Forests and Humans

Today, forests cover 31% of the Earth’s surface area. It is a vital resource for society and 60 million indigenous peoples depend almost entirely on forests according to the FAO (World Food Organization). It is important to develop and conserve forest lands, or even the entire green space, not only for their aesthetic aspect, but also for ecological, economic and social reasons.

Indeed, trees have always been intimately linked to the evolution of terrestrial biodiversity, especially humanity because oxygen, water, food and medicines all depend on forests.

However, due to a lack of awareness of their importance or for strictly historical reasons, green spaces have been among the first victims of urban development. The multiple benefits of trees in urban areas have often been overlooked. However, urban trees are essential to ensure a good quality of life.The advantages of trees are grouped into several functions such as:

Ecological functions
Soil erosion control
-Purifies the air

Forests help to replenish groundwater supplies that are so crucial for drinking water. Thus, three quarters of the accessible water comes from forest watersheds.
Economic functions
Fruit production
-Tourism and tourism

Social functions
Man and the tree
Many tree-dominated panoramas stimulate psychological recovery because it causes positive feelings, reduce negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness, and can block or reduce thoughts that create nervous tension (Bory, 2000). According to the FAO (FAO, 1995), we can sharpen our concentration when we walk in green spaces. Studies have shown that hospitalized patients who can look at trees heal more quickly and suffer fewer complications than those who do not have access to this type of landscape.

Traditional medicine
Several tree species are now used to treat several diseases in Africa, the cases of Benin, Togo and Nigeria where traditional medicine is taking over. Forests reduce infectious diseases. Undisturbed tropical forests can have a moderating effect on diseases caused by insects and animals.
Many plants are also used in African medicine. These allow gentle treatments of all kinds of diseases. In West Africa, more than 80% of the population uses traditional medicine and medicinal plants for primary health care.

Aesthetic functions
Trees stand out from the perspective of main streets and arteries and can mask unsightly places. They are used in our various public squares and gardens and help to improve air quality in these different places. Not only that, they can decorate and embellish spaces, especially urban ones. Moreover, the presence of the tree is reassuring.

Ouidah-Bénin, 2015

Forests are one of the natural habitats of wildlife species. If these habitats are not protected and destroyed, wildlife species flee these areas to find a new environment that is good for their survival. But it is during this flight that they can be captured by traders who then traffic illegally. Food systems are also highly dependent on biodiversity and a considerable proportion of medicines are directly or indirectly of biological origin.


Thus, deforestation is a disaster for both humans and other species, with an estimated 27,000 animal and plant species disappearing each year because of it. This loss of biodiversity, which can be irreversible, cuts humanity off from invaluable services and resources.

Let us protect forests and our trees for the well-being of all living beings.

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