5 things you might not know about forests – but should
“Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people,” said former US president, Franklin Roosevelt. Covering almost a third of the Earth’s surface, forests are home to eight in 10 animal and plant species. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says the world’s forests include over 60,000 species of tree, all of which absorb CO2 as they grow.
But all is not well in Earth’s woodlands. Only half of all forests are still intact and only a third are primary forest – naturally occurring woodland composed of native species where human activities have not disturbed the natural ecology.
Over 20,000 tree species are at risk and over 1,400 of them are on the critical list, according to the FAO. Estimates suggest 420 million hectares of forest have been lost since 1990 and although the rate of loss has slowed, 10 million hectares were lost between 2015 and this year.
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Words by Douglas Broom