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  Life   More Features  13 Apr 2017  Preserving our forests

Preserving our forests

THE ASIAN AGE. | DR REKHA SHETTY
Published : Apr 13, 2017, 12:44 am IST
Updated : Apr 13, 2017, 12:44 am IST

More than 80 per cent of all creatures, animals, plants and insects live in these forests.

Forest watersheds and wetlands contribute to 75 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply and one third of our cities drinking water.
 Forest watersheds and wetlands contribute to 75 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply and one third of our cities drinking water.

The cyclone in Chennai, Vardha last December, uprooted 100-year-old trees and turned a green Chennai to a sad brown town. Unless each of us makes an effort to replace these portable oxygen factories, Chennai and its environment will suffer a shortage of rain and shade.

Forests cover 1/3 of the earth’s surface. They sustain 1.6 billion people and serve as a source of livelihood. More than 80 per cent of all creatures, animals, plants and insects live in these forests. Yet 13 million hectares of forest is destroyed every year and it accounts for 20 per cent of the global green house gas emissions.

The World Bank’s starting point now is to ask how can practices that have often led to significant forest degradation, tax evasion and corruption, be reformed, so that forests contribute more revenue to the State, produce more and better jobs, and result in sustainable development.

Forests are critical for the planet’s supply of water through rain. Their roots protect ground water supply while preventing soil erosion. Forest watersheds and wetlands contribute to 75 per cent of the world’s fresh water supply and one third of our cities drinking water. Forests are natural water filters.

Manoel Sobral Filho, director of the UN Forum for Forests, speaks of massive growth of human population in Africa and Asia reaching 8.4 billion people in 15 years. Some of the world’s largest cities depend on forest water resources: Durban, Jakarta, Rio De Janeiro, Bogota, New York and Madrid. 75 per cent of all fresh water is provided through forest catchments. Over 42 per cent of the world’s workforces are heavily water dependent.

So plan to plant one tree a month in a protected area in your house, in a school or community centre. Take steps to preserve water and this planet.

The writer is the author of Everyday Happiness Mantras

Tags: drinking water, forest degradation, soil erosion