,MARCH 21 is celebrated as World Forestry Day to draw attention to the need to preserve forests in their natural environment.Presently, trees are over-exploited and it is one of the major causes of environmental destruction, which opens up a Pandora’s box of climate change, global warming, increase in the incidences of natural disasters and desertification, loss of wildlife habitats, loss of water retention underground, air and water pollution – the loss of the eye-pleasing greenery and beauty that is so essential for our feeling and happiness of being one with nature.Even the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic could be traced to environmental degradation, and mankind came close to the prospect of extinction if not for the timely discovery of the vaccines. The virus has infected close to 125 million people worldwide. Hence, there is a crucial need to a balanced approach between development and the environment in any country’s progress agenda and plans.There is also a need to preserve “quality forests” to enable flora and fauna to flourish. Preserving high mountainous and rocky forests (which can’t be logged anyway) and including them as part of the quota or percentage of forest cover is not the right approach. Quality forests at lower levels need to be preserved to enable various wildlife to sustain themselves.High mountains are mostly devoid of wildlife and only a few species of birds can be found there. It is the lowlands and the hilly areas where flora and fauna thrive and it is these areas that face stiff competition from development. Instead of just emphasising on percentage of forest cover generally, a better audit system will be to differentiate the various kinds of terrain and the type of forest for a better assessment of the natural environment.March 21 was also World Poetry Day and I decided to focus on the need for the preservation of trees and forests for the wellbeing of mankind through a short poem that centres on the man-tree relationship.The tree symbolises the benefits forthe legs that walk in the park,the lungs that breathe the fresh air,the heart that beats with vitality,the mind that cherishes tranquilitythe eyes that enjoy its beauty,the hands that reach out for its fruits,Man’s feeling that life’s wonderful! – March 22, 2021.* V. Thomas reads The Malaysian Insight. * This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.
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