Afforestation is the process of establishing a forest on land that is not a forest, or has not been a forest for a long time by planting trees or their seeds. Afforestation is the establishment of a forest or stand of trees in an area where there was no forest. Reforestation is the reestablishment of forest cover, either naturally (by natural seeding, coppice, or root suckers) or artificially (by direct seeding or planting).
Our Earth has been constantly trying to cope with the way in which human beings use natural resources, clear forest lands, cut trees, and contaminate the air, land, and water. Industrial revolution, population bursts, and pollution create permanent damage to the earth, and the result is global warming and climate change. In such situations, something that can help extend the life of the planet and its living organisms is the increase of natural resources and decrease of exploitation of these resources.
With the increasing demand for wood fuels and building materials, this process helps to meet these demands without cutting down the natural forests. Deforestation can lead to the depletion of trees in water catchments and riverside zones. Afforestation ensures trees and plants that hold the soil in these sensitive areas remain protected.
Many countries have introduced the practice of planting trees along with agricultural crops in croplands. The benefits of this practice, which is called agro forestry, are:
It provides a supply of timber, fruit, and fodder for cattle apart from crop production It prevents soil erosion It enables better retention of water It shields crops from excessive wind and sun damage
In terms of the environmental benefits, planting trees is always beneficial whether it takes place in a barren land or is used as a method to regenerate a depleted forest. Trees help check atmospheric carbon dioxide; large scale afforestation can curb the problems caused due to burning of fossil fuels, industrialization and so forth.
Afforesting is a positive effort in curbing the over-use and destruction of natural forests. If done with proper planning and at appropriate sites, it can become a commercially viable solution for many human needs without harming the balance of nature.