The International Day of Forests is held on 21 March every year. The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/67/200 on 21 December 2012, declaring that 21 March of each year is to be observed as the International Day of Forests. The secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, are responsible to facilitate the implementation of the International Day of Forests, in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and international, regional and sub-regional organizations.
It is an important day on the environmental calendar due to the fact that it raises awareness about the importance of forests. It provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of woodlands and trees. It’s also about celebrating the ways in which they sustain and protect us. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national, and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.
Different events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations. Forests provide priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits as well as play a critical role in environmental sustainability, food security, and poverty eradication.
The theme of International Day of Forests is decided by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. This year’s theme is Forests and Energy. This year, the focus is placed on the importance of wood energy in improving people's lives, powering sustainable development, and mitigating climate change.
Undeniably, wood is a major renewable energy source. It provides the world with more energy than solar, hydroelectric or wind power, accounting for approximately 45 percent of current global renewable energy supply (27 percent of total primary energy supply in Africa, 13 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 5 percent in Asia and Oceania).
Quick facts about forests
|Source: Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement|
· The state of our forests is important to us all here on earth for many reasons – 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity lives in forests, and each year many species go extinct as a result of them being destroyed.
· Forests cover 30% of land, but 3 million hectares are lost per year.
· Trees are Nature’s air conditioners – 1 young healthy tree can cool just like 10 air conditioners running 20 hrs a day.
· More than 2 billion people, including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures, depend on forests for their livelihoods, and use it to cook food, boil water, and stay warm
· Almost 900 million people, generally in developing countries, are engaged in the wood-energy sector on a part- or full-time basis.
· Forests equal energy – 90% of fuelwood and charcoal use takes place in developing countries
· Sustainably managed forests can supply renewable, CO2 neutral energy
· Forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass.
· They perform vital functions around the world.
· Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
· Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually.
· Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
· Strategically placed trees in urban areas can cool the air by between 2 to 8 degrees C.
People can participate in events such as: include tree-planting and other community-level events, and national celebrations including art, photo and film and, importantly, social media outreach.