Benefits of forests

Trees are good for many things from timber, outdoor life, carbon sink, wild-food and more

Trees as living multitools

Biodiversity live drawings – Illustration and text by Frits Ahlefeldt,

Planting forests helps against climate change, but they do more than that. Trees benefits us in so many ways that several of them have their own schools and literature

Here I have worked to sketch up a few of the benefits of forests I meet often:


Timber is one of the oldest and now also most promising building materials. It is both brilliant for creating good living environment and also easy to use, to work and to adjust, should the needs or the use of the building change. Wood has been in the shadow of concrete, glass and steel for many years, but a whole new trend in sustainable architecture now takes wood to the cutting edge of architecture.

Forests are important habitats for many of the species on Earth from Amazonas, to Papa New Guinea, And from pole to pole, as countless migrating species use them both as shelter, as breeding place, as feeding and hiding-place.

According to England’s largest woodland conservation organization: The Woodland Trust (Wikipedia link) just a single oak tree can support more than 2000 species ( link to article on ) not including fungi and bacteria.

Outdoor, health and therapy

From hiking and to forest-bathing (shinrin-yoku) forests can have an almost magical, and well-documented effect ( Link to research – by Kirsten McEvan) on our well-being and health.

Counter rising Co2 emissions

Forests can, under the right circumstances, work as a carbon sink and help reduce the amount of Co2 in the air. A good thing because the rising Co2 level in the atmosphere is a main cause of rising temperature. But the data and science is complicated ( link – – Forests )


Forests can be an important food source and new ways of farming are working to systemize this so forests can be part of a more sustainable food production in the future ( Link Forest Gardening – Wikipedia )


many of the drugs used today originated in forests and according to the US forest Service:

“A full 40 percent of the drugs behind the pharmacist’s counter in the Western world are derived from plants that people have used for centuries, including the top 20 best selling prescription drugs in the United States today” ( Link – Us-Forest service story)

Protecting water resources, quality and flow

Forests helps protect the water we need every day in several ways. It works as a sponge filtering the water and also slowly replenishing the natural underground reservoirs. It can also help protect the same reservoirs from pesticides and other harmful substances in industrial or agricultural use. ( Read more on US Center for watershed protection )

Saving up and cashing out

Forests can be a long-term investment, for local communities and owners, giving access to a growing amount of resources in sustainable ways. There are even organizations and companies specializing in investing in forests – The German is one example from Europe

Drawing of tree with Benefits drawn up around it. Biodiversity illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt - Drawn journalism
Di01256 – Drawing of tree with Benefits drawn up around it.
Drawing of tree with Benefits drawn up around it. Biodiversity illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt - Drawn journalism
Di01256 Texted: Some benefits of the forest: Timber, Outdoor life, Carbon sink, Hunting and wildfood, Protecting resources, Saving up and cashing out.

See more biodiversity posts

Keywords: biodiversity, nature, biodiversitet, drawn journalism, visual journalism, illustration, drawing, journalistik, tegnet journalistik, visuel journalistik, visual journalism, biodiversityCph1

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