Forest Facts

  • What is a Forest? A large area of trees whose canopies cover at least 10 per cent of the sky spanning more than 0.5 hectares with trees higher than 5 meters and a canopy cover of more than 10 percent. Forests cover around 4 billion hectares or 30 percent of Earth’s land surface. There are over 60,000 tree species but around one third of all the trees on earth are conifers in the Taiga, covering much of Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia and Russia.

  • Afforestation means the planting of trees on land which was never forested;

 

  • Reforestation means planting of trees on land which was forested before. 

  • Is Bamboo a tree or grass? Bamboo is a giant woody grass which is grown chiefly in the tropics. It is one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, with reported growth rates of 100 centimeters (39 inches) in 24 hours.

  • Healthy benefits of forests- during the day, trees absorb carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and give out oxygen, the air that we breathe. The carbon in forests exceeds the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere. Forests and forest soils store more than one trillion tonnes of carbon.

  • Which is the tallest tree in the world? redwoods are the tallest trees in the world and can easily reach heights of 300 feet (91 meters)

  • Are mangroves forests? - mangroves are trees or shrubs which grows in tidal, chiefly tropical, coastal swamps, having numerous tangled roots that grow above the ground and form dense thickets. They protect shorelines from damaging storm and hurricane winds, waves, and floods. They also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments with their tangled root systems. Additionally, they maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.

 

  • Why are forests important to us? - An estimated 1.6 billion people use forests for all or part of their livelihoods. Millions, including people in cities, depend on forest resources for clean air and fresh water. Forests also play a crucial role in fighting catastrophic climate change by absorbing and storing massive amounts of CO2. But as we cut them down, oftentimes to make space for agriculture, they lose their ability to regulate the global climate. Forests are home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. They support life of some of the world's endangered species for example; Orangutans, Amur leopard, Gorillas, Hawksbill turtle, Sumatran elephant, Rhinos and Tigers.

  • How do forests prevent floods? During heavy rains, trees reduce the risk of flooding. Experts say that woodland acts as a barrier to floodwater, while trees also prevent soil erosion, reducing sediment going into rivers and increasing water absorption into the ground.

  • Which is the oldest tree in the world? Methuselah, a bristlecone pine tree thought to be almost 5,000 years old and the oldest non-clonal tree in the world. Pando, also know as The Trembling Giant, is a colony of quaking aspen trees. Testing has shown this group of trees to be a single organism and is assumed to be connected by a single massive roots system. So here it is, the age: Pando is thought to be around 80,000 years old making it the oldest living organism on the planet. 

  • Can forest help in reducing droughts? Forests can retain excess rainwater, prevent extreme run-offs and reduce the damage of flooding. They can also help mitigate the effects of droughts by releasing water in the dry season, forests can also help provide clean water and mitigate the effects of droughts

 

  • Deforestation Rate in the World- The Earth loses a forest area about the size of 40 football fields every minute. The overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture including cattle ranching and palm oil and soy production. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32%; logging is responsible for 14%, and production of charcoal makes up 5%. New data shows that over 15.8 million hectares (39 million acres) an area the size of Bangladesh of tree cover was lost in the tropics in 2017.

  • What are Peatlands? – a type of wetlands which are among the most valuable ecosystems on Earth. They can be found in more than 180 countries and support a wide range of biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of millions of people. They are the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock.

  • Do trees have any medicinal value? -More than a quarter of modern medicines, worth an estimated US$ 108 billion a year, originate from tropical forest plants.

  • Did you Know? Trees could reduce temperatures in cities up to 8°C, lowering use of air conditioning and related emissions by up to 40 per cent.

This resource is made possible through support from Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union.

 

© 2019 UN-REDD Programme.  All images used courtesy of license holder or through Creative Commons license.

  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • YouTube - Grey Circle
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
  • Flickr - Grey Circle