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International Day of Forests

Written by Jessica Wentzell
on March 20, 2019
In celebration of the International Day of Forests, we wanted to share some interesting facts about benefits that the forests provide to our world. 

Aside from their astounding beauty and majestic atmosphere, forests are crucial sources for the survival of human beings. In fact, forests provide us with most of the key elements ; Earth, Air, Fire, and Water.
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earth  Earth [Soil]. There are many different ways forests conserve soil; they prevent soil erosion by reducing wind, decreasing overland flow, and increasing infiltration. They reduce soil desiccation through shading. And they enhance organic matter with leaf litter, decaying trees, and wildlife activity, leading to better soil structure. Soils are also where two thirds all the terrestrial carbon is stored on the planet. That carbon acts as a magnet to attract and hold nutrients so they are available to the growing plants and trees - growing taller, healthier, and storing even more carbon. Amazing! 
 air  Air [Oxygen]. Forests work endlessly to purify the air we breathe. By absorbing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and releasing oxygen back into it, trees are natural filters that are vital for all living things. Forests are quite literally the lungs of the earth.
fire  Fire [Heat]. Currently, over 2 million homes in the United States use wood as a primary heating fuel. Wood heating has made a comeback in the United States and is the fastest growing heating fuel for most years since 2005, according to US Census figures.
water  Water [Drinking]. Over 60 million Americans rely on the forest ecosystem for drinking water. Forests act as a natural filtration system, keeping our water clean, healthy, and consumable. Tree roots hold the soil in place, which reduces erosion and keeps the soil from washing into our waterways. Forests also absorb many of the heavy metals, chemicals, and oil that come off pavement and other surfaces, removing these toxins from the waterways.

The health of our forests has been challenged. Land uses, changing climate, invasive species, and habitat loss in many regions is affecting our communities.Active stewardship of the forest is becoming more and more vital in helping to restore forest health and resilience. With half of American forest land owned by individuals and families, we need new ways of working together to keep our forests healthy for generations to come. 
Find out what you can do on your land to help protect the forest. Locate your property on the WoodsCamp map and find out what opportunities are available on your land to help keep your forest healthy. 
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