Trees form the foundations of many natural systems. They help to conserve soil and water, reduce landslides, prevent desertification and protect coastal areas.
Forests are the most important repositories of terrestrial biological biodiversity, housing up to 90 per cent of known terrestrial species.
Trees and shrubs play a vital role in the daily life of rural communities. They provide sources of timber, fuel wood, food, fodder, medicines and shade. Forest animals have a vital role in forest ecology such as pollination, seed dispersal and germination.
Deforestation is a big issue and must be stopped. Did you know that 10 million km2 of degraded farmland covering our Earth was abundant forest lands at the beginning of the 20th century? We made this happen through introducing poor agricultural practices, overgrazing, demo-graphic pressure and deforestation. The result is massive deterioration of ecosystems, the destruction of the soil integrity and, as a consequence, poverty.
Other effects were: an increased threat of landslides, floods, drought and desertification...
Reforestation can help. Forests must however be diverse in species and planted sustainably. This is made possible by using permaculture, which combines modern science with traditional wisdom, leveraging as much as possible from nature for the biggest benefit to the environment, local population and biodiversity.
A "food forest" for example is an orchard and garden combined into a biodiverse, forest-mimicking, multi-layered, symbiotic mix of edible and medicinal plants. By design, it maximizes the productive use of light, water, and soil nutrients.