1. The tree, as the central form, represents the forests of this Earth in all their variety and diversity: ranging from boreal coniferous forests to deciduous forests in temperate zones and from the dry savannah forests of the subtropics to the impenetrable jungle of tropical rain forests. 2. The tree trunk supports the rest of the logo – emphasizing that trees are the distinguishing feature of the forest ecosystem and are the basis for many of the pivotal functions that forests fulfill.
Indeed forests and their services represent an essential basis for the livelihood of more than a billion and a half people around the world. In many regions, forests are a key basis for sustainable development. The trunk also represents wood, the most environmentally friendly raw material, so relevant for a greener and more sustainable economy. Wood is equally important as a source of energy: In many developing countries wood is the main source of fuel for cooking and heating, and in industrialized countries wood is increasingly used as a clean and renewable source of energy.
About 60 percent of the wood removed from forests and trees outside forests is used for energy. 3. We humans may consider ourselves to be at the centre of creation, yet we are also an inextricable part of nature. The varied icons surrounding the human symbol reflect the close link between humans and forests and the many ways people use and benefit from forests. As we use the forests, we also have a duty to conserve them. And for many civilizations, trees and forests are central to cultural and spiritual life, which is what makes us uniquely human. . Water Forested watersheds are the reservoirs of the world. Forests have an essential role in stabilizing water supply and ensuring its purity. They protect the soil from erosion and stabilize drainage. They filter sediments and pollutants, influencing water flows and quality. Forests play a central role in local water cycles, absorbing water, storing it and mediating its evaporation. In addition, in many forest regions rivers are vital (and sometimes the only) transport and access routes for local people and products. 5.
Forests contribute to human health in many ways. Many forest plants (leaves, bark, seeds and roots) have medicinal properties. Medicinally active ingredients from the forest are not only important to the health of forest-dwelling people; traditional knowledge about their use is often the basis for modern pharmaceutical products used the world over. Forests are also a source of natural and nutritious foods. Walking and exercising in the forest provides mental and physical health benefits, especially for people who live in cities and have little daily contact with nature.
Studies have shown that activities in woodland settings can improve mood – depression, anger, tension, confusion and fatigue. These effects may be due not only to physical exercise and breathing fresh air, but also to the aromatic oils released into the air by forest trees (especially conifers). 6. In terms of biodiversity, forests are the richest of terrestrial ecosystems, containing more than 90 percent of the world’s terrestrial species. Tropical forests alone contain some 50 percent of all known vertebrates, 60 percent of plant species and the vast majority of insect species.
The immense biodiversity of the forests is a treasure for humankind and all life; it is the basis for many products and environmental services provided by the forests and is thus also of great economic importance. Although different ecosystems have different levels of diversity, the discrepancy often has natural causes; changes in biodiversity occur through time in all communities and ecosystems. Sound planning can ensure that uses of forest biodiversity are compatible with conservation. 7. The vast biodiversity of the forests is a natural habitat – for migratory birds, for example – which must be safeguarded.
Until recent decades, the main strategy for conserving forest biodiversity was strict protection: keeping people out of the forest. There will always be cases where strict protection is necessary, but allowing local people to use the forest can also help motivate them to conserve forest resources. 8. Diversity of world’s forests The world’s forests are highly diverse, ranging from boreal coniferous forests to mixed temperate forests to tropical rain forests to dry savannah forests. With some 1. billion hectares, the boreal coniferous forests of the Northern Hemisphere and high mountain areas are the forest complex that covers the greatest area. They frequently consist of very few tree species (e. g. firs, pines, spruces and larches) but are inhabited by a large number of animal and plant species. The Amazon forest is the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rain forest in the world, representing over half of the planet’s remaining rain forests. The second largest bloc of rain forest is in the Congo Basin. 9 Forests are major habitats for wildlife.
Forest wildlife provides both products (e. g. honey, wild meat, edible insects, and traditional medicines) and ecosystem services (e. g. pollination, seed dispersal). All kinds of species, large and small, terrestrial, aquatic and avian, are harvested for bush meat. High-value commodities from wildlife include ivory, rhinoceros horn and tiger bone. Many types of wild forest animals are captured and traded as pets. Forest wildlife also provides a basis for commercial and/or recreational activities such as hunting, photography and bird watching. 0. Forests support food security in many ways. Many millions of people depend on foods from the forest – fruits, seeds and nuts, leaves, roots and tubers, mushrooms, honey, wild game, insects and fish – for subsistence and income. Furthermore, forests provide fodder and browse for livestock and fuel for cooking and processing food. Forest resources support livelihoods and help reduce the vulnerability of poor households; they serve as a safety net in lean times when food supplies are most vulnerable.
Trees on farms and in agricultural landscapes help stabilize, sustain and restore agricultural production; they promote food security indirectly by regulating water supply and climate and by buffering crops against wind and storms. 11. Forests are of major importance for the climate, at both the local and global levels. They provide shade and a cooling effect in warm regions and mitigate climatic extremes. They clean the air of impurities and dust and have an important function in the water cycle. Finally, forests contribute to mitigating global climate change by serving as an important carbon sink.
Forest ecosystems (including biomass, dead wood and soil) contain at least as much carbon as the Earth’s atmosphere. We can help mitigate climate change by reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and by conserving and enhancing forest carbon stocks through sustainable management of existing forests and through afforestation and forest restoration. 12. Wood products Sustainably produced wood is a permanently available, renewable raw material with a wide range of uses and excellent ecological and economic benefits.
It is used not only to construct human dwellings, but for many everyday objects such as furniture, flooring, paneling and boat building, paper and paper products. The use of sustainably produced wood is environmentally sound and carbon neutral, since wood and wood-based products are effective and often long-term carbon sinks; the carbon contained in the wood is stored for the life of the product. Thus the use of wood can help limit the greenhouse effect and climate change caused by humans.