I think I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree
- Joyce Kilmer (Trees)
Forests have nurtured and nourished mankind for billions of years. It is always a good idea to introduce young minds to the wonders of this quiet force of nature. We are starting the series with the very basics. Who knows, maybe while teaching the kids, we will pick up a thing or two!
LITTLE BEFORESTOR – Starting with the basics
When you think of a forest, what comes to mind? Lots of trees growing together in one place.
But, the fact is – a forest is made of a million different things. It’s made of trees and plants of different size and shapes. It could have rocks, hills, grasslands, rivers, waterfalls and caves. Forests are home to many different kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and insects.
But by far – Trees are the real heroes of every forest
Forests are magical
There are millions of living beings in a single forest. Some are huge animals like gorillas, giraffes and Elephants. Some smaller creatures like spiders, insects and birds. Some are tiny microorganisms that you won’t even notice. And they are all very important.There is as much activity above the soil in a forest as there is under the soil. Forests also have hundreds and thousands of plants – some small, some medium sized and some large, like trees. They all live in harmony together – like a big family.
Trees protect the forest from harsh sun, their leaves fall and cover the ground, making it all soft and cool. These leaves and old plants also turn into manure or food for other plants. Big animals eat smaller ones, small ones eat insects or plants. Other animals and birds eat fruits and drop their seeds. Little insects like bees gather nectar from flowers and carry their little seeds (pollen) around. New plants then grow from these seeds and pollen; roots protect the soil and keep it moist with water; roots also protect the forest land from flooding by soaking up excess water;earthworms and little animals burrow around in the ground and keep the soil healthy and airy. While little insects are busy foraging for food, birds are busy feeding their babies and at the same time giant lions may be lazying around in the sun.
The forest is as active during the day as it is in the night. You will hear insects, owls and other creatures talking to each other all night!
The next time you camp in a forest, be sure to look around you and watch closely in the day and at night.
India’s deep connection with forests
India has a rich forest cover. In fact we are among the top 10 forest-rich countries in the world. Our forests are home to Bengal tigers and single horned Rhinoceros. Sundarban forest of West Bengal forms part of the largest mangroves in the world.
Even ancient Indian scriptures describe three kinds of forests – Shrivan, Tapovan and Mahavan.
Many Indian mythological stories were set in forests. King Rama is said to have spent 14 years of his exiled life in a forest called Dandaka forest, close to the modern day Madhya Pradesh; Krishna is said to have lived and played near Vrindavan forest of Northern India; Gautham Buddha is said to have chosen forests of Bodh Gaya in Bihar to live and pursue his goals.
With all this, we find forests fascinating! What about you?
Have you spent time in a forest? Where was it, what was your experience? What would you like to know about forests of India and the world?
We hope you will join us in this journey to discover the incredible wonders of forests