Importance of forests

Forests and biodiversity are vital to all life forms. The richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to such new challenges as climate change.

Below are some more importance of forests:


Forests serve as a watershed. (A watershed: The area of land that contributes water to a stream or river. Watersheds come in all sizes—some are millions of square miles, while others are just a few acres.) That is because almost all water ultimately comes from rivers and lakes and forest-derived water tables. Some rivers running through forests are kept cool and from drying out. “The Amazon is by far the largest watershed and largest river system in the world occupying over 6 million square kilometers. Over two-thirds of all the fresh water found on Earth is in the Amazon Basin’s rivers, streams, and tributaries.” – RainTree

Habitat and Ecosystems

Forests are a home to many species of plants and animals
Forests are a home to many species of plants and animals

Forests serve as a home (habitat) to millions of animals. Think of the many types of reptiles (snakes and lizards), wild animals, butterflies and insects, birds and tree-top animals, as well as all those that live in the forest streams and rivers.

Animals form part of the food chain in the forests. All these different animals and plants are called biodiversity, and the interaction with one another and with their physical environment is what we call an Ecosystem. Healthy ecosystems can better withstand and recover from a variety of disasters, such as floods and wildfires.

Economic benefits

Forests are of immense economic importance to us. For example, plantation forests provide humans with timber and wood, which is exported and used in all parts of the world. They also provide tourism income to inhabitants (people living in or close to forests) when people visit to see the best of nature.

Economic benefits of forests
Economic benefits of forests

Climate Control

Climate control and atmosphere purification are vital to human existence. Trees and soils help regulate atmospheric temperatures through a process called evapotranspiration. It helps to stabilize the climate. Additionally, they enrich the atmosphere by absorbing toxic gases (such as CO2 and other greenhouse gases) and producing oxygen. Trees also help to remove air pollutants.

Forests absorb the equivalent of roughly 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.

Did you know? 

In many developing countries, more than 80% of total energy
(fuel-wood and charcoal) consumed by people and industry is derived from forests. Trading in timber and other forest products is estimated at almost 330 billion US Dollars /year.
Its value multiplies as it is processed into a range of products used globally every day.
Uses of genetic diversity within forests enable the development of new medicines; progress in health care and science.