Forests contribute directly and indirectly to the livelihoods of an estimated one billion people globally. Forest can provide food, fuel for cooking and heating, medicine, shelter and clothing, sustaining livelihoods. Mangrove forests, for example, contribute to local livelihoods as they are a rich source of fish, crabs and clams.
Forests support human health and well-being through the many ecosystem services they provide. COVID-19 has shown us that urban green spaces, such as urban forests and parks, have positive impacts on health due to their ability to improve air quality, and provide opportunities for sport, social cohesion and stress reduction.
It is essential to acknowledge that different cultures worldwide value forests for more than just the tangible and intangible benefits they provide. For example, trees can be worshipped and respected in some indigenous communities as Gods that protect and bless people, which also strengthens the bond within the community.
Forests can help to save on heating and cooling costs. Trees provide a windbreak and lower surface and air temperatures through evapotranspiration and shadow. Green solutions have also proven to be a viable solution for dealing with heat stress in cities.
Through photosynthesis, trees release oxygen. The amount of oxygen that a tree produces depends on its maturity and species, but in general, it is understood that a leafy tree will produce more oxygen than a pine tree.