We are happy to announce that our Nigerian regional coordinator, Imam Maiyaki, is now one of our monthly Whispers of the Woods bloggers!
Welcome, Imam, and thank you for writing for us!
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According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, about 7.3 million hectares (18 million acres) of forest are lost every year, and roughly half of Earth’s tropical forests have already been cleared. Therefore, this causes climate change and increases global warming.
The Global Tree Initiative (GTI) recognizes that planting trees across the globe is one of the biggest and cheapest ways of taking CO2 out of the atmosphere to tackle the climate crisis. Not only do trees act as carbon sinks, but they also provide vital habitats for animals and ecological services for humans, such as purifying the air we breathe and regulating local temperatures.
So, reforestation programs conducted by GTI coordinators around the world can stabilize land from erosion or natural disasters, improve soil health and groundwater recharge, promote native and endemic fauna, and provide economic development for nearby communities. The GTI family worldwide understands that reforestation is one of the most important and accessible ways that people can contribute to solving the challenges of climate change and are committed to continuing their various projects.
Importance of tree planting
Checking biodiversity loss
Today, we are standing at the threshold of an imminent crisis with rapid climate change, global warming, and greenhouse effect. The Earth is gradually losing its biodiversity as more and more animals are forced out of their natural habitat. The only way to check these adverse effects is reforestation.
Reducing carbon dioxide in the air
Human life is facing the ill effects of environmental crises. The lack of trees, smoke released from factories, and automobiles, have polluted the urban air. Reforestation is the simplest way to improve the quality of the air we breathe. Plants soak in carbon dioxide from the air, helping in precipitation and lowering surface temperature. If we rapidly lose vegetation, the average temperature will continue to rise. Melting glaciers will raise the sea level, and there will be drastic climatic changes.
Fighting global warming
Plants help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air and significantly decrease the presence of toxic gases like methane. So, only through planned reforestation the effects of deforestation can be checked and global warming can be reduced. Forests are natural-effective carbon sinks. Carbon given out from burning fossil fuels is absorbed by the forests.
Deforestation and urbanization have been a constant threat to the flora and fauna of any area. We have lost numerous valuable plants and many animals are facing threats to near extinction. Reforestation will not only check environmental pollution but help to preserve wildlife. In addition to the climate benefits, reforestation has the potential to preserve endangered species. A recovering forest restores habitat loss and degradation and threats to species’ health.
Erosion and watersheds
It is evident that the rapid felling of trees leading to deforestation of large parts of the globe led to soil erosion. This in turn affected agriculture, landslides, and flash floods. To reverse this situation, we need reforestation. The roots hold onto the soil and prevent runoff of the topsoil. This preserves the fertility of the soil. Forest restoration can reverse the damage done by erosion. Reforestation will revive the watersheds which are important aspects of environmental well-being.
Oxygen-Carbon Dioxide balance
Reforestation activities promote the gradual depletion of CO2 from the atmosphere through absorption during photosynthesis. This, in turn, reduces its concentration in the atmosphere. The process of photosynthesis releases oxygen and therefore helps to maintain the CO2-O2 balance. Less carbon dioxide means less pollution and less global warming.
Preventing soil erosion
Another environmental hazard caused by deforestation is erosion. The trees prevent or reduce soil erosion and water contamination. The roots of trees serve as natural nets spreading extensively into the ground to hold the soil in place. As soil runoff is prevented essential nutrients are retained and the soil remains fertile. Trees add manure to the soil from falling leaves and dried branches.
Maintain water cycle
Forests maintain the water cycle of the area by absorbing moisture through the leaves and roots. They are a natural storage system of rainwater and slow down the aridity of the atmosphere. Trees prevent freshwater lakes from losing moisture and drying up.
The trees release some of the water they absorb as water vapor from their leaves. This is the process of transpiration; this helps to restore moisture in the atmosphere and helps maintain the temperature in the local environment.
Forests have always been a great source of economy. The paper factory is dependent on wood pulp supplied from trees. Lumbering had been the main occupation of the people in the coniferous region. When a forest is properly managed and saplings planted regularly, then forests are a sustainable source of timber. Forests provide employment to the local people who gather forest products and turn them into handicrafts. A global cottage industry with no pollution!
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Thank you for the article, Imam!
If you want to read more from Imam, you can read this article about food security in Nigeria.
If you have any questions for Imam, or a request for a blog article, send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org