The following title talks about afforestation’s meaning, harms, and approaches.
The meaning of the word Afforestation is “planting new trees”. It is practiced in an area devoid of trees such as barren lands create forests and increase forest cover. This is a process of healthy regeneration of lands and soils. It enhances the overall quality of the soil. Moreover, it provides a food source, fertility and creates a healthy ecosystem.
1. Why is Afforestation Needed?
Afforestation is crucial for today’s generation. A significant decrease in the forest cover over the past years has created an atmosphere of multiple problems. In these circumstances, a planned approach toward reforestation and forest afforestation is needed. As a result, which following could be taken care of.
1.2 Prevent Drastic Climate Change
Climate change refers to a drastic negative impact on climate due to human activities. These activities include improper waste management, over-agricultural development, burning fossil fuels, uncontrollable and unhealthy use of energy resources, etc. They increase greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, hydrofluorocarbon, and nitrous oxide. These greenhouse gases create a greenhouse effect. In other words, it endangers the life of many ecosystems.
Afforestation can help prevent these by absorbing greenhouse gases. Therefore, reducing its negative impact. One such example is the process of plant photosynthesis. During photosynthesis plants absorb carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas. Hence, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation.
1.3 Reduce Deforested Land
Human activities like deforestation, the collection of wood and timber, and urbanization coupled with shifting cultivation have reduced the forest cover drastically over the past years. A healthy approach toward this problem would be through afforestation efforts. As a result of which these barren desert areas could be replenished.
1.4 Control Drought
Drought refers to a prolonged period where an area is devoid of rainfall. It hampers the normal living conditions of human beings. Afforestation project which is a process of planting trees can help avoid this. In case of drought, trees can help regulate the water cycle. It increases soil moisture and prevents water runoff. Hence, an afforestation project is crucial for the maintenance of normal living conditions.
1.5 Control Floods and Soil Erosion
Floods refer to a situation of high-water levels due to heavy rainfall. Furthermore, it causes hazards if not controlled properly. Some of the regions of India like Assam and West Bengal are often subjected to this cruelty. Forests can help prevent this. Trees and forests soak the excessive water and prevent them from slipping away and causing a situation of floods. In this way, trees and planted forest act as a storehouse of this water.
Landslides are a major occurrence in a mountainous region. It refers to falling rock material down a slope or mountain region due to gravity. It occurs due to natural forces like rainfall, earthquake, or human activities like mining and construction works. Trees bind the top layers of soil with layers below and prevent soil from creating excessive runoff. In this way, landslides could be prevented cheaply.
1.6 Provides Habitat for Organisms
A habitat is a region where an organism lives due to its suitability. The forest acts as an intrinsic home for many organisms. Moreover, it helps in maintaining their natural growth. Further, it regulates the atmosphere, biodiversity, carbon amount, and ecological balance. Increasing land under trees would thus provide a home for animals and birds. Evergreen forests, grasslands, tropical forests, and Amazon Rainforest are examples of forest habitats.
Some examples of the trees which live in forest habitats are:
- Bamboo tree
- Oak Tree
- Maple Tree
Some examples of the animals and insect species that live in forest habitats are:
- Giant panda
- Red squirrel
- Stag beetle
- Grey langur
1.7 Improves Forest Management
Afforestation projects implemented by governments or organizations go through detailed planning. They are applied according to the region. Coupled with monitoring the growth of new trees throughout. These projects ensure long-term benefits to the environment and the development of new forests. Essentially the new forest as a result of afforestation programs is protected from further depletion or land degradation.
1.8 Control Pollution
During the process of photosynthesis trees absorb carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas. Branches and leaves of trees also play a vital role in trapping airborne particles such as dust and pollutants. Therefore, they reduce air pollutants and contribute to the control of air pollution.
They reduce mental depression and irritation related to noise pollution. The green cover acts as a natural sound barrier. Thereby, deflecting sound waves and minimizing noise pollution. As a result, planting trees near highways is advisable.
Likewise, they also control water and soil pollution. Firstly, trees prevent the wearing away of topsoil and bind it. This prevents them from being washed off. Secondly, they stop the containments and wastes from entering the water body and polluting it. Lastly, the organic matter from trees improves the fertility of the soil and also acts as a source of food.
1.9 Natural Ecosystem
A natural ecosystem refers to the presence of both biotic and abiotic elements. It is an undisturbed ecosystem where various fauna and flora interact and are interdependent for their survival. But the constant greediness of humans has disturbed this balanced ecosystem. Therefore, arising the need for afforestation.
Afforestation creates and restores habitats for varied fauna and flora. This contributes to the overall biodiversity of an ecosystem. Since forest provides food, shelter, and breeding grounds for plant and animal species.
In essence, afforestation contributes not only to the environment but also to the healthy well-being of society. Essentially it proves that man and our green friends go together.
2. Afforestation Meaning, Harms And Approaches
The afforestation approach includes the following steps:
- Site Selection: Based on soil quality, climate (temperature, humidity, altitude, etc.), water quality, and availability.
- Ecological Assessment and Tree Species Selection: Under this step, a thorough study of the flora and fauna of the region takes place. After a detailed assessment tree species are selected by the various factors. These factors include the soil quality, the area’s temperature, and moisture. This step helps choose the trees which could easily adapt to the given region.
- Plantation and Maintenance: According to the season trees are planted with proper planting technique. Furthermore, it has been decided to exclude the use of any chemical or inorganic input toward this approach. Henceforth, these plants and seedlings are grown with the help of organic and natural components.
- Long-term community engagement and management: In many of such projects the local community plays a vital role. They manage and regulate the area. These foresters prevent forest fires and practice sustainable harvesting. Notably, the maintenance of biodiversity and species growth are given priority.
3. Afforestation Efforts All Around The World
With the realization of the damage caused by Desertification and Deforestation governments and people all around the planet have taken big steps to reduce its negative affect.
Some examples of these afforestation projects are discussed below:
3.1 Afforestation Efforts by Individuals
1. Jadav Payeng, Forest Man of India
Region- Assam, India
Mr Payeng is an environmental activist. At a very young age, Payeng noticed the need for tree cover. He started planting every single day and built Molai Forest. He has been named “Forest Man of India“. For this reason, Payeng has been honoured with the highest civilian award Padma Shri.
2. Saalumarada Thimmakka
Region- Karnataka, India
Saalumarada means row of trees in her native language. Mrs Thimmakka is an environmentalist. She is highly regarded for planting more than eight thousand trees in her country. Her other contributions include rainwater harvesting, protection, and preservation of banyan trees. Significantly Mrs Thimmakka has been honoured with Padma Shri, National Citizen’s Award, Green Champion Award
3. Felix Finkbeiner
Region- Munich, Germany
Felix Finkbeiner is the founder of Plant-for-the-Planet, an environmental advocacy organization. He has been honoured with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his consistent efforts in planting one million trees.
3.2 By Government or its Organizations in their country
1. National Afforestation Program (NAP)
Implementation- India by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change
Objective- Afforestation of degraded land to increase the land under forest. Likewise, conservation and development of the forest. Furthermore, it also includes intrinsic regeneration, protection, and management of the forests. On the other hand, the Ministry also plans to improve the livelihood of local communities by developing forest resources.
2. National Action Program to Combat Desertification
Implementation- India by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change
Objective- Reduce deserted land which will lead to a situation of droughts. This would be done by tree plantation. The program is implemented through local communities, scientific communities, and governments.
3. Urban Forest initiative
Objective – To plant native trees and shrubs in urban areas. Subsequently building up Urban forests in the country. Henceforth, enhance the urban areas’ air and water quality while reducing the greenhouse gas effects.
4. Forest Plantation Demonstration and Assessment Initiative
Implementation- Canada by Government of Canada
Objective- Explore the wide use of afforestation to tackle greenhouse gases along with other environmental benefits. Analyzing the input cost of afforestation was also one of the motives.
5. Tree Planting Campaign, 1981
Implementation- China by National People’s Congress
Objective- Plantation of trees by able-bodied citizens above the age of eleven. This is to be done each year. This step from the Chinese Government proved to be successful in handling the environmental problems.
6. Two Billion Trees Initiative
Implementation- Canada, Government of Canada
Objective- Plant two billion trees by the year 2030 all across the country. Conversely, focusing on afforestation, reforestation, and forest restoration particularly.[amazon_auto_links id="280559"]