The field of forestry is an applied science that uses biological, physical, social, political, and managerial sciences to protect, manage and conserve forests. Forestry is also an art because although the sciences ensure reliable information, it is up to the foresters to use their judgment and techniques to achieve the desired outcome from forests. While forests have always been one of the key reasons ensuring human survival on this planet, the pressing issues of environmental change and resource depletion have made it more important than ever to handle forest resources effectively. Here are ten reasons why forestry is important:
#1. Forestry provides for forest goods.
Historically, forests have been the number one source of almost all the goods that humans used. Even today, a major portion of the goods we use comes from forests directly or indirectly. Forestry is mainly related to the production of timber used for construction and furniture, as well as wood used in the form of fuel. Gradually, Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), such as medicinal herbs, resins, leaves, bamboos, etc are receiving major attention from foresters because of their increasing value.
#2. Forestry is directly linked with freshwater regulation.
An estimated 75 percent of the freshwater used for domestic, agricultural, industrial, and ecological purposes are supplied by large forested watersheds. Moreover, the fact that approximately 80 percent of the world population is currently facing water insecurity is deeply concerning. As a result, forestry interventions targeted for water cycle regulation ensure the continued supply of fresh water.
#3. Forestry helps to reduce climate change.
While forests have always been at the forefront of heated debates about the climate change issue, Forestry was and will always be amongst the top solutions to mitigating and adapting to climate change. However, forestry is continuously blamed for causing climate change in the first place. Deforestation and forest degradation contribute to 5-10 Gigaton of CO2 annually which is about half of the total global emission from the land sector. But what many fail to understand is that deforestation and forest degradation are the exact opposite of the goals of forestry. Forestry deals with the management of forests by conserving, protecting as well as utilizing them sustainably.
#4. Forestry is the key to achieving a sustainable future.
The survival of the human species depends on the survival of forests. All essential functions for life on earth like air, water, food, and shelter are obtained from forests. Forest-based resources have become extremely scarce and inaccessible to many today compared to just a few decades ago because 13 million hectares of forests have been removed per year since 2000. This is the equivalent of 5 football pitches of forests being removed every minute. At this rate, the future of life on this extraordinary planet is doomed. Nonetheless, with the help of forestry, deforested areas can be revived through plantations and new forests can be established.
#5. The maintenance of biodiversity is achieved through forestry.
Forestry is extremely important for maintaining the rich diversity that nature offers. For eg, a hectare of tropical forest land can have more than 480 tree species which are vital for the proper functioning of the ecosystem. Although far less diverse, the forests of the temperate zone are also rich in important native flora and fauna. Tropical forestry and temperate forestry are sub-disciplines of forestry that are important to conserve the biodiversity of both types of forests.
#6. Forestry is important in Urban planning.
Urban forestry is a sub-discipline of forestry which is designed to address the needs and problems of urban spaces. Urban forestry plays a huge role in filtering the air and water, conserving energy, maintaining aesthetics, providing shade and habitats for wildlife. Additionally, it is important for a number of other reasons like health benefits, community enrichment etc. Urban forestry includes all trees or groups of trees located in urban areas.
#7. Forestry and agriculture are interrelated.
Forestry is vital in supporting the productive potential of agriculture by stabilizing soil, increasing groundwater recharge, providing shade, regulating local climate, improving nutrient cycling, etc. The combination of agriculture and forestry is called agroforestry where agricultural crops are grown in combination with trees on the same land. This forestry practice has been proven effective to increase productivity and ensuring sustainability of the land.
#8. Forestry includes wildlife and aquatic ecosystems.
Forests are home to thousands of species of wildlife in both the forest ecosystem as well as aquatic ecosystems. Conservational forestry includes the protection of those species by assigning forests as protected areas like national parks and wildlife reserves. In such areas, the main goal is to manage trees to fit the habitat needs of wildlife.
#9. Forestry is vital for recreation and landscape management.
Modern life has created mental as well as physical stresses in people. As a result, forests have been safe heaven where people retreat to connect with nature and experience tranquility. For the adreline seekers, forests offers a playground for a range of activities like mountain biking, hiking, etc. Forestry practitioners are focused on developing potential areas and landscapes for recreation and tourism because they are environment-friendly ways of using forests to generate revenue. Consequently, The inclusion of recreation as a forest service is as important for forestry as forestry is important for recreation.
#10. Forest economy is a major aspect of forestry.
We have discussed the range of goods and services that forestry helps to obtain from forests. All these goods and services are a massive source of revenue since several industries like wood industries, paper industries, tourism industries, etc are dependent on forestry. Proper forestry policies and practices that make responsible and sustainable use of forest resources have the potential to transform the economies of communities as well as countries.