The worlds forests cover 30% of the Earths surface and are an important part of our lives. We might not know it, but here in Australia, we are cashing in on some of the benefits from forests all over the world. Its common knowledge that trees absorb carbon dioxide, retain the carbon and release oxygen back into the atmosphere.
According the Food and Agriculture Organisation of United Nations, the worlds forests have declined by 3% since 1990. That’s a massive 129 million hectares cut down for various reasons such as agriculture, wood production and expanding population.
Three quarters of the worlds species call forests home. When forests are harvested for their timber or cut down to make space for agriculture, populations of animals and other plant species decline. In some cases, it has led some species close to extinction.
The good news is that the rate of deforestation has halved since 1990 and in 60 countries, forest areas have actually increased. This shows that people understand the importance of our forests and the role they play on a global scale. In fact, many wooden products are now produced using renewable resources such as timber plantations.
Timber plantations are considered sustainably produced because they are self-replenishing. Trees are planted on previously cleared land, maintained, and then harvested for wood. The land is then reconditioned and planted with trees again. This allows the consumption of timber and prevention of deforestation.
There are many organisations out there that are fighting to save our forests. Wooden toy manufacturer Ever Earth have developed the Plant-A-Tree program, which allows and encourages customers to reengage with nature by purchasing only toys made from renewable timbers. Their Plant-A-Tree program offers any person who has bought an Ever Earth product to register and have a tree planted in their name. So far, they have planted 90,335 trees. None of these trees will be cut down for commercial purposes and contribute to the reforestation within the heart of China. Check out their video below.
While humans began destroying our forests, through education, we have also started rebuilding them. No longer do natural forests have to be harvested for timbers. Renewable resources such as timber plantations have allowed the consumption of timber to continue (and actually increase) without burdening the environment through deforestation. As a result, deforestation rates have halved over the last 25 years and in 60 countries, forest areas have increased. By contributing to the environment by only purchasing sustainably grown timber products, you too are helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase survival rates of threatened species. You can even contribute to free programs such as the Ever Earth Plant-A-Tree program so you can actively assist with the rebuilding of forests.