Some Interesting Facts About Forests

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1. There is an ancient old growth forest bordering Poland called Białowieża Forest. It resembles what most of Europe looked like before the 14th century. This story of conservation has been well documented over the last 500 years and is almost as rich as the ecosystem the forest supports.

2. A man called Jadav Payeng single-handedly planted a forest bigger than Central Park to save Majuli Island in Northern India from erosion. The forest is now home to large amounts of stray wildlife.

3. One of the reasons your lungs feel refreshed when walking through a pine forest is because of an anti-inflammatory compound called a-Pinene, found in conifers. It is used as a bronchodilator in the treatment of asthma and abundantly present in marijuana.

4. California uses inmates to fight forest fires. Prisoners take the jobs because it reduces their sentence, gets them outside, and pays better than typical prison jobs.

5. Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) was required to be accompanied by crewmembers who wore brightly-colored vests while in the forests of the Pacific Northwest filming scenes set on Endor, so as not to be mistaken for Bigfoot and shot.

6. There is a tree named Pando that is technically an entire forest. It is a clonal colony of 4700 Aspens in Utah that all share the same root system.

7. The New Jersey Forest Fire Service can summon any person aged 18 to 50 in their jurisdiction to help fight a wildfire or for use of their property in assisting, and it is a crime to refuse. The duties assigned require minimal training such as digging trenches.

8. A formation of larch trees in the shape of a swastika was discovered in Germany in 1992. The formation, only visible in the fall, went unnoticed for 60 years. After that discovery, other forest swastikas were found in Germany and beyond.

9. Genghis Kahn killed enough people to cool the earth. He killed over 40 million people, the result of which, vast tracts of farmland were reclaimed by forests.

10. In 1949, Smokejumper Wag Dodge survived being engulfed in the Mann Gulch fire in Montana by lighting a fire and standing in the charred remains.

11. Hurricane Katrina uncovered an underwater forest off Alabama Coast that is 50,000 years old.

12. More than 80% of the Earth’s natural forests have already been destroyed.

13. There is a 2400 year old giant “honey mushroom” in Oregon, covering 2200 acres, slowly killing off the trees in the forest. It is the largest living organism on the planet.

14. A single valley in Chad provides over 50% of the nutrient rich dust that is in the Amazon rain forest.

15. Hang Son Doong in Vietnam is the largest cave in the world. It houses a rain forest in its largest chamber. The cave wasn’t discovered until 1991, and wasn’t explored until 2009.

16. China has planted the biggest artificial forest in the world to stop the spread of the Gobi desert, and plans to expand it to 2,800 miles by 2074.

17. In the Battle of Hurtgen Forest during WW2, the forest was so dense and dark and hard to navigate that the German and Allied medics shared an aid station in the only building either could easily find.

18. Charcoal beetles fly into still-burning forest fires to mate and lay eggs because competition and predators will be low. They sense distant fires using infrared armpit sensors.

19. Forest growth in the US has exceeded harvest since the 1940s, and USA has more trees now than at any time in the past 100 years.

20. Most rainforest soils are extremely poor in minerals and nutrients and the key to the luxuriant vegetation of these forests lies in the rapid nutrient cycling.

21. It is estimated that old-growth redwood forest once covered close to 2,000,000 acres (8,100 km2) of coastal northern California. 96% of all old-growth redwoods have been logged.

22. There is a 390 acre tract of virgin-old growth forest in central Pennsylvania. It features ancient hemlock trees and 20-foot rhododendrons. This area was conserved because of a land dispute between logging companies in the 1900’s.

23. On Earth, there was a time when forests didn’t decompose as no life had evolved to eat trees yet.

24. There exists an underwater forest in Lake Kaindy, Kazakhstan that was created after an earthquake in 1911 triggered a large landslide blocking the gorge and forming a natural dam.

25. Some redwood trees are so big that miniature forests grow on their upper branches.

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