FOREST FACTS FOR KIDS
If future generations are to make an impact on global warming and fight back against climate change, it's vital for children to learn the importance of forests, the role they play in shaping the environment, and the impact of deforestation.
With that in mind, we put together some fun forest facts to share with all the kids in your life!
WHAT IS A FOREST?
Most simply, a forest is any large tract of land covered by trees and includes all the other plants growing under their canopy (known as undergrowth).
Forests are spread out all over the world and take on various shapes and sizes. While they are all primarily made of trees, the Amazon rainforest of South America and the Boreal forests in the Northern Hemisphere look very different.
Everything that lives in a forest makes up its ecosystem, and the wide range of biodiversity found in these ecosystems is astounding. In fact, more than 80% of the plants, animals, and insects living on land can be found in the world's forests!
These forest ecosystems cover a huge area of the Earth's surface. Before people began cutting down forests to build cities and create farmland, forests covered about half the Earth's land area. Today there is only about one-fifth of the original forests remaining, and forests only cover about 31% of global land area.
WHY ARE FORESTS SO IMPORTANT?
What do paper, cinnamon, lumber, maple syrup, and medicine all have in common? They all come from trees!
Forests are important to all life on Earth. Not only do their ecosystems provide homes to millions of animals, plants, and insects, they also provide important resources for humans.
Wood from trees is used to build homes, furniture, and provide fuel for heating and cooking, and so many food and medicine products come from the plants and animals that call forests home.
Forests also help make the planet a healthier place to live!
Despite how important they are, forests continue to be chopped down at an alarming rate, causing many to worry about the state of the world's forest now and in the future.
GROWING CONCERN FOR FORESTS
When large amounts of forest are cut down to make room for other purposes its called deforestation.
Deforestation can happen for any number of reasons. Forests are often cleared to make room for peoples homes as cities grow along with the world's population. Trees are also cut so farmers can grow more food and raise livestock like cows, pigs, and sheep. Deforestation can be brought on by industry to make the products we all enjoy like furniture, paper, and lumber to make houses.
Many people are concerned about the rate of deforestation. And they have good reason to be!
Every year, an estimated 18.7 million acres of forest is lost. That's more than 20 million football fields! So many forests are being cut down that its making the planet sick and posing a danger to life on Earth.
Cutting down trees releases all the carbon dioxide they once stored. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which traps heat from the Sun close to Earth's surface, causing global temperatures to rise and bringing about a process known as climate change.
Fewer trees also means less rainfall and more drought, and many more animals and plants will face extinction as their forest homes are destroyed.
THERE IS A SOLUTION
Reforestation is a great way to fight back against climate change and protect the Earth's forests.
Planting trees and restoring forest ecosystems remains the best way to remove harmful greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. Stopping deforestation and restoring forests could even provide as much as 30% of the solution to solving climate change!
With education, people can be taught the value of forests and the importance of caring for them and all life on planet earth. Being educated means to gather all the facts before making a decision. We hope that the facts we have given you will help you know how to make the right decision and be responsible for caring for the earth.
We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?
by Matt Hill
Chief Environmental Evangelist