Discussion of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment
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Forests and trees are a crucial part of life on Earth from maintaining bio diversity and cleaning the air and water, to provide basic human needs and contributing to culture and recreation. I want other views for forest resources and its importance?
Thanks and Regards,
Last edited by JackBean on Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: link removed
Am I right in saying that per square mile forests give out considerably more oxygen (anyone know how much more?) than any other surface area. This is because of the depth of the vegetation actively photosynthesizing. Light falls off rapidly in water so oxygen production in the sea cannot go very deep. This is why the forests are 'the lungs of the world'. I wonder has any research been done as to whether the depths of the sea are loosing more oxygen? Because this is where the danger of a planetary loss of oxygen would first show up
Forests are important for a whole heap of reasons and not just from an ecological perspective. In addition to what people have already said (maintain biodiversity, cleaning air and water, producing oxygen) they provide habitat for a heap of birds, mammals and invertebrates, they provide food, timber and fibers - planted forestry is a billion dollar industry that provides work for masses of people, they help to prevent floods and stabilize soil to prevent erosion, take up CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in plant tissue, and trap sediment and nutrients to prevent them entering waterways which helps maintain the quality of lakes and rivers.
As you've already said they are important culturally and for recreation, for example people enjoy going hiking, mountain biking and hunting in forests. They have an aesthetic appeal, many people just enjoy spending time in forests and simply appreciate the intrinsic value of natural forest.
I'm sure there are many more reasons..
No, forests are not the lungs of the worlds, the oceans are. I'm not sure about that "per area" production, but in total oceans are much more important (as they constitute 70% of the Earths surface).
But still, what hasn't been said probably yet, forests are very important for the ecology and for keeping the climate. And I don't mean the CO2 bullshit now, but more generalaspects.
Cis or trans? That's what matters.
Don't think like an economist. Forests are no more necessary than anything - they just are. They are necessary for humans in several ways:
1. They can be cut down and burnt.
2. They provide a reserve of land that isn't built over, so sometime in the future developers can do just that.
3. They look good in tourist brochures
Over the last 20 - 30 years they have been seen to be important for these reasons:
1. Locking up carbon
2. Preventing the melting of permafrost
3. Holding back rainfall and so preventing soil erosion
4. Maintaining an environment for forest-dwelling human communities
5. Maintaining an environment for forest-dwelling animals that we happen to like.
6. Maintaining an environment for forest-dwelling plants that we happen to like.
7. Maintaining timber reserves
In 100 years time it will be a completely different list, and 100 years is nothing in the life of a forest.
My own view is strictly conservative - I happen to believe that the 1-7 list is correct, but I do not think we know enough about our global ecology for it to be sensible to risk removing a major feature of the world over a very short period unless the benefits are really large.
By the way, these are the myths that confuse us:
Forests do not grow back. Take a look at Guatemala and Ghana where whole cities have been engulfed.
Fires destroy forests. Forests have been living with fire for millennia. We can make the short term impact worse by trying to protect them.
Forests are face a wave of new threats due to globalisation spreading diseases. European elms have never really recovered from Dutch Elm Disease, back in the early neolithic period. These threats are not new.
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