Protecting our Woodlands

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British Columbia forest

All over the world, woodland areas are disappearing. Logging, industry, urban expansion, and flooding for hydro projects are all contributing to the loss of forest areas.

By now, everyone knows the benefits of protecting our woodlands. Not only do woodlands provide home and shelter for many species of animals, they help to moderate the effects of wind, sun, and rain, and they improve air quality by absorbing pollutants and providing oxygen. Trees and woodlands are also a potent ally in the fight against global climate change, as growing trees absorb a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, making forests the second most important carbon sink, after the oceans.

To protect our forests, we’ve been encouraged to buy recycled paper products whenever possible, and cut down our use of wood products, particularly old-growth wood products.

If you’re one of many people who want to do more to save our forests, but lack the means to buy a parcel of woodland to preserve, there’s a Canadian company ready to help. “Trees in Trust” is an online company that sells small portions of selected Canadian woodlands to private individuals for preservation. For $30, you can protect a 280 square foot section of your choice of a number of woodland areas in Canada. Included in the price are an online map showing the location of your piece of forest, a personalized dedication certificate for your wall, and a tax receipt. $1,500 will pay for the protection of a full acre.

Similar organizations exist to protect forests in other parts of the world as well. The Rain Forest Action Network (RAN has its Protect-An-Acre program, which aims to preserve land in rainforests all over the globe, including Malaysia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Cameroon, the United States, Brazil, and many other nations (though, perhaps tellingly, none in Europe or Australia). Though their focus is on rainforests, they actually provide grants to many organizations seeking to protect forests of all sorts.

Rainforest Concern, a charity out of the United Kingdom, also takes donations, including helping you buy carbon offsets. Money donated goes towards action to preserve south and central American rainforests. You can also sponsor an acre of rainforest, setting it aside from any further exploitation.

Some might argue that these sorts of efforts, in the long run, make little real difference. They miss the effect that these sort of projects have in allowing their sponsors, many of whom live far away from rainforests, and may likely never see one, to feel a sense of connection with these primeval places. This suddenly places a value on the rainforest that never had before. They “own” a piece, and they are making an effort to change things. Each effort may be small, but all together they could end up saving the planet.

Colin Dunn was born and raised in Northern Alberta. Growing up in the boreal forest gave him an appreciation for nature, an appreciation that was enhanced by the works of his artist mother, Svala Dunn, who captured the landscapes and wildlife of the north in her oils and watercolors. He holds a Degree in Geography from the University of Alberta, with a concentration in Urban Studies. He has since found career in information technology, but still pursues his first interests in geography and the environment. He lives and works in southern Vancouver Island, with his wife and three children.