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Forest To Be Thankful For …

Forest To Be Thankful For …

In 2012, the United Nations declared that the 21st March as International Day of Forests…

This day raises the awareness of the importance of forests and their biodiversity, and on this day communities and nations are encouraged to undertake activities and discussions that celebrate and safeguard these habitats

Humans have harvested wood from trees since we first developed an understanding of creating something from the materials around us.

We have used wood for fuel and to create tools, weapons, buildings and furniture from early Paleolithic times to the modern day, only refining and broadening the scope of our creations.

 Forests also provide critical global services in nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration and air quality management. The phrase ‘the earth’s lungs’ is often used to describe forests, and there is some truth to it.

Forests have an amazing capacity for removing carbon dioxide and pollutants from the air and producing oxygen. The trees then sequester the carbon and pollutants such as Sulphur dioxide, nitric acid, ammonia and nitrous oxides within their own biomass, effectively reducing the levels of these in the air.

The end result is cleaner air containing more oxygen and less carbon dioxide, which not only improves the air that we breathe but also helps to combat global warming.

While most of the ways that we benefit from forests are distant, one of the exceptions is the simple value of being in a forest. These habitats are often described as places of peace, where it is possible to escape the rush of modern life and find a sense of calm.

Being able to get out of the house or office and spend some time in a natural environment is hugely beneficial to mental health (something which of particular importance in this time of home-working).

Beyond this, forests provide recreational opportunities including a space for walking, cycling, running, wildlife watching, mountaineering, orienteering and a place for children and dogs to run rampant.

The International Day of Forests is an opportunity for us to consider the importance of forests in our lives.

These habitats provide so many benefits, both material and spiritual, and they are something that we should fight for in the face of increasing deforestation and large-scale development.

But for now, especially if you’re one of the many stuck at home, find your nearest woodland and get out there.

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