Forests are home to 80% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity, playing a very vital role in supporting the life of all living things. We depend on forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use.
Here are 5 interesting facts about how world’s forests safeguard people’s livelihood amid pandemic:
Forests Provide Green Jobs
Forests provide more than 86 million jobs worldwide and support the livelihoods of more people. Wood from well-managed forests supports a wide variety of industries, from paper to construction. Investments in forest restoration are believed to recover the world economy from the pandemic by creating more jobs.
An Estimated 880 million People Collect Fuelwood or Producing Charcoal
One third of the world's population still rely on woodfuel to meet their basic energy needs. Woodfuel, which includes firewood and charcoal, remains one of the most affordable and accessible sources of energy for people affected by the pandemic as supply chains of other energy sources are disrupted and opportunities for generating income decline.
90% of People Living in Extreme Poverty Are Dependent on Forests
Forests contribute 20 to 25 percent of household income. Forests and trees help insure people from risks such as loss of crops so that most of the poor can avoid sinking into poverty. In addition, the sale of forest products and trees and improve soil fertility, water supply and other services that support their livelihoods.
Non-Consumptive Forest Biodiversity Improve Livelihoods of Rural Communities
The use of non-consumptive forest biodiversity, such as recreation and tourism, is also a source of income for rural communities. Each year, an estimated 8 billion visits are made to protected areas, many of which are covered in forest.
Forests and Trees Provide Safety Nets for Indigenous People
Indigenous peoples are categorized “vulnerable” people, due to higher rates of communicable and non-communicable diseases, high mortality rates and lower life expectancy (UN DESA, 2020). Forests provide safety nets for them to face the pandemic and protect from the risk of COVID-19 infection by retreating deeper into the forest to find food, fuel and dwelling.
Nevertheless, the world's forests continue to be exploited. Deforestation and degradation are taking place at an alarming level leading to biodiversity loss. Since 1990, it is estimated that 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through conversion to other land uses. Since 1990, the area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by more than 80 million hectares.
Forests are not only shelter for all living things, but also the source of life. After understanding how important forests are to human life, it is appropriate that we preserve them for generations to come.
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