Protecting the worldБs forests is a key priority in the fight against climate change. Deforestation is causing harmful greenhouse gas emissions being released into the EarthБs atmosphere but itБs not too late to take action. Why do we care about deforestation? Whether you live in the Amazon or within a thriving city, deforestation – the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, affects us all. Forests are critical to life on earth. 1. 6 billion people rely on them directly for food, shelter, fuel and income. They also regulate our climate, remove harmful CO2 emissions and can help slow the rate of climate change. Yet every year, as an ever-growing population places unsustainable demands on our planet, we lose 13 million hectares of forest. Trees also provide protection against natural disasters like floods and landslides, as well as giving us tranquil spaces for recreation and exercise. In short, we need our forests and our forests need us! So why have Unilever partnered with WWF? Unilever are committed to doing our part in the fight against climate change and, by 2020, we want to halve the environmental impact of our products. This means helping farmers improve their agricultural methods, reducing waste and cutting our carbon footprint. Tackling deforestation will give our planet a chance for a bright future. are working to protect endangered wildlife and the environment, tackle climate change and promote sustainable use of natural resources. Unilever believe that together we can spread the message about the importance of preserving and protecting the worldБs trees. How are Unilever and WWF helping to protect these trees? The tree protection programme is part of UnileverБs commitment to sustainable living and will help fund the protection of one million trees in Brazil and Indonesia Б two forest areas at high risk of deforestation. Together with WWF, we are engaging people in the importance of forests and the vital role they play in our daily lives.
Our partnership is supporting a long-term programme by WWF and their partners,
and, to lay the foundations for protecting forests around the world. Our key goals are to reduce deforestation and forest degradation, restore forest areas, promote sustainable forest management, and increase tree stocks in agricultural landscapes. The protection of trees is important alongside the planting of new ones. When a tree is cut down you are not just losing that tree, but causing an impact to every system that tree supports individually and collectively as a forest. Tree planting is part of the solution, but without protecting, managing and helping restore the vast areas of existing degraded forest we will constantly be fighting a losing battle. We know that change is possible Б and itБs already happening. China aims to have 23% of its land covered in forest by 2020 – replanting around 500,000 km. Since 2000, Brazil has already more than halved its rate of deforestation. Leaving a significant amount of trees intact, almost half a billion tonnes of carbon emissions have been prevented from entering the EarthБs atmosphere. It is important that we keep this momentum going. What can you do to help? Unilever and WWF are working to do our part but we canБt do it alone. In order for communities to thrive and allow farmers to maintain their livelihoods, governments, businesses, communities and individuals must come together and join in the fight to secure the future of our planet for, not just our children, but for generations to come. By working together, we can create a brighter future. Figures according to WWF, 2015. Heading into at the United Nations climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, two of The Nature ConservancyБs leading forest experts, and, sat down to brainstorm their list of Бtop 10 reasons why forests matterБ (in no particular order). Absorbing and storing carbon Because trees absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into wood, where the carbon stays bound up for hundreds or even thousands of years, living forests are an important part of the earthБs climate system.
Growing trees soak up CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks, roots, leaves, and forest soils. Home to people and depend on them directly as sources of food, medicine and livelihoods. Source of jobs and livelihoods More than 1. 6 billion people around the world depend on forests to some extent for their livelihood, according to the. Some 60 million indigenous people are completely dependent on forests for all aspects of their survival. And about 10 million people are employed in forest management and conservation around the world. Wood for furniture, lumber, firewood and other products, many local communities sustainably harvest mahogany and other wood, as well as chicle, which is used to make chewing gum. Panama hats are actually made from an understory palm from the coastal dry forests of Ecuador. In total, about 30 percent of the worldБs forests are used for production of wood and non-wood products (such as food, resins, medicines, etc. ). Habitat for mammals, birds, insects Forests are home to almost half of the worldБs species, with some of the richest biodiversity found in tropical forests. Insects and worms help cycle nutrients through the soil. Many rare and endangered species, such as orangutans, gorillas and pandas, depend on dense patches of isolated forest. Preventing flooding During times of heavy rainfall, lowland forests such as those in floodplains help to, preventing damage to soil, property and buildings. Lowland forests such as the blackwater swamps of the Southeast are also spectacularly beautiful habitat for a wide range of wildlife. Conserving soil and water Trees are an important part of the water cycle. By helping slow runoff and allowing water to filter into the soil, they can preserve groundwater supplies that are important both to people as drinking water and to fish and other aquatic life in nearby streams.
Trees also help hold soil in place, reducing erosion by both water and wind. Deforestation in plays a role in dust storms that afflict Beijing and other East Asian cities. has embarked on an ambitious reforestation effort in part to alleviate these problems. Regulating regional climate When trees are planted in cities, they can help to ease the Бheat islandБ effect and provide cooling shade for homes and buildings, reducing energy usage for air conditioning in the summer. When planted strategically, they can provide effective wind barriers. Large forests also play a role in weather and rainfall patterns and micro-climates. For example, creates conditions that result in regular precipitation for lands to the south that are productive agricultural areas and are thought to even enhance rainfall in the Great Plains of the. Natural beauty Trees and forests are sources of human inspiration and enjoyment Б even from afar. Trees are a symbol of life, and in our modern times, of a movement to sustain the environment that all people depend upon. Polling by The Nature Conservancy shows that more than 90 percent of Americans report that trees give them a feeling of peace and tranquility. So we can put trail blazes on something The establishment of protected areas and parks often allow for development of trails for hiking, snow sports, and bird-watching, providing people who live outside of forests with a refuge for recreation, tourism, and educational activities. Walking in a forest can be a source of spiritual renewal for many (stillness broken by the whispering of pines, the call of an owl or the rustling of a small animal through brush and dried leaves). Do you have your own reasons why forests matter? Please tell us in the БcommentsБ section below. Frank Lowenstein is climate adaptation strategy leader at the Nature Conservancy (Image: Winter snow fall in the woods of the Saint John River watershed. Image Credit: By Amy Vitale. )