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Importance of Forests

Forests and biodiversity is key to all life forms. The richer the diversity of life, the
greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development and adaptive
responses to such new challenges as climate change.
Below are some more importance of forests:
Watershed
Forests serve as a watershed. This is because almost all water ultimately comes from
rivers and lakes and from forest-derived water tables. Some rivers running through
forests are also kept cool and from drying out. "The Amazon is by far the largest watershed
and largest river system in the world occupying over 6 million square kilometers. Over two-thirds of all
the fresh water found on Earth is in the Amazon Basin's rivers, streams, and tributaries." - RainTree

Habitat and Ecosystems


Forests serve as a home (habitat) to millions of animals. Think of the many types of
reptiles (snakes and lizards) wild animals, butterflies and insects, birds and tree-top
animals as well as all those that live in the forest streams and rivers.
Animals form part of the food chain in the forests. All these different animals and plants
are called biodiversity, and the interaction with one another and with their physical
environment is what we call ecosystem.Healthy ecosystems can better withstand and
recover from a variety of disasters such asfloods and wildfires.
Economic benefits
Forests are of immense economic importance to us. For example, plantation forests
provide humans with timber and wood, which is exported and used in all parts of the
world. They also provide tourism income to inhabitants (people living in or close to
forests) when people visit to see the best of nature.
Climate ControlClimate control and atmosphere purification is key for human
existence. Trees and soils help regulate atmospheric temperatures through a
process called evapotranspiration. This helps to stabilize the climate.
Additionally, they enrich the atmosphere by absorbing bad gases (example CO2
and other greenhouse gases) and producing oxygen.

A forest is an ecosystem .It is an area of not less than one hectare and
60 meters wide. It is composed of at least 10 percent of forest trees (including
seedlings and saplings), wild palms, bamboos, or bush. Philippine forests
consist of different plant and animal species. In a single square hectare , rich
plant and animal communities can be found.
A forest is a large area of land covered by a thick growth of trees and other plants. It is the home of
many different birds, insects and other animals.
A forest consists of several layers of plants. The uppermost layer is called the canopy. The canopy
consists of branches and leaves of the tallest trees in the forest. The canopy receives much sunlight. The middle
layer consists of shorter trees, shrubs and herbs. There are some open spaces where animals move about. The
lowest layer, the forest floor, is made up of carpets of moss and decayed matter from plants and animals.
All plants, animals and other organisms in a forest need energy to stay alive. As in any other ecosystem, the main
source of energy in the forest is the sun. All other organisms depend on plants to get energy of sunlight.
Since canopy receives the most amount of sunlight, it produces the most food. Insects, birds and mammals feed
on the leaves and fruits in the canopy. Some birds feed on insects. Inside the forest are animals such as mice,
snakes, turtles, deer and other mammals. Some of these animals feed on shrubs and herbs. Some animals feed on
other animals.
The forest floor is covered with fallen leaves and small plants like moss. Wastes from animals in the
upper layers drop and accumulate on the forest floor. Earthworms, bacteria and fungi are found here. These
organisms feed on the wastes and the remains of dead plants and animals. In doing so, they return the nutrients to
the soil and to the air to be used again by the plants to make food.
Woody vines, also called lianas, abound in the forest. They climb up the tallest trees to get a share of the light falling
on the canopy. Plants depend on the suns energy and the inorganic nutrients in the forest to make food. Animals eat
plants and other animals to get energy they need to grow and live.
Cooperation and competition are evident in a forest ecosystem. Some organisms in the forest need the
cooperation of other organisms so that they will survive. For example, epiphytes like orchids grow on branches of tall
trees so that they can get sunlight. Without sunlight, they would die. Many birds, insects and other animals depend on
plants for food. The plants, in turn, depend on the animals to pollinate their flowers or to disperse their seeds that will
grow into new plants.
Plants have the same needs. Plants in the forest compete with one another to get enough sunlight, water
and space. Plants that are best adapted to the conditions in the forest survive and reproduce their own kind. Animals
also compete with one another for food, water and shelter. The animals that are best adapted to forest conditions
also survive and reproduce.

Forests are important to people in many ways. Wood from forest trees provide us with lumber used for
building houses and for making furniture and decorative items. Paper, cellophane, wood-plastic composites and
fibers come from processing wood. Other products from wood include latex and turpentine. Some oils, gums and
waxes also come from trees.
Plants in the forest continuously give off oxygen to the atmosphere. They also remove carbon dioxide
from the air since they use this for photosynthesis. People and animals need oxygen to live. For as long as there are
forests, the supply of oxygen will continue. For as long as there are forests, the amount of carbon dioxide will not
increase to an alarming level. Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can make the climate warm.

Many forests serve as watersheds. A watershed is a source of water for rivers and streams. Forest soil absorbs rain
water. Some of the water is used by plants. Much of the water flows underground and into rivers and streams. The
water that flows underground is our source of water for home and industrial use.
Forests also help in conserving soil in preventing floods. The roots of plants soak up large amounts of rainfall. This
prevents runoff of water. Runoff water can wash away soil; this is soil erosion. Erosion brings siltation of rivers,
making the rivers shallow. During rainy season, shallow rivers easily overflow and cause flooding.
Forests provide homes for many plants and animals. Exotic plants and rare animals can only found in the forest.
Many people go to forests to enjoy the beauty of nature. They want to see different kinds of plants and animal in their
natural habitat. Some people like to sit under the trees to enjoy the peace and quiet of the surroundings.
Other people use the forest for camping and hiking activities. Some hunt for wildanimals in the forest when the
hunting season is open.
Forests, therefore, have six important uses:
1. They provide wood and other products that are useful to people.
2. They remove carbon dioxide from air.
3. They protect our water sources.
4. They prevent erosion and floods.
5. They protect wildlife.
6. They provide recreation.
Forests are important for their economic, environmental and enjoyment values.

Forest

APITONG TREE

NARRA TREE

MANGROVE TREE

Plants in the forest are rich source of raw materials for medicine. They contain
chemical substances that can be separated and mixed with other compounds.
These compounds produce a beneficial effect on the human body. Materials that
come from plants used to treat disease are called herbal medicine. Scientist say
that if the rainforest is destroyed, we will never discover new substances from the
plants that grow there.

Plants

Chemical

Use

1. Cinchona tree

quinine

2. Cocoa tree

cocaine

Treatment against
malaria
anaesthetic

3. coffee

caffeine

stimulant

4. willow tree

aspirin

painkiller

Some herbal medicines and their uses.


Perfume, scents, and medicines are produced from plant parts. Vegetable oils from sunflowers, coconut palm,
and cashew nut are used making soap. They are also mixed in paint, thinner, and candles.
Forest trees protect us from floods. They absorb excess rainwater through their roots. This prevents flooding
and damaging low-lying communities. Roots bind the soil and rainwater remains in the layers of humus ( organic
matter in the forest floor). The leaves of trees also help retain the soil on the forest grounds. Instead of directly
falling on the ground, they prevent the soil from being washed away.
Forest cover, or foliage, is important to maintain a healthful environment. It acts as a sponge that
absorbs excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere .Carbon dioxide in large amounts is harmful to health. The
plants in the forests also help retain a certain amount of moisture that makes the air cooler.
The soil contains nutrients used by plants to manufacture food and grow. The plants provide food to
animals. The wastes and remains of animals , decaying leaves , and other parts of plants provide the organic
nutrients in the soil. Each member of the ecosystem contributes to maintain balance.

Forest ecosystem serves as an excellent resource in the development of mans understanding of ecology.
It becomes a safe place for animals to live in. Efforts should be made to stop destructive practices to preserve our
forests.

SEATWORK:
Write the letter of the correct answer.
1. What are the good sources of lumber?
a. Mango tree, mangrove tree, and apple tree.
b. Narra tree , apitong tree, tanguile tree, and guijo tree.
c. Rambutan tree, acacia tree, and jackfruit tree.
2. What is narra tree ?
a. The Philippine national tree.
b. The worlds international tree.
c. My favourite tree.
3. What is the use of cinchona tree?
a. Painkiller.
b. Stimulant.
c. Treatment against malaria.
4. What is tree?
a. Trees are the main features of forest ecosystem.
b. Trees are forest.
c. Trees are trees.
5. Do trees in the forest provide shelter , food, and protection to many living
things ?
a. Yes .
b. No.
c. Maybe.