By Helen Gaw
Trees are a precious resource. They maintain the earth’s atmosphere and sustain the environment. It is often said that trees are the lungs of the earth.
Trees also provide us with the raw materials for construction, furniture, cooking implements and paper products. They are an important source of food such as fruit, nuts and leaves. Everywhere we look we see the resources provided by trees, whether we live in a large city or a small rural village. All our homes contain wood and paper products and most of us enjoy eating foods that have come from trees.
We need trees, and because we need them, we need to protect them by caring for them and using them sustainably. Much research has been done on this subject and some global initiatives are explained on p10.
Sometimes it is not easy to use trees and forests sustainably. Perhaps there are questions about who owns a forest and who has the right to use it. Or environmental damage such as land clearing leaves an area without enough trees and there are no initiatives for replanting. We consider these problems in the opening article and on p16.
A number of the articles in this issue are about tree-planting in communities, but there is also relevant information for individuals and families who want to benefit from planting trees.
Trees and forests can relieve poverty and contribute to health. We look at the benefits of agroforesty (growing trees and crops together), beekeeping and medicinal plants. The centre spread shares tips for tree planting.
Future issues will be on stigma and non-communicable diseases. As always, readers are invited to submit articles and letters.
Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 85 in html.
To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 85, please click here (524KB).