Environmental Dates: International Day of the Forests

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“To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests. That will take political commitment at the highest levels, smart policies, effective law enforcement, innovative partnerships and funding.”

– Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.

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 livelihood.

Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.

They play a key role in our battle in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.

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.

Forests and trees sustain and protect us in invaluable ways. They provide the clean air that we breathe and the water that we drink. They host and safeguard the planet’s biodiversity and act as our natural defence against climate change. Life on earth is made possible and sustainable thanks to forests and trees.

Sources:
* Forest Day on un.org
* International Day of Forests on fao.org

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