Forests

Forests are incredibly complex and important ecosystems. From providing habitats to acting as carbon sinks, they go beyond just beautiful scenery and are crucial to the environment.

There are three types of forests: temperate, tropical, and boreal. Temperate forests are located at about the 25º and 50º latitudes at both hemispheres of the Earth. 25 percent of forests on Earth fall into the temperate biome. Tropical forests are located within the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Tropical rainforests are the biome with the most biodiversity, meaning the highest variation and diversity within animal and plant species. Boreal forests are located in the Northern hemisphere. Boreal forests are known for long and cold winters and the animals and plants living there are able to withstand much snow. There is much variation in the types of forests around the world and the plants and animals that live within them.  

Forests provide a home to about 80% of the Earth’s biodiversity on land. From plants to animals, many species call forests their home. Maintaining the biodiversity of an ecosystem is crucial. Biodiversity is important because species support the ecosystem through acts such as pollination, fertilization, and balancing out the population sizes of species. Biodiversity, essentially, is crucial because it sustains these forest ecosystems needed for combating climate change. Destroying the homes and habitats for many species would decrease the biodiversity of forests and result in many negative losses. 

In addition, second to oceans, forests are one of the most important carbon sinks. Carbon sinks are sources that take in more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than released. The role of carbon sinks is to regulate the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon sinks are very important especially to combat climate change. As the conditions forests need to thrive and biodiversity is lost, the ability for forests to act as carbon sinks lessens.

Forests also play an important role in providing resources for humans. About 300 million people live in forests around the world. Humans also depend on forests for materials such as wood and paper as well as many varieties of fruits. Forests also play a vital role in watershed health, and they contribute to decreasing the amount of erosion that gets into the water.

Without forests, humans would be impacted negatively in many ways, both indirectly and directly. Forests play a crucial role in the climate, food sources, materials, and habitats for many organisms. 

Sources:

correspondent, Fiona Harvey Environment. “Tropical Forests Losing Their Ability to Absorb Carbon, Study Finds.” The Guardian, 4 Mar. 2020, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/04/tropical-forests-losing-their-ability-to-absorb-carbon-study-finds. Accessed 8 Jan. 2021.

“Forest Habitat | Habitats | WWF.” World Wildlife Fund, 2000, http://www.worldwildlife.org/habitats/forest-habitat. Accessed 8 Jan. 2021.

Glenn Patrick Juday. “Taiga | Definition, Climate, Map, & Facts.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 21 Jan. 2019, http://www.britannica.com/science/taiga. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

“Global Forest Atlas – Exploring the World’s Forests | Global Forest Atlas.” Globalforestatlas.Yale.Edu, globalforestatlas.yale.edu. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Jaymantri. “High Angle-Photography of Green Forest Trees,” Pexels, 16 May 2015, http://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-forest-trees-fog-4827/. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

‌Jeremy M.B. Smith. “Tropical Rainforest | Climate, Animals, & Facts.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 24 Aug. 2018, http://www.britannica.com/science/tropical-rainforest. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

‌‌Pearce, Fred. “Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles.” Yale E360, 2000, e360.yale.edu/features/how-deforestation-affecting-global-water-cycles-climate-change. Accessed 8 Jan. 2021.

Shaw, Julie. “Why Is Biodiversity Important?” ConservationInternational, 15 Nov. 2018, http://www.conservation.org/blog/why-is-biodiversity-important. Accessed 8 Jan. 2021.

“WWF – The Importance of Forests.” Panda.org, 2015, wwf.panda.org/discover/our_focus/forests_practice/importance_forests/. Accessed 8 Jan. 2021.

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