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Project Samvatsar Details

Project Samvatsar Details

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Published by kveena401

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Published by: kveena401 on Oct 30, 2011
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 What is a forest?
is an area with a high density oftrees.There are many definitions of a forest, basedon the various criteria. These plant communities cover approximately 9.4% of theEarth'ssurface (or 30% of total land area), though they once covered much more (about 50% of totalland area), in many different regions and function ashabitatsfor organisms,hydrologic flow modulators,andsoilconservers, constituting one of the most important aspects of the Earth'sbiosphere.Although a forest is classified primarily by trees, a forestecosystemis defined intrinsically with additional species such asfungi.
Distribution of forests
Forests can be found in all regions capable of sustaining tree growth, at altitudes up to thetree line,except where natural fire frequency or other disturbance is too high, or where theenvironment has been altered by human activity. The latitudes 10° north and south of theEquatorare mostly covered intropical rainforest,and the latitudes between53°Nand67°N haveboreal forest.As a general rule, forests dominated byangiosperms(broadleaf forests) are more species-rich than those dominated bygymnosperms(conifer, montane, or needle-leaf forests), although exceptions exist.Forests sometimes contain many tree species only within a small area (as intropical rainandtemperate deciduous forests), or relatively few species over large areas (e.g.,taigaand aridmontaneconiferous forests). Forests are often home to many animal and plant species, andbiomassper unit area is high compared to othervegetationcommunities. Much of this biomass occurs below ground in the root systems and as partially decomposed plantdetritus.The woody component of a forest containslignin,which is relatively slow to decomposecompared with other organic materials such ascelluloseor carbohydrate. Forests are differentiated fromwoodlandsby the extent ofcanopycoverage: in a forest, the branches and the foliage of separate trees often meet or interlock, although there can be gapsof varying sizes within an area referred to as forest. A woodland has a more continuouslyopen canopy, with trees spaced further apart, which allows more sunlight to penetrate to theground between them. Among the major forestedbiomesare:
Rain Forest(tropical and temperate)
 What is Deforestation
It is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to anonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to agriculture orurban use.
The term deforestation is often misused to describe any activity where all trees in an area areremoved. However in temperate climates, the removal of all trees in an area
inconformance with sustainable forestry practices
is correctly described as regenerationharvest. In temperate climates, natural regeneration of forest stands often will not occur inthe absence of disturbance, whether natural or anthropogenic.
Furthermore, biodiversityafter regeneration harvest often mimics that found after natural disturbance, includingbiodiversity loss after naturally occurring rainforest destruction.
Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees or derivedcharcoalare used as, or sold, for fuelor as lumber, while cleared land is used aspasturefor livestock, plantations of commodities,and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficientreforestationhas resulted indamage tohabitat,biodiversityloss andaridity.It has adverse impacts onbiosequestration of atmosphericcarbon dioxide.Deforested regions typically incur significant adversesoil erosionand frequently degrade intowasteland. 
Disregard or ignorance of intrinsic value, lack of ascribed value, lax forest management anddeficient environmental laws are some of the factors that allow deforestation to occur on alarge scale. In many countries, deforestation, both naturally occurring and human induced,is an ongoing issue. Deforestation causesextinction,changes to climatic conditions,desertification,and displacement of populations as observed by current conditions and inthe past through the fossil record.
Environmental problems caused by deforestation
Deforestation is a contributor toglobal warming,and is often cited as one of the majorcauses of the enhancedgreenhouse effect.Tropical deforestation is responsible forapproximately 20% of world greenhouse gas emissions. According to theIntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Changedeforestation, mainly in tropical areas, could account for up toone-third of totalanthropogeniccarbon dioxideemissions. But recent calculations suggest
that carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (excludingpeatlandemissions) contribute about 12% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissionswith a range from 6 to 17%. Trees and other plants removecarbon(in the form ofcarbon dioxide)from theatmosphereduring the process ofphotosynthesisand release oxygen back into the atmosphere during normal respiration. Only when actively growing can a tree orforest remove carbon over an annual or longer timeframe. Both the decay and burning ofwood release much of this stored carbon back to the atmosphere. In order for forests to takeup carbon, the wood must be harvested and turned into long-lived products and trees mustbe re-planted. Deforestation may cause carbon stores held in soil to be released. Forests arestores of carbon and can be either sinks or sources depending upon environmentalcircumstances. Mature forests alternate between being net sinks and net sources of carbondioxide. Reducing emissions from the tropical deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)in developing countries has emerged as new potential to complement ongoing climatepolicies. The idea consists in providing financial compensations for the reduction ofgreenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation".
Hydrological Impact
The water cycle is also affected by deforestation. Trees extract groundwater through theirroots and release it into the atmosphere. When part of a forest is removed, the trees nolonger evaporate away this water, resulting in a much drier climate. Deforestation reducesthe content of water in the soil and groundwater as well as atmospheric moisture.Deforestation reduces soil cohesion, so thaterosion,flooding andlandslidesensue. Forests enhance the recharge ofaquifersalso.Shrinking forest cover lessens the landscape's capacity to intercept, retain andtranspireprecipitation. Instead of trapping precipitation, which then percolates to groundwatersystems, deforested areas become sources of surface water runoff, which moves much fasterthan subsurface flows. That quicker transport of surface water can translate intoflashfloodingand more localized floods than would occur with the forest cover. Deforestationalso contributes to decreasedevapo-transpiration,which lessens atmospheric moisturewhich in some cases affects precipitation levels downwind from the deforested area, aswater is not recycled to downwind forests, but is lost in runoff and returns directly to theoceans. According to a study, in deforested north and northwestern China, the averageannual precipitation declined by 1/3
between the 1950s and the 1980s.

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