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International Day of Forests

International Day of Forests

19th March 2021
By: Justine - F&F

Sunday, 21st of March is the International Day of Forests — a day to celebrate the environmental, economic and cultural significance of forested areas worldwide!

Forests are integral to human survival. They provide food, shelter, clean air, clean water, tools, medicines and space for recreation for over 2 billion people, and provide habitats for 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity! Forested areas are also places of deep spiritual significance, especially for the 60 million Indigenous people who live within them. 

Forested areas are too precious to lose, and yet, the world is losing 10 million hectares of forest each year — which is approximately the size of Iceland. Human activities like logging, unsustainable agriculture, industrial expansion and poor fire management have degraded almost 2 billion hectares of the world’s forests. 

We depend on forests for survival, so why aren't we doing more to help them? The International Day of Forests aims to raise awareness of these issues so that together, we can build a better future — one that seeks to preserve, protect and grow our precious forests!

Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Wellbeing

The theme for 2021 "Forest restoration: A path to recovery and wellbeing" aims to address two key issues: climate change and biodiversity loss. Both, of which, can be alleviated with the restoration and sustainable management of forests.

Did you know that forests absorb harmful greenhouse gas emissions? That’s why they’re called “carbon sinks” — they absorb approximately 7.6 billion metric tonnes of CO2 per year, which 1.5 times more carbon than the United States emits annually! 

Forests Naturally Absorb Carbon

But, there’s a catch. Forests act as a two-way street; they absorb CO2 when growing, and release CO2 when they are cleared or degraded. According to WWF, a quarter of a trillion tonnes of carbon is stored in tropical forests alone.  

When forests are cleared or degraded, local wildlife often struggles to find another suitable habitat — leading to the vulnerability and extension of animal species and long-term biodiversity loss.

To limit climate change to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels and protect our wildlife, we must keep all trees firmly rooted in the ground. 

What can I do on the International Day of Forests?

First, we encourage you to watch this wonderful video by the United Nations which demonstrates the importance of the world’s forests! Share with family, friends and colleagues to start the conversation. 

The 21st of March is a perfect day to get involved in a tree-planting event through your local council, school, university, business or community group. 

You can even support Greenfleet who we partner with to offset our carbon emissions

If you have kids aged 10-13 or are a primary school teacher, the United Nations have put together this wonderful learning guide which is all about forests!  

 

We also encourage you to attend the High-level Opening Ceremony of the International Day of Forests. The virtual event will have a range of experts talking about how to ‘regreen’ our continents, how to empower people to use forests sustainably, how to restore degraded forests and so much more!  

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you join in the conversation on social media with the #IntlForestDay hashtag — show us your tree-planting efforts, talk about why we need to protect forests or share a photo of your favourite forest! 

Make sure you check out more recent Eco News on The Eco Hub: 

Global Recycling Day 

South Australia Bans Single-Use Plastics 

World Wildlife Day 

From Cattle Farming to Organic, Vegan Produce 

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