussion that for a forest to be called a forest, there are several implications, such as, the density of the trees, the height of the trees and the purpose to which the area is being committed.

This being so, a forest can be defined as a large area of land with a crown cover of more than 10% with trees growing up to 5 meters, even if the trees are yet to reach the required height of 5 meters.

Nature, Forest, Sun, Moss, Rays, Green 
Habitat for animals
The forests are important to humanity because they serve as a habitat for animals of different species. It gives the animals the opportunity to remain in the natural environment that was given to them by Mother Nature. There, they are able to live longer and to constantly replenish their stock through reproduction. It is because this has not always been so that some of the world’s animal species have vanished from the surface of the world.

Livelihood for humans
Forests are important because they help the human race to sustain its life. It is a source of food for the human race; it also helps them to provide shelter for themselves. In this sense, wood from the forest provides timber which is used in building houses.

Provision of fuel wood
When man discovered fire, his eating pattern changed completely. In order to provide fire as and when it is needed, man needs to have a source of fuel. That is where fuel wood comes in. This fuel is obtained from the forests. The fuel wood is also needed to provide warmth in colder regions of the world but in West Africa, where the temperature is comparatively not cold, the fire may only necessary for cooking and on cold nights.

Provision of employment
The forests serve as a source of employment for the entire world. It is estimated that about 13 million people across the world are employed, thanks to the existence of forests. In West Africa, the production of charcoal and its distribution is a source of employment for a large population of the citizens.

Redwood National Park, California
Prevent outbreak of diseases
The existence of forests is one way in which the outbreak of dangerous communicable diseases can be prevented. The reason is that the forests provide a natural habitat for the various species of animals. When their natural habitat is disturbed therefore, they must have to move away to find food to survive. It might so happen that when they move away from their natural habitat, they may be moving toward human settlements. Any disease they may be carrying is then transferred inadvertently to humans. It is now believed that the Ebola virus was carried by fruit-eating bats which moved into human settlements in West Africa when their habitat was tampered with and infected humans to cause the Ebola epidemic in 2015.

Pharmaceutical importance
The forests are important because they serve as the basis of the wide range of medicines available in the world today. It is estimated that, about 25% of the active ingredients used by pharmaceutical companies of the world are obtained from tropical rain forests. The final products of these companies are used to treat many different diseases. It is worrying therefore, to know that only about 1% of the plants in the forests have been tested for their medicinal efficacy. If the forests are destroyed, then human-kind loses the opportunity to find cures for the many other diseases that have no cures today.

Note: If forests in general have affected or assisted you in way, share your experience with the world in the comments section.

1. a. What a forest?
    b. Highlight six ways in which forests are important to the human race.

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