Forestry is the management of forests with the aim of harvesting their produce, which includes timber, fuel wood, charcoal, resin, rubber, and pulp for paper. Trees also yield food in the form of fruits, nuts, and oils.
Wood is an amazingly versatile material, which can be put to thousands of different uses. As well as being burned for fuel, timber is also used in buildings and to make furniture and tools. Hardwoods, such as teak and mahogany, are prized for their beautiful grain and toughness. Fast-growing softwoods, such as pine, are used mainly for making wood pulp for paper.
In well-managed forests, trees are cut down singly or in strips so that the forest has time to grow back. However, many of the world’s forests are now being destroyed by large-scale logging, or deforestation. In particular, the tropical rainforests are disappearing rapidly—a disaster, since they are home to over half the plant and animal species on Earth.