Since 2012, the United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed March 21 as International Day of Forests. The Day raises awareness and celebrates all types of forests. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) organize the Day, collaborating with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, and other related organizations in the field.
On every International Day of Forests, countries worldwide are encouraged to undertake local, national, and international efforts to organize activities concerning forests and trees, such as tree-planting campaigns. The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) determines the theme for each International Day of Forests.
Forests and Biodiversity
Forests, their sustainable management, and the use of resources, including fragile ecosystems, are essential to combat climate change and contribute to future generations’ well-being and prosperity. Moreover, forests also play a vital role in poverty alleviation and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Forest covers one-third of the Earth’s landmass, performing vital functions around the world. About 1.6 billion people, including over 2,000 indigenous cultures, depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food, and shelter. The organisms living in forests depend on each other. Plants make their food by the photosynthesis process, and animals depend on plants and other animals for their food. Thus, a forest is defined as an area forming an ecosystem.
Forests are home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects and are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land. Despite all these priceless ecological, social, economic, and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate. This essentially originates the need to spread awareness about forests and start celebrating them worldwide.
Why is it Important to Celebrate International Day of Forests?
Forests work as the lungs of the Earth, through which our Earth breathes. Plants and trees take in carbon dioxide and give us oxygen, cleaning the air. On the other hand, forests also act as important carbon sinks, absorbing 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
The whole world needs wood for construction, paper, furniture, etc. Currently, wood accounts for nearly 45% of the world’s renewable energy supply. Strengthening and modernizing this industry can help find innovative and sustainable ways to produce bioenergy. Forests trap carbon to prevent global warming. They also stabilize the climate, protect watershed areas, control atmospheric temperatures, regulate the water cycle, and enrich the soil. And that’s not all that forests do for our environment!
How to Celebrate International Day of Forests?
Forests and biodiversity are the solutions to all life forms. The richer the diversity of life, the bigger the opportunity for medical discoveries, economic development, and adaptive responses to new challenges. Below are some practices to celebrate International Day of Forests 2021.
1. Share the logo, banner, and posters of International Day of Forests 2021, available in 13 languages.
2. Watch and share the video of International Day of Forests 2021 to spread awareness.
3. Organize or join the events celebrating forests such as tree plantings, symposiums, art exhibitions, or photo competitions.
4. Organize student events on spreading awareness about forests.
5. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United States (FAO) keeps a record of such events happening worldwide. People organizing such events can send photos at IDF@fao.org, and that will further be added to their gallery.
6. Using the #IntlForestDay hashtag, you can join the conversation about forests on social media. One can also pass on some of the key messages from this year’s celebration and share photos of forests with friends and family.
Conservation Projects that are Preserving the World’s Forests
The GlobalTreeSearch database reports the existence of 60,082 tree species. Out of which, more than 1400 tree species are evaluated as critically endangered and in urgent need of conservation action. These statistics show how it is essential to protect forests around the world. Following are the conservation projects that are preserving the world’s forests.
1. Kasigau Wildlife Corridor Project – Kenya
Situated between Kenya’s Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, the Kasigau Wildlife Corridor Project preserves 500,000 acres of dryland forest. Moreover, it also supports local communities of more than 100,000 in job creation and sustainable development activities.
Supporting Kasigau Corridor Projects drives you to offset your CO2 emissions and simultaneously protect a crucial wildlife migration corridor for endangered populations of Grevy’s zebra, cheetah, African elephant, lion, and African wild dog. It also drives you to conserve 50 species of large mammals and more than 300 species of birds. The project provides an option for local communities to provide for their families.
2. Amazon Forest Protection Project – Brazil
The project disregards unplanned deforestation of the High Conservation Value rainforest in the Portel municipality in the region of Pará, Brazil. It engages local villagers in forest protection and biodiversity monitoring activities as paid staff. Also, it provides local communities with alternative and sustainable livelihood options.
About 80 families live within the boundaries of the project, practicing subsistence agriculture. For villages actively participating in forest protection, this project is working to provide legal land-use permits that will give official land titles for them. With funds from Stand For Trees Certificates purchases, the project can continue to improve food security through agroforestry techniques and use less fuelwood by using energy-efficient cookstove technologies, with additional greenhouse reduction benefits.
3. Tambopata Biodiversity Reserve Project – Peru
Tambopata National Reserve and Bahuaja Sonene National Park in the Peruvian Amazon is recognized internationally as an area of incredible biodiversity and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful and endangered wildlife. Giant River Otters, Giant Armadillos, and jaguar can also be found living alongside Blue Macaws and other species in need of immediate protection. Communities and families living around the Reserve rely upon clean water and other resources supplied by the forests.
4. Choco-Darien Forest Conservation Project – Colombia
Situated in northwestern Colombia, the project protects 13,465 hectares of the rainforest by helping local Afro-Colombian communities shield their ancestral lands and seek sustainable livelihoods. Supporting the Chocó-Darién Forest Conservation Project leads you to offset CO2 emissions and simultaneously help shield one of the most biologically diverse rainforests on the planet. Your Stand for Trees purchase is crucial in empowering these local communities to seek more sustainable economic options and to admire this forest for the critical services it provides to us all.
5. Rimba Raya Orangutan Reserve Project – Indonesia
Rimba Raya Orangutan Reserve lies in the southern coast of Borneo. One of the most profoundly endangered ecosystems globally, the High Conservation Value (HCV), lowland peat swamp forest, is home to local communities. It also preserves over 1,000 at-risk plant and animal species, including the clouded leopard, Borneo orangutan, and Asian sun bear. Everyday, paper and palm oil industries put Indonesian forests in jeopardy. If these forests are cut down, we run the risk of emitting one of the world’s largest concentrations of natural carbon.
Purchasing Stand for Trees Certificates helps shield these forests and all those who depend on them, including local wildlife and local communities — keeping carbon collected in their trees and out of our atmosphere. Besides, your purchase helps increase access to clean water, efficient cookstoves, and health care for those who live in the project area.
The Theme for International Day of Forests 2021
Collaborative Partnership on Forests chooses the theme for each International Day of Forests. The International Day of Forests 2021 will address the theme of “Forests and Biodiversity.” The Day will seek to raise awareness on how sustainably maintained forests provide a wide array of contributions. Forest restoration is supposed to be a path to recovery and well-being.
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