The forests of the Western Ghats mountains are the source of the rivers that irrigate South India. The glaciers and the adjoining forests in the Himalayas are the source of mighty rivers that sustain north India. The wide range of ecosystems across India is home to an incredible biodiversity of around 5, species of vertebrates and 15, species of flowering plants. The roles that these species perform are generally invisible to us, but once we understand them, we realise the magic of nature. For example, the animals that are at the top of the food chain in a forest with tigers are the tigers themselves.
Without these apex predators, the population of deer will increase. They will feed voraciously on the grass cover and small bushes.
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This will decrease the grasses and the bushes, which in turn affects the numerous animals that depend on it. Scavenging birds of prey like the vultures will disappear from the forest because there would be no carcasses. Gradually most of the species in the forest will disappear due to ecological imbalance and the forests would be stripped bare. Protecting the tiger in a forest protects hundreds of species that live in it. Extracting natural resources at an unsustainable rate by destroying the forests and wildlife puts every one of us at risk.
While we need development, we must ensure that at least the last remaining 5 per cent of protected areas in India must be left alone for our future generations. These are the ones that hold our sustenance on a longer run. Every one of us must start to practice conservation from our homes and through our career backgrounds.
The importance of forests cannot be underestimated.
The author is an award-winning nature photographer and co-founder of the Youth for Conservation. In this monthly column he talks about his passion for nature, photography and conservation. Sci-Tech Environment. For starters, they provide vital services, like stabilizing climate and absorbing carbon dioxide. But they also offer a vast array of products that many of us use on a daily basis.
An Open Letter from the Chenchu tribe of Amrabad tiger Reserve - Survival International
We pioneered the use of market forces to create sustainable forest economies to lift people out of poverty, because we understood that those who depend on the forest are the most invested in protecting it. Other staples that come from rainforests include citrus, cassava, and avocado, as well as cashews, Brazil nuts , and ubiquitous spices like vanilla and sugar. Then there are a few foods that many of us consider life-giving— coffee , tea , and cocoa —and yes, they come from tropical forests, too. If we are not careful, however, our appetites for these products could destroy the source from which they come.
Many of the Western medicines that we use today are derived from plants found in tropical forests. Medications to treat or cure inflammation, rheumatism, diabetes, muscle tension, surgical complications, malaria, heart conditions, skin diseases, arthritis, glaucoma, and hundreds of other maladies, come from forest plants.
Tropical forests yield some of the most beautiful and valuable woods in the world, such as teak, mahogany, rosewood, balsa, sandalwood, and countless lesser-known species. These woods surround us at home and in offices in the form of furniture, cabinets, paneling, and more.
But only recently has the industrialized world realized the limits to timber extraction. Just like agriculture, logging can either nurture or destroy an ecosystem. It is up to us to support environmentally responsible logging and promote smarter wood production and consumption around the world.
Other forest products show up in your home and office, too. Tropical forest fibers are found in rugs, mattresses, ropes, strings, and fabrics.
- Nobodys Lonesome for Me;
- From our kitchen table, to the World’s best bars!
- Tropical Forests in Our Daily Lives.
Tropical forest oils, gums, and resins are used in insecticides, rubber products, fuel, paint, varnish, and wood finishing products. And tropical oils are key ingredients in cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, disinfectants and detergents. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts forests bestow upon us is their capacity for absorbing the monstrous amount of greenhouse gas emissions we humans generate.
They are one of the world's primary carbon reservoirs, absorbing carbon dioxide from the air, storing it, and generating oxygen. Forests are vital to the hydrologic cycle rain and water systems , and they maintain some of the world's most fragile soils. Rainforests also act as the world's thermostat, regulating temperatures and weather patterns.
As we always say: forests are our best defense against climate change. The loss of our forests, together with the way that this cleared land is used after the forest is cleared, contributes to between percent of total greenhouse gas emissions each year—almost as much as all the world's trains, planes, and automobiles combined.