Across the world, forests and the soil beneath them absorb about a quarter of all carbon emissions.
This is an indispensable contribution to life as we know it, and forests offer many others, too. They house more than half the world’s species of animals, birds and insects...Indeed, the more that people learn about forests, the more perilous their mismanagement seems.
That forests regulate water run-off, mitigating risks of flooding and drought, has been recognised since ancient times. The ancients also understood that trees can increase rainfall and deforestation can reduce it. Cutting down trees leads to a reduction in evapotranspiration, which results in less downwind precipitation.
For these and many other reasons, the forests help to sustain life on the planet. Yet, there are significant threats to the forest. One is global climate change, and the second is closely related to global climate change--population growth and the demand for food and other agricultural products.