How Important Are Our Vanishing Forests?
Why are the vanishing forests and their disappearing bio-diversity critical to the survival of all life and why and how can we save them? Solutions do exist, but where can we find them, and what must we value, understand and recognize to accomplish the goal?
Until recently the majority of people thought forests just stood there until it was time for the lumberman to turn them into logs. After that the forest land waited, sometimes a generation for their own regeneration or for seedlings to be planted that were essentially a mono-crop. In many cut forests, replanting often replaced hundreds of tree and plant species with a single one such as Wild Black Cherry “Super Trees” or Douglas Fir. This left a huge hole in the variety of trees and plants that retained sustainability to keep them common across our nation and ultimately, the world.
For countless creatures and human beings, in various parts of the world including our homeland, forests provide food and drink even complete sustenance for countless people. It is a joyous thing to walk through the forest and gather a delightful meal from such trees and plants as wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens), wild hazelnuts and chestnuts, a mulberry tree loaded with mouth-watering fruit, or a native Paw-paw fragrancing the air with its delectable fruit. The Paw-paws are scarce and difficult to find due to over cutting of forests. Chestnuts are also a rarity. On some extensive hikes through the woods, a gatherer would have to settle for some pine needles to make a healthy tea over a campfire. That is not a whole lot of dinner, but the forest once provided a huge variety of enjoyable meals and bouquets from orchids to magnolias! If we do not turn things around and restore the forests, they will cease to be even places of contemplation and spiritual renewal, or undisturbed sanctuary necessary for many animal species to continue their kind!
Inspiration records, there once was a man who was either the king of Babylon or a Satan filled being who died. Because of this people were celebrating. Since this being was put down, nobody was cutting down the forests and even the trees were celebrating the restoration of their actual purpose. After you complete this article read Isaiah 14:5-20. The literal translation of Isaiah 14:17 contains the word wilderness, which in Hebrew is midbar, and means a desert or a land for pasturing cattle. It appears that long ago God condemned destroying the rainforests to make fast food burgers from cattle ranches. God calls those who turn forests into places to raise beef an abominable branch and the seed of evil doers. (Isaiah 14:19-20) This dead king or satanic being is told, “You shall not be joined with all the kings of the nations (in honor) because you have destroyed your land and slain your people.” (Isaiah 14:20) We can deduce that felling the forest equates to some form of wickedness and restoring it brings back life from the dead.
The first garden was planted by the Creator Himself. (Genesis 2:8) This garden was filled with beautiful trees and was integrated with all sorts of edible plants. So God, who hung the stars in space and upholds all things by the word of His power, was not too preoccupied or uninterested to plant a forest garden. He wanted it spread across the entire habitable Earth by mankind. In fact, He placed man into the forest-garden to guard it and protect it; to learn from it, to cultivate it, to propagate it, to fence it and to live there. (Genesis 2:15) Forests not only have provided millions of meals in a sustainable way, in addition to lumber, until the industrial revolution. Tree’s root systems and branches have created shade and watersheds to add moisture content to the atmosphere and produce clouds and cooling to keep man and beast comfortable in hot weather. Watersheds hold back the escape of dew and rainwater thus creating lasting reserves of ground water which feed springs, lakes and streams which maintain a consistent flow of H20 that provides boat and ship travel and transportation and creates huge underground aquifers which people tap into for all of their water needs. Even great cities could not survive without such aquifers.
Humanity itself would have difficulty obtaining water to drink without forests. Being convinced that the existence of forests can draw clouds down near the earth when otherwise, the rain clouds would pass over without yielding their refreshment, I submit this fact. In the 1940’s, Gonave, an island off the coast of Haiti, was a tropical paradise. Over-cutting turned that island into a desert from a rainforest. Today clouds rarely stop there and all of the rare woods have vanished and one can only wonder what became of all the rainforest species of trees, plants and animals. Cut the forests and in many cases you turn off the water until they are reestablished. The US is now experiencing desertification and drought like they have not since the days of the Dust Bowl.
Another thing forests do is turn bark, roots, trunks, branches and even leaves into humus and beneficial bio-organisms and fill the earth with richer, warmer soils which are also more water retentive and benefit all vegetation. The forests provide dwelling places for millions of third world peoples plus building materials for the homes of others throughout the nations and they provide carbon sinks and oxygen to diminish the bad chemicals and release the air we need to breathe all over the earth. You might say we owe our breath “to the lungs of the earth.” If God did not see the environmental and atmospheric demise from the destruction and abuse of our forests, we would be in the gravest of situations instead of simply a challenge. The word restitution used in Acts 3:21 actually comes from a Greek root word that means restoration. God did not just speak about our restoration which is necessary: the restoration of all things including the forests doing all their many functions is at the top of the list.
The forests provide breeding grounds and homes and habitat for countless species of animals and plants. Mangroves create estuaries for countless more sea life which are forests growing in salt water. I encountered ships in the Caribbean hauling mangrove trunks home for firewood. Estuaries where much sea life begins are disappearing to cook dinner, when solar ovens can do the same job. Mangrove forests grow in 118 countries and territories. Only half of the original forest nurseries for sea life exist today! Mangroves are much more effective at sequestering C02 than other forests.
Jesus always saves the best for last and now this Son of God is doing the same thing. You may question what connection could God possibly have to the forest other than the fact that He created them, planted them and placed us in the midst of them to care for them. The answer is that the Heavens will retain and restrain Christ’s return until the forests are restored, yes all things are restored. Those preachers that have told you that Jesus is coming at any moment obviously do not know what the scriptures teach. Remember, Jesus will not be coming back until the restoration of all things. (Acts 3:21) Even Jesus does not know when He will return, but the Father only. Why is this? It is because only the Father can raise up sons and the whole creation is awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God. The Father is raising us up to conform to His good pleasure. As sons we should know what exactly that good pleasure is. And why is the creation awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God? We must remain in communion and union with God because He has all the answers and directions and instructions we need to be acting upon, including restoring the earth.
When we pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,” we human beings are the ones who will be carrying out His will on Earth. What will we be doing that blesses the creation or the creatures? God and His Word both the Logos and the Rhema or the written Word working with the spoken word will reveal this unto us. These two forms of God’s instruction must always agree. The grace that comes to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ should be something you hope for. God sees the end from the beginning. Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants but friends because the servant does not know what his Master does.” As friends we should know what the Master does!
When Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and solitary place, He was with the wild creatures and the angels ministered unto Him. I have been to the wilderness and it is not good for man to be alone even there, without the console of the wild creatures. They become temporary companions. Could it not be possible that when Jesus was with the wild creatures that He revealed to them, like to the souls who were beheaded for the testimony of Christ, that they must wait a little longer before their suffering and mistreatment ends. Could He not have described to them, the delightful hope awaiting them, “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:20-21) He led them like a little child (for you must become like a little child to enter the Kingdom). Is it conceivable that He led them, not with a leash and a halter, but by His Spirit as He leads the sons of God? “For as many as are led by Spirit, these are the sons of God.”(Romans 8:14) When Jesus was led into the wilderness in Luke 4:1 and Mark 1:13 all things were for God’s pleasure and I don’t believe the wild creatures are any exception. I believe He enjoyed being with them.
You must not be a Christian, Jew or movie-goer to not know of the Ark of the Covenant. Harrison Ford made it the center of a movie in our generation and the Bible is full of information regarding it. It is where what is called the Shekinah Glory of God (manifestation and presence of God) resided. It has the cherubim angels facing one another on the top of the Ark of the Covenant representing mans communion with God. The Ark of the Covenant went on a long and winding journey. Moses was instructed how to build it on Mt. Sinai. At one point it was captured by the Philistines. Everywhere it went it brought blessings. The Ark symbolizes God’s presence. Where the Ark goes, God’s presence goes. At another point it even abided in the forest for a very long time. It takes God’s presence and listening to Him to learn how to restore the forests properly. King David sought for the Ark of the Covenant (the habitation of the God of Jacob) at a place called Ephrata, which is where David grew up because he had heard of it there and he discovered it not too far away at a town called Kirjath-jearim which means town of the forests which was surrounded by forests. Ephrata changed its name to Bethlehem where Christ was born and the Ark was a long time in the forests of Kirjath-jearim. Ultimately the Ark of the Covenant was on Mt. Moriah where Abraham offered up Isaac in Jerusalem and finally resided in the people of God. As the scripture says, “Christ in us is the hope of glory.” We have the information we need to restore the earth living in us and without God we can never restore the earth.
There are nearly 20,000 tree and plant species in the US alone and many of them need restoring and protecting. The saints of the God of Glory have, along with our restoration, the responsibility of restoring the earth. An international agency has claimed it is their responsibility but this will not prove true. (See Daniel 7:18) God has not changed His mind about the path the earth is on or who has responsibility for the forest and its species. A very well known and honored minister, Paula White, reiterates, “God’s original intention is His final decision.” The Message bible says in Genesis 1:27-28, “God created human beings; He created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: Prosper! Reproduce! Fill earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of the earth.” In Psalms 132:6 King David says, “We sought for the habitation of the God of Jacob in Ephrata and we found it in the field of the woods.” We are not only responsible for the fish and birds but every living thing that moves in the forest and the forest itself. All these other entities which claim this responsibility have no such honor because they have rejected God and neglected His creation.
Forests are a place where God makes His habitation and they are an atmosphere where we can best commune with Him for our own restoration. Without that no Eden is safe. See the bright shinning plant. Just a few days ago they were hard, dry seeds planted in a container of dirt. The plant begins as a sprout, then a new creation and then a mature species loaded with its own fruit and seeds. “We know not how.” (Mark 4:26-28) We do know that God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:11a) God and seed is all we need and a commitment from you, the restored friend of God, to the Creator and His creation.