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International Day of Forests

Forests are a critical part of maintaining a healthy planet. Not only do they provide us with many of the things we use on a daily basis, but they also play a key role in regulating our climate. Because forests do so much for our planet, The United Nations General Assembly thought there should be one day set aside each year to recognize them. On November 28, 2012, The International Day of Forests was established. This internationally recognized day occurs every March 21, and individuals, communities, governments, and other organizations are encouraged to celebrate the day by holding events that focus on forests and trees. Below, we will explore the importance of the International Day of Forests along with some reasons why forests are so vital to the wellbeing of our planet.

terrapass blog internationaldayofforests infographic

When is the International Day of Forests?

International Day of Forests is on March 21. The first International Day of Forests was celebrated in 2007 in conjunction with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia. [1] Since this inaugural event, the day has become officially recognized around the world as celebrations continue to grow and raise awareness. International Day of Forests 2020 will have the theme “Forests and Biodiversity.” People everywhere are encouraged to hold events to mark the occasion that could include activities like tree planting, student events, art exhibits, and more! [2]

Why is the International Day of Forests Important?

International Day of Forests can help protect and preserve forests for generations to come. Providing educational opportunities for children about the importance of forests helps prepare the next generation for sustainable forest management. Likewise, encouraging forestry education can help discourage deforestation and other harmful practices that are threatening forests around the world. By showing your support on this day, you can help send a clear message to policymakers, organizations, and governments that you support forest preservation. [3]

5 Things You Need to Know About Forests

Forests are vital to the health of the planet, and they provide humanity with countless benefits. Below we will explore some important facts about forests and why they are so essential.

1. Forests are Part of Our Economy.

People’s livelihoods in many places are directly tied to a forest. Globally, forests are estimated to contribute to 1% of the Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP).[4] Forests provide far more than just timber. Valuable non-timber goods that come from forests include medicinal plants, resins, fruits, fibers, and palms, just to name a few.

2. Forests Help Store & Reduce Carbon.

Forests play a vital role in our fight against climate change. Second, only to the world’s oceans, forests are one of the largest storehouses of carbon, and the most significant carbon reducer that we as humans can influence. [5] Some estimate that by protecting and increasing forests around the world, around 7 billion metric tons of CO2 could be removed from the atmosphere annually. [6]

3. Forests Help Protect Your Water.

Trees act as a sponge for rainwater, naturally filtering the water and releasing it slowly back to our waterways. This process helps keep your drinking water safe from pollutants and helps regulate streams and rivers. [7]

4. Forests Help Us Innovate & Create.

Many of the things that provide us with food, water, shelter, clothes, and entertainment would not be possible without forests and their abundant resources. Forests have helped contribute countless innovations that continue to enrich our lives. Just of few of the things that we have now thanks to forests, include: [8]

  • Latex Gloves
  • Sponges
  • Wine Corks
  • Chewing Gum
  • Car Wax
  • Hair Dye
  • Chocolate
  • & More!

5. Forests are Key to Good Physical & Mental Health.

People have always turned to forests as a place to play and relax. They offer countless recreational activities that include hiking, boating, fishing, and more. According to some studies, walking through the forest may even help lower stress and anxiety. [9]

How can You Contribute to the International Day of Forests

If you are looking for ways to celebrate International Day of Forests, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has several ideas to help you get started. They recommend the following as a way to celebrate by yourself or with a group: [10]

  • Plant a tree
  • Attend a symposium
  • View an art exhibit
  • Organize or participate in a photo competition
  • Host a student debate
  • Share on social media using the #IntlForestDay hashtag
  • Help educate friends and family

Want more ideas on how to support sustainability? Check out our Footprint Blog. This free online resource offers expert tips and advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably. You can also explore how terrapass customers are helping promote carbon reduction efforts by funding improved forest management at the Arcata Community Forest.

SOURCES:

  1. Forest Day Bulletin – Summary Report of the “Forest Day” Event – SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8 2007, enb.iisd.org/climate/cop13/fd/html/ymbvol148num1e.html.
  2. “FAO.org.” International Day of Forests | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, www.fao.org/international-day-of-forests/en/.
  3. “FAO.org.” Events, https://www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/.
  4. “Yale University.” Forest Use & Logging | Global Forest Atlas, globalforestatlas.yale.edu/forest-use-logging.
  5. UNFCCC, unfccc.int/news/forest-day-forests-essential-for-meeting-people-s-needs-and-tackling-climate-change.
  6. Minnemeyer, Susan, et al. “Conserving Forests Could Cut Carbon Emissions As Much As Getting Rid of Every Car on Earth.” World Resources Institute, September 26 2018, www.wri.org/blog/2017/11/conserving-forests-could-cut-carbon-emissions-much-getting-rid-every-car-earth.
  7. “The Important Relationship between Forests and Water.” American Forests, October 3 2019, www.americanforests.org/blog/the-important-relationship-between-forests-and-water/.
  8. “7 Products You Didn’t Know Come from Trees.” WWF, World Wildlife Fund, www.worldwildlife.org/stories/7-products-you-didn-t-know-come-from-trees.
  9. “New Study Reinforces the Importance of Walking through Forests for Mental and General Health.” SharpBrains, 10 June 2019, sharpbrains.com/blog/2019/06/10/new-study-reinforces-the-importance-of-walking-through-forests-for-mental-and-general-health/.
  10. “FAO.org.” International Day of Forests | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, www.fao.org/international-day-of-forests/en/.


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