Forest helps in production of timber, regulation of stream flow, control. Of erosion, recreation, provision of wildlife habitat etc.
Advantages of Forest
(i) Influence on Climate:
The crowns of the trees hold the moisture in because the force of the wind is broken so it makes the forest cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Image Source: climatechange.thinkaboutit.eu
(ii) Control of Runoff:
Leaves and branches of trees break the impact of rain, causing it to drip rather than a strong force. Rain is absorbed by ground, reducing surface run off.
(iii) Flood Control:
Forested watersheds help in avoiding extremes of water flow so aiding in flood prevention.
(iv) Wildlife Habitat Provision:
Wildlife uses the trees and forest as food and shelter.
(v) Prevention of Soil Erosion:
Water moves slowly through forested soils and stays free of sediments.
(vi) Reduction of Wind Erosion:
A tree is used as windbreaks and slows down the force of wind.
(vii) Removal of Pollutants:
The roots of the trees absorb soil and water pollutants. Sulphur dioxide is used for metabolism of trees. Thus, forests aid in the cleansing of air, water and soil.
(viii) Noise Abatement:
Trees act as a sound barrier.
(ix) Recycling of nutrients:
Forests help in nutrient recycling.
(x) Provisions for healthy survival of local communities and mankind:
Forest provides employment and income, aesthetic pleasure and spiritual solace. They also provide food, fibre, honey, medicinal plants and minerals.
The Measures Taken for Conserving Forest Wealth
(i) Sustainable forest management (SFM):
SFM is the use of the world’s forests in such a way that they continue to provide resources in the present, without depriving future generations of their use.
(ii) Forest certification: Be the responsible consumers:
Buy wood only from companies that follow sustainable practices.
(iii) Involve local communities in Joint Forest Management (JFM):
As local communities want to continue to get the benefits that they previously enjoyed so they provide labour and help in conserving bio-diversity. Government should provide them extractive reserves. These are protected forests in which local communities are allowed to harvest fruits, nuts, medicines, fibres, rubbers, etc. in ways that do not harm the forest.
(iv) Improve governance and accountability:
Government must take bold political decisions and develop new civil society institutions to improve governance and accountability regarding forest use. Stop harmful subsidies to timber companies.
(v) Accelerate Education:
Research and training: This is to ensure that SFM and JFM can quickly become a reality.