A forest is a place with an abundance of trees and plants. Native, on the other hand, can refer to someone who is born in a certain place or to what is natural in a certain space.
It is called native forest or primary forest to the wooded area that preserves its natural characteristics unchanged. This means that they are forests that have not been modified by humans through their actions.
In a native forest there are no productive exploitations or deforestation. In secondary forests, however, it is possible to notice the influence of man. Currently most of the forests are secondary due to urbanization and the economic activities that take place in these types of places.
The Amazon, in South America, conserves large areas of native forest. You can also find this kind of forests in the region of Malesia, in Tasmania and Siberia, for example.
A native forest, in short, is a forest ecosystem that is home to rich biodiversity. Numerous species of animals and flora coexist in it. The living beings, the atmosphere, the soil and the climate of the native forests compose an interdependent unit that is in balance in a natural way.
It should be noted that, although native forests are those that have not been modified by humans, forests of secondary origin that form after deforestation and forests restored by man himself also have these characteristics.
Native forests fulfill many important functions for life on our planet. Among them we can name the protection of the soil against desertification and erosion; regulation of temperature; the shelter for animals and plants; water storage; and the absorption of carbon dioxide.
One of the greatest benefits that native forests can provide us is through the so-called sponge effect, which can be defined as the emptying of reservoirs or aquifers in permeable soils. If a forest is in its natural state, it is very likely that in the rainy season it will reduce runoff to the maximum (the free circulation of rainwater over a field) and release the stored liquid when it is really necessary, such as during a drought.
In Panama, a group of scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute demonstrated all this in 2013 through a large-scale experiment that they carried out on an area of 700 hectares in the Panama Canal. This is the first time that the usefulness of the sponge effect in the protection of infrastructure in times of storms has been demonstrated.
The study carried out by the researchers involved the observation of 450 tropical storms, a number that allowed them to contrast data and recognize patterns to be in a position to reliably prove that native forests can save us from major floods.
One of the tests conducted in this case along with various scientists from the University of Wyoming, was measuring the amount of water storm that moved through forest land, pastures and abandoned pastures. The conclusion is very clear: the runoff that occurs during a rain is less in protected areas than in deforested ones. The Panama Canal has great interests in water conservation, since thousands of ships pass through it each year, representing 5% of world trade.
The native forest is the clearest representation we have of how our planet should look and function. Unfortunately, human beings do not open our eyes until a group of scientists alert us to the consequences that the way in which we relate to nature can bring us.