Cloud forests play an important role in purifying water and air in parts of Asia and Central America, where they are native. They help engender rain, precipitation and process of evaporation. These cloud forests, also known as montane forests and “water towers”, are responsible for providing clean, crisp water to the community nearby. Despite being extremely beneficial for the environment, these forests are particularly threatened in parts of Central America. These precious cloud forests are disappearing left and right due to industrial development projects, drastic climate changes, tree wood logging as well as invasion of non-native plants and wildlife. For countries like Guatemala, cloud forests are crucial for life, as they are responsible for providing nearly 40% of water to residents. The only way to prevent further extinction is to prevent companies from building and cutting down trees for commercial reasons.
Most of us live either in the city or in the suburbs. The only trees we see are trees used for landscaping or an occasional bunch of trees at your local park. Currently around 30% of the world is made up of forest. Though that number may seem significant, it isn’t, especially at the fast rate these forests are disappearing. Reports by the UN demonstrated that forests disappear daily--about 36 football fields per minute. Right now 30% of the world consists of forest, however only 5% of this forest space is actually protected.
The Tongass, located in Southeast Alaska, is the biggest national forest in the United States with 17 million acres of land featuring rivers, forests, glaciers and mountains. It is also one of the few temperate rainforests remaining in the world. The Tongass is home to many native plants, trees and animals such as wild salmon, grizzly bears and wolves just to name a few. In the past couple decades, the forest was untouched, however there has been discussion on building roads. In the recent years, discussion mentioned the idea of opening up 2 million acres of land for logging and land development. Much of the forest’s trees are being logged for use in Asia. If The Tongass continues being exploited, it is only a matter of time before we are left without a single temperate rainforest.
Oregon Heritage Forests
One of the few existing forests that have not been exploited for logging or commercial development is located in Oregon with the Heritage Forests. Back when President Bush was in office, there was heavy support for logging companies to log trees from this forest. Approximately 90% of the natural heritage forest trees have been wiped. With what little remains, tree companies are still greedily trying to take over 40% of it for profit. The trees in Oregon Heritage Forest is somewhat protected, however logging is permitted in a “sustainable” way.
North American Boreal Forest
From Alaska to the Atlanta, the North American Boreal Forest is one of the biggest forests in the world. It is home to many native tree and plant species responsible for holding the most carbon in our ecosystem--helping purify the air. However half of the forest has been taken over by various companies. These companies are exploiting the trees to produce paper for junkmail and advertisement.
Emily Li works for the Premiere Tree Services of Atlanta, offering the best tree service in Atlanta. In her free time, she enjoys the great outdoors--hiking, taking nature pictures and exploring new parks.