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The power of the forest © Frans Lanting/plainpicture
For International Day of Forests today, we’re looking at a baobab grove in Senegal. The indigenous cultures of sub-Saharan Africa, where baobabs grow wild, have long relied on the trees for a variety of uses. The fruit, seeds, and leaves are all edible, and in Tanzania, the wood pulp is a fermentation ingredient in local beers. Forests of all kinds provide many natural resources that humans use, and sometimes overuse. This year’s theme for International Day of Forests is ‘forests and education’; it’s an effort to get us all thinking about the more abstract benefits of healthy forests. A dense forest can clean both the air and water by pulling carbon compounds and other pollutants out of the ecosystem, and forests greatly reduce erosion.