Types of Forests: Study of Usefulness and Threats to Forests

snerfuStarred Page By snerfu, 16th Jun 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Environment

Different regions of the world have different kinds of forests. Forests are an integral part of our life and yet one is not aware of the threats that are present to its existence. It is our duty to educate people about the need to conserve forests.

Reality of threats to forest

Any study related to forests will mention the threat existing to forests. They become significant when one considers their usefulness. Here we look at some types of forests and threats that exist today to their existence.

Usefulness of forests

Forests on earth cover over 25-30% of total land area. One can understand why they have such importance when one realizes that our existence is dependent on them.
• Supports the life of many species
• Form effective soil covers
• Regulate water flow over the land
• Effective carbon dioxide traps
• Provide useful resources for forest-dependent industries
• Purify water
• Contain 90% of world biodiversity

Total land area under forests in our world has seen a decrease over the past few years. It was 40, 356 sq. km in 2008 and 40, 321 sq. km in 2009. Next year it fell to 40, 231 sq. km and the threat is that this trend shows tendency to continue.

Categories of forests

We classify forests broadly into:
a) Tropical and subtropical rainforest: Year round high temperatures (63˚C to 78˚C) with rainfall of 90 – 100 inches annually cause two things to happen. One is erosion due to surface runoff and second is decomposition. Leaves and broken branches form a thick cover that rots very fast. You will find these on either side of the equator. This forest provides a rich source of drugs for man. Advantage of having high levels of biodiversity remains outdone by the rate of depletion of rain forests.
b) Coniferous forest: You find these mainly in the mountains with some spread over the coastline. They have annual rainfall in excess of 150 inches but temperatures lie between -40˚C and 20˚C. You will mostly find spruce, pine, hemlock and similar softwood trees. Taiga is that ring of forests that extend across northern Asia, northern Europe, Canada and Alaska.
c) Temperate forest: These forests have trees that shed their leaves to conserve water during winter months. The temperature of these forests varies between 6˚C and 30˚C. Rainfall is minimal at 30 inches. You find hardwood trees such as beech, maple, hickory and oak. When people do not burn the wood from these trees for fires, it finds use as construction material and for making handicraft items.

d) Plantation forests: One finds these developed mainly by man for commercial purposes. Examples of these kinds of forests include coffee, cotton, oil seeds, tobacco, sugarcane and rubber. They exist mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

Understanding the threat

Various kinds of threats exist to forests. Among them the predominant ones are:
a) Road construction: Rapid urbanization has given way to need for more roads. People who are not caring about conservation practices regarding forests will mow down the trees in the forest. This threat is very significant since towns are growing rapidly.
b) Unsustainable forest practices: Cutting trees for firewood or marketing them for commercial uses depletes forest enormously.
c) Acid rain: High levels of toxic contaminants in the air cause acid rain. This will erode the leaves and destroy whole areas of forests over time.
d) Soil erosion: Excessive rain can wash away soil and deter the growth of forests.
e) Increasing land for agriculture from forestland: One clears land for agricultural purposes but when it destroys forests, it becomes a threat. One can offset this by choosing non-forest land or land that do not have significant forest growing.
f) Development activity: Clearing large areas of forests for constructing buildings poses another threat. Undoubtedly, rate of progress suffers if one does not have the land. However, if one makes up for the deforestation by planting more trees, then this threat becomes negligible.

Doing your bit for forests

One must raise the awareness of threats to forests among people. Conduct classes for those who are willing to learn more. Most importantly, bring methods of conservation to the attention of everyone. Go online and make it known to everyone on the Internet about the need to protect forests. When people realize the usefulness of forests and the threat that they are facing, they will become sympathetic to this cause of preserving forests.

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Forest, Land, Threat, Tree, Use

Meet the author

author avatar snerfu
Bachelor, Christian, 53, settled in Madurai, India, like to watch football and tennis on TV. I also have occasional walks but try to read the Bible daily. For amusement, I read the newspaper.

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author avatar snerfu
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Many thanks Mr Kinsman for moderating my page.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
16th Jun 2014 (#)

Wonderful- both information and concern!!!

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author avatar snerfu
17th Jun 2014 (#)

Thanks so much Ms Powers. Good to see you.

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