We all know that October is the month of spooky costumes, haunted houses, tons of candy and telling ghost stories around the campfire but did you know that the month of October is also known as being the “State Forest Awareness Month?” There are many benefits to having and maintaining a healthy forest such as cleaner air and water, acquiring medicinal plants for traditional medicine and providing a natural place to visit to promote physiological, psychological and social well-being. There are many other benefits that a healthy forest can provide but we wanted to take a moment to talk about how our forests play a role in climate change.
Science and meteorological measurements indicate that global warming is a reality. We can see this for ourselves as temperatures continue to rise year after year leading to an increase in severe weather such as heat waves, floods, droughts, and wildfires. Before the 20th century, our forests were mistreated and exploited due to frequent logging operations on a day-to-day basis. Profits were on the forefront of these operations as very little interest went towards reforestation or forest management and because of this, forest sustainability was completely thrown out the window. The general population favored agricultural land over forest land which caused deforestation on a large scale. In addition, urbanization put a significant dent in forest growth not only in Florida but around the world.
Being aware that sustaining healthy forests is a necessity and not simply a commodity is the first step in the right direction when it comes to protecting our lands.
Forests can use carbon dioxide to increase the wood mass on trees. The soils can fix a huge quantity of carbon more so than a pasture or agriculture land. The forest canopy also absorbs more solar radiation than agricultural crops or city pavements. By properly managing and maintaining healthy forests, our ecosystem will be better built to help fight carbon and increase the planets defense against solar light.