Have you ever taken a hike through a forest? There’s something incredibly peaceful about wandering under a lush canopy of emerald green, with a thick carpet of moss, leaves and twigs crunching under your feet. The air is clean, the breeze is filled with birdsong, and creatures are scurrying all around you (even if you can’t see them). But whether its tropical, temperate, or boreal, there’s a few things you should know about forests:
- They clean our air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Kind of like giant lungs for the planet!
- They help prevent erosion.
- They keep our water clean.
- They provide essential products and good paying jobs to people all over the world.
On March 21st, we celebrated the International Day of Forests, which reminds us about the important role that forests play in our daily lives. Just look at the many different creatures that live in the forest and rely on it for shelter and food. In fact, some animals have unique needs that can only be met by a forest environment.
Animals like the tree kangaroo, sloth and orangutan are arboreal, which means they spend most of their days hanging out in leafy tree branches. Other animals, like leopards, owls and moths use trees for camouflage. Thousands of birds, squirrels and chipmunks build their nests in tree branches and trunks and Beavers use trees to build their lodges.
But animals aren’t the only ones who need forests. People all over the world depend on forests for recreation, for jobs, for food, and for the products that we use every day. Things like toilet paper, face masks, furniture, lumber to build houses, and fuel for heat all – come from the forest.
Here in Canada, our foresters carefully manage this renewable resource to make sure that we – and future generations – enjoy forests forever. They make sure that every tree harvested is replaced, and they plant over 400 million trees every year – or 1,000 trees every minute! Not only that: Canadian foresters monitor their young seedlings for years afterward to ensure new and healthy forests take root. So the next time you visit a forest – celebrate the important role it plays for people, and animals and the entire planet.
In Canada there are about 9,000 trees for every Canadian.