Forests should be protected not only as the home of precious biodiversity but also because forests was and still is habitat for millions of people all over the world. The relationship of man with forest is more than commercial; not only for foods and raw materials for modern commodities or genetic pool for breeding high yielding plants and animals.
Habitat of ancestors: Ancestors as well as related biological species of today's mankind lived and living on the branches of trees, mainly trees of tropical regions with branches full of fruits that could provide food and shelter from ferocious animals on the ground. Fruits and leaves are sources of carbohydrates and vitamins. Herbs and saps of vascular plants are used as medicine.
Forest dwelling indigenous people
As many as 150 million indigenous people live in forests worldwide and rely on the forest for their livelihood e.g. almost everything from food and shelter to tools and medicines. Forests as well as plays a crucial role in people's spiritual and cultural life
The Penan -- Borneo's last nomads have flourished there as nomadic hunter-gatherers for millennia. They smell, hear and see the bounty of the forest--the source of clean water, fruits, wild game and medicines. The Penan, about 10,000, is the most traditional and nomadic of Borneo's tribes. Recent pressure has moved most of them to settle in government-mandated housing and take up agriculture. A mere 400 of them have managed to retain their completely nomadic style of life, while watching their beloved ecological niche transformed into agricultural land after being devastated by logging. The forest is converted into oil palm or paper pulp plantations bringing in migrant labourers from Indonesia, shutting out the local people, who have adapted a modern lifestyle.
Africa -Forest of Congo: The African rainforest is home to some of the most celebrated tribal people, for instance, the so-called "Pygmies" of the Ituri forest in northern Zaire. The tallest of these people, known as the Mbuti, rarely exceed five feet (1.5 m). Besides the Mbuti, there are three other major rainforest peoples of Africa: the Aka (Central African Republic and northern Congo), the Baka (southern Cameroon), and the Twa (central Zaire River basin). Together these groups account for some 130,000 to 170,000 forest dwellers distributed over a large area. The result is low population density; the Mbuti average less than one person for every one-and-a-half square miles.
Mbuti are also called Bambuti. When they establish a settlement, they clear any undergrowth, small trees, and saplings, leaving the canopy-forming trees intact. Under the cover of canopy, the pygmies are protected from the powerful tropical sun and can better harvest such things as honey and game. By leaving the canopy intact, when the group leaves, the area can quickly return to semi-primary forest. Their huts superficially resemble igloos, with a domed latticework formed with saplings and walls of shingled tree leaves.
The Bambuti people of the Congo refer to the forest as mother or father, and hold it sacred, a deity to ask for help and to thank. Bambuti live in the forest but trade with villages, providing bush meat and honey, and acquiring other produce. Egyptian records refer to people in the forests of the Congo 4,500 years ago. And scientists now suggest that at least 10 per cent of what is often regarded as virgin Amazonian rainforest was in fact carefully planted. The people there focused on establishing a diverse assortment of trees: fruits, nuts and palms.
Brazil: The Amazon forest is home to 20 million people including 400 different indigenous groups and the future of the Amazon depends on the future of those that call the forest home. The Brazilian Amazon is home to between 280,000 and 350,000 indigenous people, of which 180,000 live traditionally, heavily dependent on the ancient forest for their sustenance and spiritual and cultural life.
The Yanomami, numbering about 26,000 today are an ancient indigenous people living in the Amazon regions of Brazil and Venezuela in the fertile lands of the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. They are "semi-nomadic, agricultural labourers, or hunters-gatherers."The Yanomami are also known for their close relationship with nature, relying on their territory for subsistence purposes and attributing cultural significance and myths to their surroundings.
The Waimiri Atroari of the Brazilian Amazon use 32 plant species in the construction of hunting equipment alone. Each plant has a specific role according to its physical and chemical properties. The Waimiri Atroari have long held a special place in the Brazilian imagery as a warrior people who confronted and killed any outsiders who tried to enter their territory. The invasion of their lands intensified when a mining company began excavations and when a hydroelectric dam was constructed, which flooded part of their territory. But the Waimiri Atroari faced up to these challenges and negotiated with national Brazilians, so that, today, they enjoy secure reservation boundaries, cultural vigour, and population growth.
And Now... these habitats of the African Pygmies are threatened by rampant logging, forcing the pygmies to begin mobilizing for their survival. We should encourage interforest communications between these groups.