Functions of Forests
Forests serve as the world’s air conditioners and comforters. This earth would be an uncomfortable place to live if woods did not exist. Forests are the world’s most valuable natural renewable resource. Forests contribute to the survival of life on Earth by fulfilling a variety of roles. These are some of the functions:
Productive Functions of the Forests
1. Natural resources such as forests are extremely precious. The benefits supplied by forests are extremely valuable to both animals and humans. Wood is a primary forest product that is utilized for a variety of applications. The majority of wood produced in India is used to build houses, agricultural equipment, bridges, sleepers, and other structures. The forest produces around 12.5 million cubic metres of wood in India. Teak, sal, deodar, sissoo, babul, chir, haldu, axlewood, rosewood, dipterocarps, and other species produce important timber.
2. Wood is a universal fuel. The country uses over 175 million cubic metres of wood for fuel, the most of which comes from forests.
3. Forests supply raw materials to a wide range of businesses, including paper and pulp, plywood and other types of board, saw mills, furniture production, packing cases, match boxes, and toys.
4. Forests also provide a diverse range of non-wood items.
Minor Forest Products (M.E.P.) are so-called because they are gathered in lower amounts rather than because they are of minor importance. The following are some of the most important minor forest products:
(i) Fibrous and Flosses: Fibrous comes from the finest tissues of various woody plants that are utilised to make ropes. Flosses may be found in semal (Dombax ceiba) and kapuk (Dombax ceiba) (Ceiba pentandra).
(ii) Grasses and Bamboos: The woodlands are home to a wide diversity of grasses. Approximately 20% of the world’s 419 million cattle graze in the woodlands. Sabazi (Eulaliopsis binate) is one of the most valued grasses, with an annual yield of roughly 80,000 tonnes. Every year, our woods yield about 5.5 million tonnes of bamboo.
(iii) Essential Oils: Every year, India generates roughly 1500 tonnes of essential oils from its forests. It is used in the production of soaps, fragrances, detergents, and chemicals. These oils are produced by a variety of plants, including Eucalyptus spp., Bursera spp., Cymbopogon spp., Santalum album, and others.
(iv) Oil Seeds: Many tree species yield oil producing seeds, such as Madhuca indica, Pongamia pinnata, Shorea robusta, Azadirachta indica, Schleichera oleosa, Vateria indica, and others. Some of these oils can be converted into edible products for humans. These seeds are now employed in the soap business. These oils are used by tribals for a variety of purposes. Forest tree seedlings have the capacity to produce around 1 million tonnes of oil each year.
(v) Tans and Dyes: Forests generate a wide range of vegetable tanning materials. Wattle myrobalan nuts and bark (Acacia mearnsiii, A. decurrens, A. nilotica, and Cassia auriculata, among others) are important vegetable tanning resources. Acacia catechu trees are used to make katha and cutch.
(vi) Gums and Resins: As a result of a lesion or injury to the wood’s bark, trees produce gums and resins. Gums are gathered from a variety of trees. Sterculia urens, Anogeissus latifolia, Lannea coromandelica, Acacia nilotica, Cochlospermum religiosum, Pterocarpus marsupium, Butea monosperma, and others are among the species. Pinus roxburghii is used to make resin. (Chirpine)
(viii) Tendu Leaves and Other Leaves: Tendu leaves are also known as bidi leaves since they are used to make bidi. The country collects roughly 90,000 tonnes of tendu (Diospyros melanoxylon) leaves per year. Madhya Pradesh alone accounts for over half of this total. Plates, drona, and other items are made from the leaves of plants such as Bauhinia spp., Butea spp., and others.
(ix) Edible Products: Several forest species’ fruits, flowers, seeds, tubers, and other parts are consumed. Tamarindus indica, Anacardlum occidentale Syzygium cumini, Emblica ofcinalis, Buchanania lanzan, Madhuca indica fowers, Moringa oleifera green pods, young bamboo shoots, and other plants are in high demand.
(x) Lac and Other Products: Lac is a resinous fluid produced by lac insects that feed on forest trees, especially Butea monosperma. Similarly, another major forest product is silk. Silk worm cocoons are used to create it. To obtain silk, silk worms are cultivated on Terminalia alata and Morus alba plantations. Honey is another commodity that comes from the trees.
(xi) Fodder and Grazing: Forests supply rural animals with feed leaves and grazing opportunities. Forest grazing and leaf fodder supplies support around 20% of the cattle population. Several tree species’ leaf fodder is nearly as nutritious as agricultural fodder crops. Ailanthus excelsa, Moringa leifera, Sesbania spp., Morus alba, Albizia lebbeck, Leucaena leucocephala, Pongamia pinnata, Hardwickia binata, and other tree species that produce good fodder include: Ailanthus excelsa, Moringa leifera, Sesbania spp., Morus alba, Albizia lebbeck, Le Functions that are Protective and Ameliorative
1) Forests play an important function in balancing CO2 levels in the environment. Without enough forest cover, CO2 emitted into the atmosphere will not be fully used, resulting in a larger percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 levels in the atmosphere had already risen to 0.042 percent, much above the typical of 0.030 percent. If this trend continues, rising temperatures and other natural disturbances on the planet will wreak havoc on humanity.
2) Due to their geographic and microclimatic impacts, forests boost local precipitation by roughly 5 to 10%. This creates a suitable environment for cloud condensation.
3) Forests lower temperatures and raise humidity levels. The temperature in the woodlands is 3° to 80° lower than in the open region nearby.
4) Forests help to sustain soil productivity by contributing a lot of organic matter and recycling nutrients. Manure is made from the leaves of trees. Dung is released as a result of the supply of firewood from forests, which may be used as manure.
5) Tree tops minimize rain intensity and prevent splash (sound) erosion. Forests boost soil infiltration and water holding capacity, resulting in significantly reduced surface run-off. As a result of this, soil erosion is reduced.
6) Foods are checked by forests. They catch about 15% to 30% of the entire rainfall. They boost the rate of infiltration and the soil’s water retention capacity. This reduces surface run-off while also preventing erosion. Siltation of river channels, produced by erosion, and larger peak discharges, induced by more surface run-off, are the most common causes of foods.
7) Forests help to conserve both soil and water.
8) Forests and trees significantly lower wind velocity.
Wind erosion is significantly reduced when wind velocity is reduced, sand dunes are stabilized, and the desertification process is halted.
9) Forests prevent siltation of irrigation and hydral reservoirs by minimizing erosion.
10) Forests serve as a repository for genetic variety. Several unidentified plants have the potential to be used as medicines and food.
11) Forests provide protection from pollutants, including physical, chemical, and noise. Duct and other particle and gaseous pollutants create significant issues, but woods shield us from them.
12) Forests and trees offer a windbreak and shelterbelt effect that benefits agricultural crops, especially in dry and semi-arid environments. A windbreak and a shelterbelt boost agricultural yield.
Recreation and Educational Functions
1) Forests offer individuals with leisure opportunities. A wide diversity of trees and bushes, as well as animals and birds, draw a great number of visitors. A great number of tourists visit national parks and sanctuaries, which are rich in fora and fauna.
3) Aesthetic considerations
4) Forests give college and university students with an experimental field and laboratory in which to learn.
5) For a variety of ailments, forests have a natural therapeutic impact. A number of sanatoriums have been created in heavily forested locations.
1) Forests support a vast number of people’s livelihoods.
2) Forests and other forest operations assist tribal people in improving their socioeconomic status through collecting, processing, and retailing a variety of forest products, as well as providing profitable employment.
3) Forests assist the government in generating a significant amount of cash, which is used for numerous development projects. Every year, forests generate around Rs. 20,000 million in revenue.
4) Construction of ponds and conservatories for fisheries.
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