A Short List of Forest Facts for Kids
Meaghan Weeden | September 9, 2021 | 5 min read
Forest facts for kids
Talking with kids about the importance of trees and forests, deforestation and climate change can be challenging, but it's an important conversation to have. After all, if future generations are going 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 on every aspect of our lives.
To help you get the conversation started, we put together some fun forest facts to share with all of the kids in your life! And if you're looking for even more kid-friendly and teacher-friendly resources about forests, check out our T.R.E.E.S. School Program.
Read on For our list of 11 Forest Facts for Kids
1. FORESTS: MORE THAN A COLLECTION OF TREES
OK, let's start at the beginning: what exactly is a forest? Simply put, a forest is an area of land that's dominated by trees and undergrowth vegetation. But forests are also so much more than trees: depending on the type of forest and where in the world they are, they can have clear rivers to swim in, big rocks to climb, bright wildflowers to sniff, and more!
2. THERE ARE 3 MAIN TYPES OF FORESTS
While all forests are primarily composed of trees, the Amazon Rainforest and the Russian Tiaga look very different. As a rule of thumb, there are three main types of forests: rainforests, temperate forests and boreal forests — with subcategories almost as diverse as the species that call them home.
3. Forests are home to over 80% of biodiversity on the planet
Everything that lives in a forest makes up its ecosystem, and the wide range of biodiversity found in these ecosystems is truly astounding. In fact, more than 80% of the plants, animals and insects living on land can be found in the world's forests! The world's biodiversity needs our help protecting its home.
4. FORESTS ONLY COVER ABOUT 31% OF GLOBAL LAND AREA TODAY
Before people began cutting down forests to build cities and create farmland, forests covered about half the Earth's land area. 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 forests now and in the future.
5. TODAY, ONLY ABOUT 1/5TH OF EARTH'S FORESTS REMAIN
Humans evolved with trees and have relied on them for shade, shelter, food and medicine for generations, but today's natural spaces look very different from the massive swaths of primary forest that early humans knew. Due to population growth, the industrial revolution and more, the pace of deforestation has snowballed into what we see today.
6. 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods
What do paper, cinnamon, lumber, maple syrup, rubber and medicine have in common? They all come from trees! That's because trees come in all shapes and sizes and many tree species provide important resources for humans. When sustainably harvested, these resources can provide a steady income for people who create and sell forest products.
7. 121+ NATURAL REMEDIES CAN BE FOUND IN THE RAINFOREST
From roots spreading deep underground to wood mushrooms growing high up above, forests are filled with medicine that can help with many of the things that ail humankind. Those who live in close connection with the forest know what plant to grab to stop bleeding, ease a headache, draw out a bee sting, disinfect wounds and more!
8. FORESTS MAKE THE PLANET A HEALTHIER PLACE TO LIVE
From clean water to clean air, to forest bathing, forests are crucial for the planet and for our well-being. That's because trees use their leaves to filter air pollution, absorb and slowly release rainwater, produce powerful chemicals and positive ions that help us release stress and anxiety, absorb carbon and release oxygen and more!
9. every year, an estimated 18.7 million acres of forest are lost
Deforestation, or the act of cutting down forest to make room for other land uses, is a growing problem. So many forests are being cut down that it's making the planet sick and posing a danger to life on earth. Fewer trees also means less rainfall and more drought — and many animals and plants face extinction as their forest homes are destroyed.
10. CUTTING DOWN TREES RELEASES CARBON DIOXIDE
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 the process we know as climate change. Trees absorb carbon and use it to grow their trunks, branches and roots, making them living carbon sinks!
11. THE 5 MAIN CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION ARE agriculture, logging, mining, infrastructure, and climate change
Forests are often cleared to make room for people's homes as cities expand to accommodate the world's growing population. Trees are also cut so farmers can grow more food and raise livestock like cows, pigs, and sheep. They're also logged to make the products we all enjoy like furniture, paper, and lumber to build houses.
Reforestation is a great way to protect Earth's forests and fight back against climate change. Planting trees and restoring forest ecosystems remains the best way to remove carbon and other harmful greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. And research has found that stopping deforestation and restoring forests could provide as much as 30% of the solution to solving climate change. Feeling inspired? Plant a tree where it's needed most today!
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