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Tree conservation is the preservation and management of forests and, by extension, individual trees. It is a principle, a policy, and a practice, all of which have become more common and popular in the decades of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. In many parts of the world, activists, governments, and conservation organizations have done their best to inform people that the natural resource represented by trees and forests has great value to civilization, wildlife, and the overall well-being of the world's ecosystems, as well as potentially influencing climate and the use and conservation of other natural resources. Tree conservation is often at odds with the interests of for profit companies that exploit forests for natural resources as well as those who clear forests for the purpose of agriculture or other land use that requires the trees to be removed.
The primary goal of tree conservation is to preserve and protect forests. The reasons for this are many, including the preservation of wildlife habitat, prevention of erosion, and preservation of beauty for the enjoyment of future generations. These goals are only part of the overall concept of tree conservation, however, as the world's forests have a much greater value beyond these considerations. Many drugs and medicines come from plants and trees found in the world's forests, and many trees are an important source of food for humans.
The world's forests are responsible for recycling a great deal of the carbon dioxide released into the air by animals, metabolizing it, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. This cycle is integral to the survival of all life on earth. It may also influence global climate as some scientists believe that increased deforestation could contribute to global warming. Trees also filter out pollutants from our air, helping to preserve air quality and, therefore, our health.
The consumption of trees and forests, if not managed through tree conservation practices, could result in a shortage, or even total lack, of wood as a raw material for the building and manufacturing of countless products as well as fuel. Tree conservation is a way to balance use with preservation so that this natural resource is not completely depleted. It also aims to maintain populations of tree species in an effort to prevent extinction of those that are endangered or threatened .