Forests, clouds and soil

Forests play a crucial role with regards to the management of the water cycle. Forests are the factories of clouds. While the structure of roots keeps the soil compact, vegetal organic material in decomposition combines with minerals forming a sort of giant sponge which, following a slow, regular rhythm releases water in surrounding areas. Humidity coming from forests, especially tropical forests, creates clouds and governs microclimates, which also play a role holding moisture. For this reason forests prevent desertification, produce rainfalls and provide freshwater. For example, a big jungle tree can free in the atmosphere about 760 litres of water per day in the form of water vapour, which means that half hectare of primary jungle releases about 75,000 litres, 20 times more than the release occurring on an equivalent marine area.
Forests preserve soil, preventing floods and landslides, especially in mountainous areas and on slopes. Tree roots and vegetation, infact, hold and anchor the soil and humidity keeps humus compact. At the time when trees are cut down, the soil is washed by rainfalls and humus is dispersed by wind.

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