Role of Forests and Importance of Trees
Definition of forestry:
Foresters belonging to certain societies, agencies etc. have defined the term forest in different words which are given below:
- Society of American Foresters has defined the forest as:
“It is a plant community (Plants of different species) predominantly of trees or other woody vegetation occupying an extensive area of land.” (S.A.F. mod.)
- In view of some other foresters the term forest is:
“An area set aside for the production of timber and other forest produce or maintained under woody vegetation for certain indirect benefits, for example, soil conservation and watershed management, regulation of water yield, conservation of wildlife, rehabilitation of disturbed soils, environmental development, etc.” (I.F.R. mod.)
“Forest refers to a community of green plants and animals of several types in which woody species (Trees and Shrubs) dominate others.”
- In legal terms:
“An area proclaimed to be forest under a forest Act or Ordinance is a forest.”
- In some other words:
“It is an area having distinct climatic and ecological conditions than of Non-forest area is called a forest.”
- While some other Asian Foresters define forest as:
“A piece of land having an area at least 50 acres and the density of woody trees in this area is not less than 10%.”
ROLE OF FORESTS / IMPORTANCE OF TREES:
Forests/trees have unique importance amongst the biotic component of Land/Lithosphere. There are as many benefits of trees as many species of trees but the role and importance of trees can be summarized under the following:
A). Productive Role:
Trees provide a variety of products such as:
Timber: Multipurpose, grade and quality and quantity.
Firewood: Fuel from heath to kilns of large scale.
Fodder: For domestic and wild animals for the better production of milk, butter, meat etc.
Minor Products: In the form of Resin, gums, tannin, medicine, minerals, and products for cottage industry, honey, silk, cotton, etc.
B). Protective Role:
There are three major natural resources i.e. soil, water, and vegetation. The first can survive in normal and best working and available for life only if plants/vegetation plays an important role. The protective role may generally be categorized as:
Soil conservation and rehabilitation and reclamation of problematic soils by saving soil from erosion, activating living chemistry and physical chemistry in the soil and by the reclamation of certain problems as water logging, salinity, alkalinity etc.
Wildlife has the shelter and habitat. All the wildlife resides in forests. Wildlife management is, therefore, not possible without forests.
Environment: Trees and forests are a source to maintain the health of the environment and make pollution decrease or control. Trees/plants interchange Co2 and O2 with environment act as barriers to sound waves (Noise pollution) and maintain the climate normal i.e. lowering temperature, making humidity %age in athe ir, consumption of some toxic elements and compounds of atmosphere etc. The beneficial role of trees for improvement of the environment is difficult to enlist shortly. In addition, plants and trees are bio-indicators of pollution in the environment thus leaving a visual sign for its reclamation and improvement.
The aesthetic value of trees cannot be neglected at all. Trees are important to make the land landscape beautiful, which catches eyes and plays important role in relaxing the nerves and fatigue reduction on brain and sense organs, which brings about better effects upon the health of human body.
Recreational aspect of forests and trees cannot be overlooked. In different parts, national parks and picnic points have been established for recreational purposes. Eye-catching plants and their arrangement, water points and wildlife drags people from far apart and provide them with recreation. In this world, there should have been no better recreational point than forest parks if maintained in proper form.
In the modern age the industry related problems have awakened the role of trees and forests. Therefore, the productive, protective, aesthetic and recreational aspect of forests being taken and under standing is being searched out. These forest associates benefits are leaning societies to learn and acquire knowledge about behavior and trends of trees.
The word forestry may be defined in different ways but all the meaning of raising forests.
- Forestry is the art and science of growing and managing trees significantly.
- Forestry is the art, science and practice of growing, managing forests, plantations and related natural resources (air, water, soil).
The one who is a practitioner of art, science and practices of growing, managing forests and related natural resource is called Forester.
It is the compound word made by combining two words, “Silvics” meaning trees and “Culture” meaning art and science of growing. Therefore, silviculture may be defined as “branch of forestry which deals with the study of art and related science involving the growing and tending of trees i.e. Shading, weeding, protection, watering, pruning, spacing, etc.”
Any external force, substance or condition that affects organisms in any way becomes a factor of their environment and sum of all such factors constitute environment.
Factors forming Environment:
There are many factors of an environment. These factors may be categorized into three groups:
1). Climatic Factors:
This category includes temperature, precipitation, wind, light etc. Precipitation is the most important climatic factor, light and other are also important but not more than precipitation.
Precipitation is the return of water from the atmosphere to land. Water is important, as it is more than 70 of plant and other living beings. Water is the most important source of life regulatory processes. In addition, precipitation brings some important nutrients to soil from the atmosphere. Water is the best solvent of different compounds, most of the compounds needed by plants in solution form; otherwise, these are useless for plants.
2). Edaphic Factors:
This includes factors related to soil, i.e. soil moisture, soil temperature, soil structure, topography, aspect, etc.
- Soil Moisture:
It is important for nutrients solved in it for availability to plants.
- Soil Temperature:
Important for germination of seeds, regeneration and chemical kinetics of soil.
- Soil Structure:
Important for holding organic, inorganic matter, minerals, air and moisture, all are important for plants growth.
It is important in hilly areas. Different aspects are North and South aspects in hilly areas. Southern aspect is light receiving and Northern aspect is shade receiving, therefore, different species and vegetations grow on each side.
Degree and extent of the slope is a very effective factor for water absorption and run off, therefore, for it is important for soil conservation and vegetation growth.
3). Biotic Factors:
Living things of any environment are biotic factors. The elements of biotic factors are:
- Animals, Insects, Human beings:
These elements are the important part of biotic factors of the environment. All are only consumers and most effectors of producers by grazing, pollination, diseases, lumbering, burning and others. Thus can change the environment in short time and large space.
- Micro Organisms:
Micro Organisms (Virus, Bacteria, Fungi, Algae) are important. They act mostly as decomposers, symbionts and pathogens. Plants are producers.
In any area/environment, biotic factors interact upon each other positively and negatively i.e. competition is a process in which during development different species compete for light, nutrients etc. One dominates others.
The environment is a complex interaction of above-mentioned factors.
For correction and improvements please use the comments section below.
NJMH is working as Deputy Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu (techurdu.net) Forestrypedia (forestrypedia.com), Majestic Pakistan (majesticpakistan.pk), All Pak Notifications (allpaknotifications.com), Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.