10 Forest Facts You Never Knew

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  1. Every minute we lose 60 football fields worth of forests to deforestation. That’s one football field lost every second. Global deforestation is on an upward trend, threatening various efforts aimed at tackling climate change and the massive decline of wildlife. In 2017, the data from a global satellite survey revealed that the world lost more than one football pitch of forest every second.

    Oil palm estate and rainforest in malaysian Borneo
    Oil palm estate and rainforest in malaysian Borneo
  2. 1.6 billion people on this planet depend on forests for their daily livelihood. The first-ever survey on forest genetic resources by FAO called for urgent measures to protect forest resources as they provide a range of economic, health and ecological benefits. Out of the 1.6 billion people depending on forest for daily livelihoods, 60 million indigenous people are almost wholly dependent on forests for livelihood. Forest tree species have evolved into some of the most genetically diverse organisms in existence and if urgent conservation measures are not taken, the increasing population pressure may lead to the loss of forest genetic resources.
  3. 20% of the planets oxygen is produced in the amazon rainforest. The Amazon rainforest has always been described as the “Lungs of our Planet” as it provides the essential environmental world service of continuously recycling carbon dioxide into oxygen. Actually, more than 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced in the Amazon Rain-forest.

    Amazon rainforest
  4. 80% of the world’s plants and animal species depend on forests for their homes. Forests are so much more than a collection of trees. Forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. These ecosystems are complex webs of organisms that include plants, animals, fungi and bacteria.
  5. 1 out of 4 medicines we take are derived from plants and trees. Aspirin was made from willow trees! We could be losing the next wonder medicine that cures everything. Over 8000 tree-species that represent 10% of the earths’ trees are threatened with extinction. This is as a result of the degradation of woodland and forest habitat or unsustainable timber production. The Woolly willow is one such species; a bushy willow found only in mountain areas.

    Willow tree where aspirin is made from
  6. We got a Methuselah, 5000 years old-oldest tree in the world. Bristle-cone pine tree located in White Mountains California. However, the exact location of the gnarled, twisted Methuselah is a Forest Service secret, for its protection.

    Methuselah bristle-cone pine
  7. 4 primary drivers of tree loss: Beef, Soy, Palm oil and Timber. These are by far the leading causes of deforestation and forest degradation in the world. Beef is recognized as the worst deforestation culprit as well as a major cause of climate change. The increase in soy production resulting from its rising use in the livestock sector as animal feed has also led to forest loss. Increasing demand for wood and wood products as well as palm oil for bio-diesel and use in processed foods, has also led to the massive loss of forests.
  8. Cutting down trees releases the same amount of annual carbon into the atmosphere as all cars, trucks, planes and trains in the world combined. It might take a long time before we transform the world’s transportation fleet to be emission-free. However, right now, if we focus on halting the cutting and burning of tropical rain-forests, we could eliminate 17 percent of all global emissions. Trees help stabilize climate which helps reduce natural disasters such as forest fires, floods and landslides.
  9. There are over 60,000 tree species on this planet. According to the first ever comprehensive list of tree species compiled and released by scientists from the U.K.-based Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the list of all known tree species totals to 60,065 different kinds.

    Avenue of Baobabs in Western Madagascar.
  10. 150 species a day become extinct because of habitat loss. According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. This follows a scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every day. This is actually greater than anything the world has experienced ever since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65 million years ago.

Author,  Liz Mazingira. Reach out: 0726309533.

Twitter handle: @ https://twitter.com/lizwathuti   #UnkownForestFacts

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