The Importance of Reforestation in Forestry
Reforestation – the act of re-growing trees in a harvested area is crucial for various reasons.
On a macro scale, the importance of reforestation is underlined by the vital role trees play in carbon sequestration which helps with the overall health of the environment. On a more micro level, economics notwithstanding, there are various other reasons why recently harvested areas need to be replanted.
By classic definition, reforestation is the planned and/or deliberate action to regrow trees on a piece of terrain which had ‘for some reason lost its cover.’ In agricultural terms, that reason would usually be harvesting, but in the worst-case, fire damage.
Reforestation is very much a scientific process because it is not simply about planting trees. For it to be effective adequate knowledge of the geography, climate, and soil types of the area is required.
As part of Unitrans Africa’s agricultural specialist design competencies, the team designs and specifies equipment to maximise returns while minimising the impact on the lands. Here are a handful of reasons why this is vital:
Protection from soil erosion
By providing protective cover from environmental factors such as rain and snow, forests help prevent soil erosion and the loss of valuable topsoil. Tree roots act as natural anchors in the ground, helping to hold the soil in place. By preventing soil runoff, not only are streams and rivers safeguarded from silting up, but more importantly, essential nutrients remain in the soil to keep the micro-ecosystems healthy. In addition, trees add additional nutrients to the soil cycle from falling leaves and dropping of dead branches.
Maintain water cycle
Forests, both man-made and indigenous, help to maintain the natural water cycle. To radically paraphrase the science, trees absorb moisture through their leaves and roots. Then, via the process of transpiration, the trees release some of the water they’ve absorbed back into the atmosphere as water vapour. This process helps to restore the moisture balance of the local atmosphere.
Man-made forests in Southern Africa play host to a variety of recreational activities which in turn add to the economy of the region. Mountain bike trails and trail-running routes, as well as camping sites and other team-building and tree-top adventure style activities, are possible too. Without the tree cover, the trails would suffer erosion and the activities would be a lot less pleasant due to sunlight and heat.
While it is no secret that indigenous species offer the best habitat for endemic animals and organisms, any kind of forest cover leads to an increase in biodiversity throughout the food chain, from microorganisms (both ecological and zoological) to insects, reptiles, birds and mammals.
Trees help to remove pollutants from the atmosphere through absorption during photosynthesis. The process then releases oxygen back into the atmosphere to maintain the CO2/O2 balance. When a forest is properly managed and periodically harvested and reforested they are a sustainable source of timber. Our agricultural production systems include mechanised and automated land preparation, planting, soil and plant profiling building yield maps, leading to a host of variable rate applications of fertilizer, pesticides and ripening services.