Forests play an essential part in our day to day lives, we depend on it for survival, from getting fresh air to breathe to the fruits we consume, they also provide shelter to animals, without forests, animals would be left without a home, forests also provide essential products which are extremely important like wood for furniture and houses, medicine, paper and several other products which we use in everyday lives, about half the world’s forests is engaged in the production of forest products, we have made a list of the 10 Things that we get from forests, let us take a
look at them:-
Also known as Sea Sponges, these sponges as the name suggests, don’t come from the sea, they are actually grown in forests, they are made from renewable plant-based materials such as cotton fibre and wood pulp, and once harvested and peeled, you can use these sponges just like any other normal sponge, they are used for bathing, washing dishes, cleaning, and scrubbing, these sponges are biodegradable, and are great for the environment, as they don’t produce any harmful environmental toxins.
Chewing gum has been around for longer than you think, as the ancient Greeks have been chewing on mastic gum, or the resin contained in the bark of the mastic tree for centuries now, Grecian women used chewing gum to clean their teeth and sweeten their breath. Modern chewing gum is composed of gum base, sweeteners, softeners/plasticizers, flavours, colours, and powdered polyol coating. Its texture is similar to that of rubber because of the physical-chemical properties which also makes it chewy and sticky.
Yes, you’ve read that right, chocolates also come from forests, Chocolate is made using the Cacao seeds which come from the cacao tree, the seeds are then fermented to develop flavour. After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned and then roasted. The shell of the cacao bean is removed to produce cacao nibs. The nibs are then grounded to produce what we call pure chocolate, The Cacao trees are usually found in South and Central America, the Caribbean and other humid and tropical climates in both Africa and Asia.
One of the most common materials that we use in our everyday life is rubber, Natural rubber is made by extracting a liquid sap, called latex, from rubber trees, latex is gathered from the trees by making a cut in the bark and collecting the runny sap in cups, This process is called tapping, ammonia is added to the latex to prevent it from solidifying, acid is then added to the mix to extract the rubber, the process of extracting rubber from the extract is called coagulation, which can take about 12 hours, excess water is then removed from the mixture and the layers of rubber are dried and sent for processing.
Trees have been used to create beauty products since ancient times, products like Henna and hair dye were used by our ancestors for creating tattoos and colouring their hair, the leaves of the Henna tree are plucked and are then crushed and dried, liquids like water, lemon juice or tea are added to the leaves to create a paste and are then applied to the skin. Henna tattoos have become a tradition in several countries, especially women wear Henna tattoos or Mehendi on important occasions, Bridal Mehndi is also a common practice followed by Indian women.
Medicines are some of the oldest and most essential products that we get from forests, they provide us with an endless amount of medicines, which are crucial for treating certain health conditions, these medicines have been used since ancient times, several parts of the trees are used for making medicines, like leaves, flowers and bark of the tree, each with its own medicinal benefit, and people have been long dependent on these medicines for a healthy living.
Wine corks are made from the bark of the cork oak tree, these trees live for up to 250 years, and are mostly found in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Portugal. At the age 25, the tree reaches maturity, once maturity has been reached, the cork is stripped off the bark, the process of removing the bark is difficult and is done by hand by skilful workers, The year the cork is harvested from a particular tree will be marked on the tree so that it isn’t harvested again, as the tree needs a minimum of nine years to regrow enough bark to be harvestable again.
Carnauba Wax, which is generally used in car waxes comes from the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera, a plant which is only grown in the parts of northeastern Brazil. The wax is obtained by collecting the leaves of the palm and drying them, the leaves are then beaten to loosen the wax. Carnauba Wax is used for creating several polishing products like car wax, furniture waxes and polishes, shoe polishing and is even used in food products and cosmetics like lipstick, deodorant and foundation.
Timber is a type of wood which is processed into beams and planks and is used for building houses and making furniture, any wood, which has a minimum dimensional size can be termed as timber, as timber is used for building houses and furniture, it is always in high demand, and has become one of the most profitable industries. Timber also has several other uses, it is also used as a fuel, used for making pulp and paper, and used in synthetic textiles.
Certainly one of the best things about forests is that they provide us with fruits, they are extremely essential as almost the entire population consumes fruits, and animals depend on fruits for their survival, different varieties of fruits are grown on trees, from apples to lemons, apart from being a source of energy, fruits also provide several health benefits and are known for treating many diseases, for example, Jamun trees are known for acting as a natural blood purifier.