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Defining the term forest is not easy.

A recent study of the various definitions of forest(Lund 2008) found that more than 800 different definitions for forest and wooded areas are being used a over the wor d! with some countries ado"ting severa definitions at the same time. #owever! it shou d be $e"t in mind that different definitions are re%uired for different "ur"oses. &o $ee" things sim" e! forests can be defined as a arge area covered chief y with trees and undergrowth. 'orests su"" y us with natura resources and raw materia s for commercia uses such as timber and wood "u ". &hese renewab e raw materia s are being used to "roduce things that we use in our everyday ives eg( "a"er and furniture. )a aysia! being a biodiversity hots"ot! benefits a ot from the biodiversity of its forests. *ur %ua ity of ife is de"endent u"on hea thy ecosystems and habitats because the various s"ecies of " ants! anima s! and microorganisms "rovide food! medicine! and other "roducts we use on a dai y basis. &imber from the forests had been a ma+or income earner in )a aysia in the ,-.0s ti the ,--0s and has indeed " ayed a critica ro e in our countrys economic deve o"ment. /eo" e who are direct y using the forests materia s such as indigenous tribes that ive in the forest are es"ecia y de"endent on the forest for food! she ter and fue . &he natura environment is deterioriating ra"id y from human activities. 0 oba warming and c imate change has caused many devastating catastro"hes such as droughts around the wor d. 1n 2hina! the government is trying very hard to reverse the "henomenon ca ed 3desertification3 that has become a growing concern. &he conversion of arab e and into desert due to weathering such as soi erosion is ha""ening in a steady rate. 4oi erosion can be "revented by trees. &he roots of the trees $ee" the soi together and guards the soi against disintegration due to weathering and subse%uent ands ides. Long term effects on soi erosion wi ead to barren! arid ands. &he soi wi no onger be ab e to su""ort ife due to ow nutrient content. &hus! humans are unab e to uti i5e these soi s! affecting agricu tura yie d. &his in turn wou d cause an inabi ity to su"" y enough food demands of an increasing wor d "o"u ation. According to statistics! in a sing e day! the wor d "o"u ation wi e6"and for over 220!000 "eo" e. 7ach year! the 7arth and its ecosystems must su""ort even more individua s8 each one has to be fed! she tered! and c othed. &herefore! there is a dire need to "rotect and manage the forests efficient y. 9ainforests es"ecia y are rich with many s"ecies of " ants! some s"ecies yet to be discovered that may have the "otentia to be cu tivated as new food resources. &rees " ay a significant ro e in the biogeochemica cyc es es"ecia y the water cyc e. &heir roots absorb water from the soi ! which wi then be uti i5ed by tree itse f. &he e6cess absorbed water wi be re eased bac$ into the air by trans"iration. &his wi then become va"our in the air and form c ouds by condensation. As the c ouds grew heavier! the rain wi eventua y come down. &he forests wi "revent rain from eroding the soi and ets the rain f ow into a water catchment area!

thus com" eting the water cyc e. &he forests e6udes water va"or that he "s to coo the heat during a hot weather. &rees a so absorb some of the so ar radiation from the sun. :ater is an im"ortant imited resource for humans as we . About ,., bi ion "eo" e have no access to ade%uate water su"" y due to "rob ems in distribution and %ua ity assurance! increasing wor d "o"u ation! and water su"" y due to c imate change. &here has been much debate on c imate change and it is crucia that we ta$e the first ste" in ma$ing sure the forests are managed to ensure the order of the cyc e is maintained. &raditiona medicine in Asia re ies a ot on " ants.&he :or d #ea th *rgani5ation (:#*) estimates that 80 "ercent of the "o"u ation of some Asian and African countries "resent y use herba medicine for some as"ect of "rimary hea th care. / ants offer us free! natura cures for some of our ai ments. 1n fact! modern medicine uses " ant e6tracts for drug "roduction and the synthetic drugs are being mode ed from " ants. 'orests are biodiversity treasures that houses a variety of s"ecies that even today sti remains une6" ored by man$ind. A recent e6am" e from 4arawa$ is a com"ound e6tracted from the bintangor tree(Calophyllum lanigerum)! ca ed 2a ano ide A! that is effective against #1; virus. 'orests are a storehouse of biochemica information that are waiting to be discovered as future "ros"ects in human hea thcare and "harmaceutica industry. *n a "ersona eve ! forests "rovides a " ace for humans to re a6 after a ong day. 'orests have a thera"eutic effect on humans and are great " aces for a re a6ing getaway from the city. &his is the reason why " aces in nature are usua y "o"u ar vacation destinations. #ome decors a so bring in a bit of nature to a""ea to humans. 'orests e6ude a "eacefu ambience and gives the " anet 7arth a more " easing! aesthetic %ua ity. #umans are often ins"ired to be creative by observing wi d ife in action! a "ractice that has been termed biomimicry or biomimetics. )any artistic designs and advances in techno ogy are ins"ired by nature! for e6am" e the recent innovation of virus<si5ed nanowires in so ar "ane s that mimics the trees that grows u" to reach the sun ight. A"art from that! there are times when things observed in their natura habitat is an education that no c assroom teaching can "rovide. &here is much to be earned from the beauty and harmony of iving things in the forest. 7ach one these organisms " ay a ro e in maintaining the ba ance of the ecosystem. &he ro es of forests in the ecosystem are many. Due to increasing wor d "o"u ation and "oor and management! forests are dwind ing des"ite reforms. Deforestation is ha""ening at an a arming rate. 2onservation of and resources shou d be ta$en at a more serious eve . =ndisturbed and must be "rotected and there has to be an integration with the conservation and deve o"ment " anning. &here must a so be stricter aw enforcement in order to invo$e a sense of fear among and deve o"ers. 7veryone needs to be aware of this matter and co ective action shou d be ta$en to "rotecting this ancient heritage for future generations to come.