Air We Breathe
As you read this, you’re breathing, and a forest helped make it possible. That’s because forests are “the lungs of the Earth,” absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen that people need to survive. And forests’ influence goes even further: They play a critical role in managing clouds, wind, humidity, air quality and rainfall patterns.
Carbon dioxide and other gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the sun’s heat. Too little CO2, or too much of it, and the planet can’t support life. Forests help make sure the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is just right. Over hundreds of millions of years, forests have perfected the ability to capture CO2 — including much of the extra carbon generated by human activities.
Jobs And Prosperity
Nearly one in four people depends on forests for their livelihoods in some way. Every year, people trade more than US$ 300 billion worth of forest products like timber and fruits. And many forests contain the key to new medical discoveries, with nature-based products accounting for about 42% of the revenue of the world’s top-selling pharmaceuticals.
Water We Drink
Forests are nature’s water factories. They capture, store, purify and then gradually release clean water to towns and cities located downstream. When forests are lost, these factories stop humming. Erosion and sediment increases, and water flows become more unreliable — leading to greater floods, periods of low water flow and threats to drinking supplies.