Forests are part of your life in more ways than you realize
When we drink a glass of water, write in a notebook, take medicine for a fever or build a house, we do not always make the connection with forests. And yet, these and many other aspects of our lives are linked to forests in one way or another. Forests, their sustainable management and use of resources, including in fragile ecosystems, are key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations. Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, 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.
The International Day of Forests is held annually on 21 March to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security. Sustainable management of all types of forests are at the heart of unlocking challenges of conflict-affected, developing and developed countries, for the benefit of current and future generation
- Understanding our forests and keeping them healthy is crucial for our future. Forests will be more important than ever as the world population climbs to 8.5 billion by 2030.
- You’re never too young to start learning about trees. Helping children connect with nature creates future generations conscious of the benefits of trees and forests and the need to manage them sustainably.
- Both modern and traditional knowledge are key to keeping forests healthy. While foresters should know and understand nature well, they should also learn to use cutting-edge technology to ensure that our forests are monitored and managed sustainably.
- Investing in forestry education can change the world for the better. Countries can help ensure there are scientists, policy makers, foresters and local communities working to halt deforestation and restore degraded landscapes.
- Women and men should have equal access to forest education. Gender parity in forest education empowers rural women to sustainably manage forests.