Human activity results in the loss of approximately 40,000 square miles of forest per year. Meanwhile, our ability to regenerate lost trees and ecosystems through reforestation programs is lagging at a rate of approximately 13,500 square miles per year. Most of the forest loss occurs in tropical areas and some scientists argue that conservation efforts should be concentrated at protecting the approximately 25 million square miles of forest (i.e., approximately 30% of the global land area) from deforestation rather than wasting time on reforestation efforts. Meanwhile, others argue that regenerating tropical forests will become increasingly important as human populations naturally grow and encroach on primary tropical rainforest land.
At the heart of this debate is whether or not secondary forests (i.e., forests that are regenerated from land that was once cleared) provide the same level of biodiversity as primary forests (i.e., forest that is untouched by human activity). Biodiversity is a measure of the variety of plants, animals and other organisms in an ecosystem and is an important barometer of a healthy and mature environment. If trees are the only benefit of reforestation efforts, then the job to reclaim once pristine ecosystem falls short.
A recent study by a group of international scientists has called attention to this issue and has tipped the scales in favor of giving forests a second chance. For one and a half years of pain-staking work, scientists and volunteers counted every bird, reptile, amphibian and mammal in approximately 2,000 acres of recovering and protected rain forest in Peru. As a result, they counted 570 species which amounted to 87% of the number of species that were counted in a nearby pristine rainforest. The authors of the study conclude that while protecting primary forest is a fundamental concern, giving forests a second chance through reclamation efforts can produce high levels of biodiversity and return devastated lands to healthy and productive ecosystems.
At Sapwood we champion sustainability efforts that preserve our valued forest ecosystems. Our goal is to inspire a sense of adventure and create an opportunity to connect with nature in everyday life, while also engaging society in a positive way that gives everyone the change to give back. Every purchase of a Sapwood Air Freshener plants a tree in a developing country. Will you join us as we try to make the world a better place, one tree at a time.