Forests are areas of land having plants, trees, and animals. It is the natural habitat of animals and sees a variety of species living there. Almost 31% of earth’s land surface is covered up by forests. According to a 2015 report, 23% of India’s land cover consists of the forest region. Trees and plants in the forest are an integral part of our ecosystem by sustaining life on our planet, providing clear air, means of shelter and conserving the diversity in biological beings by effectively responding to changes occurring in our climate.
Forests provide many resources such as food, medicine, fabric, and raw materials to the entire world. They are the reason why a country’s economy flourishes. Apart from playing a major role in keeping a check on the global temperature, they also contribute towards preventing soil from getting eroded and shelters more than 80% of the animal species and terrestrial biodiversity. They also aid in improving the socio-economic aspects of a country.
Wildlife refers to the animal species that are not domesticated. So, any living organism that lives in the forest region is associated with wildlife. It is found in almost all ecosystems such as rainforests, plains, grasslands, deserts etc. wildlife provides great stability to our environment wherein they are involved in natural processes either directly or indirectly. Each living organism is placed in the food chain and is equally important, they may be a producer, a consumer or a decomposer, all these are interlinked and depend on each other for their survival.
Importance of wildlife conservation
Why is it necessary to save our wildlife, after all, they are just animals and plants? Wildlife is a very important and vital aspect of our ecosystem. Listed below are a few of the reasons stating their importance:
- Important for their medicinal values: More than one-third of our pharmaceutical needs are catered by wild plants and provides great scope for breakthroughs in the field of medicinal science and technology
- Helps keep our environment healthy: They are responsible for maintaining temperatures globally thereby fighting against the greenhouse effect and in turn preventing the sea levels to rise sharply.
- Important to maintain ecological balance: the interdependence of plants and animals is very essential
- Economical importance: fossil fuels obtained from forests help in the economic growth of the country which in turn contributes towards a better standard of living.
- Helps preserve biodiversity: There are thousands of species that take shelters in these huge forests.
- Agricultural importance
- Oxygen is provided by wildlife habitat
- Industries are hugely benefited from wildlife as they provide them with raw materials to make – lubricants, glues, perfumes, leather, paper, furniture etc.
- Microorganisms in wildlife take part in nitrogen fixation thus bringing about an increase in the levels of soil fertility
Reasons Why Forests And Wildlife Matter
There is an absolute need to save our flora and fauna in the forests for the following reasons:
- It is all about breathing after all: Without oxygen, no living organisms can survive and contrary to popular belief, even plants need oxygen to survive. They breathe in carbon dioxide to give out oxygen to the environment. Whereas, animals and human beings need oxygen for survival. Roughly 20.9% of earth’s gases consists of oxygen and dependence on oxygen is higher, hence plants are essential.
- It is home for different species: Modernization has caused deforestation. This has led many animals homeless, leading to the death of these animals in most cases because of unfavourable conditions.
- Provides employment: That’s right. One of the takeaways from forests is that they provide a source of livelihood to millions around the world. Raw materials that can later be sold come from these forests.
- Forests provide wood: Wood serves as an important raw material in the manufacturing industries and also commercial use
- Not only animals and plants, millions of people still live in the forests and in its vicinity. They directly benefit from the abundant resources that forests have to offer.
- Comes to the rescue during natural disasters: Plants in forests help during floods as they seep in and absorb all the water, thereby preventing damage to infrastructure.
- Helps regulate climatic conditions: They play a key role in bringing about a balance in the atmospheric temperature.
- Biodiversity at its best: To get a closer view of life, visit a forest. Forests, as we know is home for thousands of species, species who are extremely diverse in every aspect. Provides a great scope for exploration for science enthusiasts as well
- Entertainment: Forest areas these days have been turned into adventure spots to help people get a first-hand experience of wildlife
How Can We Conserve Forests And Wildlife
Wildlife and forests need to be conserved. Following are a few of the steps that could be taken to conserve them:
- Deforestation needs to be controlled or hopefully stopped.
- Fuelwood and timber should be used wisely and not wasted
- Forest fire needs to be monitored and damage control measures need to be taken at the right time. Every year, lakhs of trees are destroyed because of forest fires. 2018 saw one of the deadliest wildfires ever in the history of California causing severe damage to property and life.
- Measures and interest need to be channelled towards regrowing trees and increasing the land cover for forests. Reforestation and afforestation need to be promoted throughout the world.
- Proper forest management bodies need to be enforced to monitor wildlife actions and update on the latest.
- Care and habitation need to be provided to extinct species and efforts need to be taken to save them from becoming extinct.