Saturday, June 10, 2023
Tech4Nature: Why Healthy Forests Mean Healthy People
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SHENZHEN, China, March 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ --  Themed 'Forests and Health', this year's International Day of Forests on March 21 is a call for humanity to consider its relationship with the Earth's forests and the direct impact they have on our longevity and well-being.

Many people are familiar with the metaphor that forests are the lungs of the planet, breathing out clean air and serving as vital carbon sinks that mitigate the effects of climate change. Fewer, however, are aware of the intrinsic links that forests have with our day-to-day health.

Did you know?

As well as the planet's lungs, forests are also nature's pharmacy and larder.

They provide us with around 25% of western medicines, with upwards of 50,000 plants contributing to modern drugs. And a study  of 27 African countries shows that children exposed to forests had 25% greater diet diversity thanks to an abundance of fruit, vegetables, bush meat, fish, and edible oils.  

But the prognosis for forests is alarming. Around 35% of the world's forest cover has been lost, with 82% of the remainder degraded.

The rapidity and extent of these threats require long-term, committed intervention.

A story of protection

One way technology is protecting forest ecosystems is by preventing illegal logging, which accounts for up to 90% of all logging activities and is a major contributor to global deforestation.

In Similajau National Park in Malaysia's Sarawak state, we are working with the Sarawak Forest Department and Sarawak Forestry Corporation to enable the Sarawak government to protect its rainforests. The park is not just rich in biodiversity, it is also a sustainable source of medicine and food for local people, many of whom depend on the forest for their livelihoods.

However, illegal logging remains a prominent threat, causing widespread degradation of the rainforest ecosystem and biodiversity loss.