The importance of a forest

Woods can be divided into two categories: natural and artificial. The first category includes native, ancient woods or woods that were artificial at first and have then naturalised. The second category includes only artificial woods or woods that have been planted only to be felled. The essential functions of a wood can be grouped into three categories: productive function, ecological-protective function, aesthetic-recreational function. The first one is essentially aimed at forestry as well as to commercial exploitation for wood products, such as fruits (chestnuts, pine nuts, etc.), bark, resins, rubber, mushrooms and soft fruits (strawberries, blueberries, officinal herbs, etc.) and game. The ecological-protective function is related to physical (keeping low temperatures and high humidity) and biological aspects (air oxygenation, production of organic substances). By collecting rain, reducing its falling speed, making the soil permeable and reducing surface flows, woods control the outflow of water streams. In addition, they almost completely counter the effect of winds and brightness. Another important function of woods has to do with the pedogenesis (birth and growth of soils), since it replenishes the soil and roots of organic substances.

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