CONSERVATION OF FORESTS IS THE NEED OF THE HOUR

March 21 was declared as the International Day of Forests by the United Nations to draw attention to the depleting forest cover of the planet and the urgent need to address the unsettling condition of the environment.

Urbanization and development activities have encroached forests to such an extent that human beings and wildlife are grappling with its repercussions every day. Whether it is the inferno in Odisha’s Similipal Tiger Reserve or the devastating floods in Uttarakhand, most natural disasters today are a result of an insensitive approach towards the environment and its inhabitants.

Forests occupy nearly a third of the land on Earth, supporting a diverse collection of species, including our own, yet we exploit its resources to an unthinkable extent. In addition to being a haven for wildlife, forests are also creating employment opportunities for about 13 million people. Trees not only help with clean water and air but also provide a variety of indispensable resources like wood, honey, food, resins, and crucial ingredients for medicines and cosmetics. The medicinal plants and pharmaceutical ingredients sourced from forests are indicative of our dependence on trees for our sound health and well-being. The goodness of clean air and water and the bliss of a walk in the woods are also some luxuries we often choose to turn a blind eye to. 

Forests also play a significant role in controlling CO2 levels in the environment by acting as natural carbon sinks. Mature trees are expected to sequester more carbon from the atmosphere than they release during the process of photosynthesis. We›ve often experienced that temperatures are noticeably lower in areas that are densely populated with trees as compared to cities. This is because trees use solar energy to evaporate moisture which creates a cooling effect that is similar to the air conditioning of two average households.

Considering the importance of forests and the urgent need to take effective measures for their conservation, Grow-Trees.com was determined to establish a platform that can help individuals and corporations with the same. Our organisation enables people to offset their carbon footprint, mitigate climate change, generate employment for local communities and protect wildlife through the unique concept of ‘Greet with Trees’.

This year’s theme for the International Forest Day, ‘Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Well-being’, also underlines the significance of forests in safeguarding our health against the onslaught of pollution and its adverse consequences.

Being actively engaged in plantation activities, we understand the importance of expanding the green cover in our country while educating people about the benefits of flourishing forests. Grow-Trees.com undertakes plantation activities on community lands so that rural and tribal communities can benefit the most from mature trees and the plethora of resources they offer.

Even though it was challenging initially to get through to rural communities and find the best local species in terms of geographical location, soil type, cultural heritage and species adaptability, we have been successful in planting over 7 million trees in 23 Indian states, thereby creating over 6,00,000 workdays of employment for rural communities. Our projects are a result of thorough research work to establish various themes like ‘Trees for Wildlife’, ‘Trees for Rural Communities’, ‘Trees for the Himalayas’ and many others.

The guidance and noteworthy suggestions from forest departments and village institutions have also helped us get permissions for plantations and fortify our relationship with the village communities by helping them fulfill their basic needs through employment opportunities.

Forests also play a vital role in improving groundwater recharge and feeding springs and rivers. In drier parts of India like the villages in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, that are constantly struggling with water scarcity issues, we worked extensively to expand the existing dry ponds and build new ones to rejuvenate the water bodies and support the needs of the villagers and the wildlife prominent in the regions.

Forests form an indispensable part of our ecosystem. However, our reckless actions along with the warnings of impending disasters suggest that we have been oblivious to the importance of this natural resource for a very long time. We believe that we can flourish only if the environment nourishes us with its natural splendor. Opting for a sustainable lifestyle and inculcating habits that can benefit our environment in the long run is the only way to move forward.

As an organisation that is determined to bring about a groundbreaking change in the condition of the environment and biodiversity, we are determined to plant 7 million trees in the coming monsoon season and revive our ecosystem with conscious and consistent efforts. 

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