FORESTS GIVE US WATER
Forests act as natural reservoirs, treatment plants, and storm water management systems. Forests fight floods. Forests naturally clean pollution and toxins from water. Forestland absorbs rain, refills underground aquifers and slows storm run off.
FORESTS NURTURE LIFE
Forests support the biosphere: plants (from algae and lichen to shrubs and trees), mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, aquatic life, and insects.
“The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
FORESTS CLEAN OUR AIR
Forests clean our air by absorbing carbon-dioxide and producing oxygen as a by-product during photosynthesis. Forests also absorb ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and other greenhouse gases - “A single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants a year and produce nearly 260 pounds of oxygen - enough to support two people”(American Forests 2010).
FORESTS ARE HOME TO BIODIVERSITY
Out of 1.7 million species in the world India has about 7-8% of the species that includes 45,500 floral species and 91,000 faunal species. India ranks tenth in the world and fourth in Asia in plant diversity. It represents about 11% of world’s total floral diversity having nearly 45,500 plant species. India accounts for 7.43% of world’s faunal species. India is placed at seventh position in terms of richness of mammalian species, ninth for birds and fifth for reptiles. Two of the of the 34 biodiversity hotspots of the world are located in India - Eastern Himalayan Hotspot and The Western Ghats:
FORESTS PROVIDE FOOD AND MEDICINE
Forests contribute directly to the food of local communities as well as of many who live far beyond. Forest fruits nuts and berries which are very popular with urban as well as rural consumers. There are also many plants that have life-saving properties. Many prescription and non-prescription drugs contain active ingredients that come from forests. Illnesses such as malaria, hypertension, heart disease and cancer are all treated with medicines made in part from plants.
FORESTS ENHANCE CULTURE
Many religions attach spiritual and religious values to forests. Forests provide a rich source of inspiration for art, folklore, architecture, and advertising. Forests give us great choices for recreation and relaxation. “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men's hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. “~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~
FORESTS SUSTAIN LIVELIHOODS
Approximately 300 million depend on forests directly for their survival, including about 60 million people of indigenous and tribal groups, who are almost wholly dependent on forests (Convention on Biodiversity). Forests play a key role in the economy of many countries (MEA 2005, World Bank 2003). Timber and NTFPs are vital to the livelihoods of the poor. There has been significant growth in some non-timber forest products (NTFP) markets with extension of market systems to more remote areas.