AFFORESTATION

Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no previous tree cover. It is the process of planting of trees or sowing of seeds to create a forest in a barren land. This process is different from reforestation, which is replanting of native trees where a forest has been depleted. While reforestation is increasing the number of trees of an existing forest, afforestation is the creation of a ‘new’ forest.

Afforestation is considered as a method for stopping or slowing desertification. Desertification is the deterioration of land in arid climates due to loss of vegetation and soil moisture. If done accurately, creating forestland in areas in the danger of desertification can slow erosion and reduce its spread.

Sustainable afforestation is also vital when it is implemented for environmental purposes. The appropriate types and amounts of trees to be planted vary depending on the environment, the climate, and the purpose of creating forested areas. Major environmental purposes include soil conservation and water quality improvement. For example, trees can be used to prevent soil erosion and reduce polluted runoff into nearby bodies of water. Trees may also be planted to create windbreaks.

Our Earth has been constantly trying to cope with the way in which human beings use natural resources, clear forest lands, cut trees, and contaminate the air, land, and water. Industrial revolution, population bursts, and pollution have created permanent damage to the earth, and the result is global warming and climate change. In such situations, something that can help extend the life of the planet and its living organisms is the increase of natural resources such as trees, and a decrease of exploitation of these resources.

By planting trees and creating forests, many of the commercial needs of human beings are fulfilled. Planting more tress also has an enormous positive impact on the environment as more oxygen is produced for us to breath, i.e. cleaner air.

Main advantages of Afforestation-

• Reduces desertification
• Brings more predictability to rain patterns
• Reduces pollution level
• Minimises effect of drought and global warming
• Allows factories and businesses to use natural resources with limited damage to the environment
• Minimises the effect of soil erosion
• Prevents acid rain

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