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Saving forests to save the earth

By: Anku Sharma

World Forestry Day or International Day of Forests is celebrated on the 21st of March across the world to raise awareness among communities about the values, significance, and contributions of the forests to balance the life cycle on the earth.

Image credits: Pradeep Kumbhashi

The theme for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being.” The restoration and sustainable management of forests can help in addressing the issues related to climate change and biodiversity.

A forest is a complex and diverse tapestry of living organisms. The trees form a large part of forests. In addition to trees, forests also include water, air, and wildlife. The water that we consume, the oxygen that breathes life in us are dependent upon the majestic forest lands of the world. Imagine life without trees, imagine a planet without forests. Well, we all know of planets in our solar system where there are no forests and hence no known sign of carbon-based life form.

The forests of our planet act as lungs. However, in recent years there has been an alarming decline in overall forest land around the world due to anthropogenic activities. Forest fires are another reason we have had to face the receding forest globally. In India too, the forests have been sacrificed in the name of development. The increasing population to demands more and more agricultural space hence leading to the cutting of forests.

According to a report, Uttarakhand’s forest area was approximately around 38,000 sq km, which is 71% of the state’s geographical area having around 112 species of trees, 73 species of shrubs, and 94 species of herbs which according to scientists are under threat. Subsequently, around 70% of forest land has lost about 50,000 hectares of its forests in the past 20 years due to various developmental projects and activities such as mining, hydropower plants, road construction, distribution lines, water pipelines and irrigation.

Recently, almost hundreds of women from Jaakhni village of Bageshwar district came together reminiscent of the Chipko movement in the 1970s in district Chamoli of Uttrakhand, to save over 500 trees which are being cut for a 2 km motorable road. There has been an increase in movements across the states for the saving of forest lands in India.

All across the world, people are coming forward to raise their voices for the conservation of green cover. Forests are an integral part of the matrix of our life and ecosystem.

The survival of the planet falls imperatively upon these rich habitats of unique terrestrial species that are known as forests. The International Day of forests was proclaimed on the 21st of March,2012 by The United Nations General Assembly. On this day, the world’s awareness and importance of all types of forests are raised. Countries around the world carry out local, national, and international activities that center around forests and trees, such as tree plantation drives.

Forests are one of the most crucial things of our lives. Its’s important we protect and save them. After all, every individual action counts!

Anku Sharma

Anku Sharma

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