On March 3 2021, World Wildlife Day celebrates forest-based livelihoods and seeks to promote forest and forest wildlife management models and practices that accommodate both human well-being and the long-term conservation of forests, forest-dwelling species of wild fauna and flora and the ecosystems they sustain, and promote the value of traditional practices and knowledge that contribute to establishing a more sustainable relationship with these crucial natural systems.
- As many as 350 million people live within or adjacent to forested areas around the world. They rely on the ecosystem services provided by forests and forest species to meet their essential needs.
- For centuries, forests have acted as a safety net for hundreds of millions of people, providing sustenance, fuel and medicines, and feeding animals communities depend on when crops fail.
- The economic effects of COVID-19 threaten both forest livelihoods and the incentives for the conservation of these ecosystems. Plans for recovery must include efforts to preserve forests, forest species and livelihoods.
- Globally, up to 1.6 billion people, including many of the poorest communities on the planet, rely on forests and forest species for subsistence, livelihoods and income generation.
- About 2.4 billion people, a third of the world’s population, use wood fuel for basic energy needs such as cooking, sterilizing water or heating homes.
- Nearly a third of the world’s land surface is currently managed by indigenous peoples. This includes some of the most ecologically intact forest ecosystems on the planet.
- Over 300 million members of Indigenous peoples and local communities from around the world live in forests and primarily depend on them for their livelihoods.
- Nearly all forests on the planet are inhabited, with indigenous and other groups having developed unique ways of life and knowledge of how to sustainably use and conserve forest species and ecosystems.
- Forests are home to 80% of all terrestrial wildlife. The ecosystems they sustain are essential to global biodiversity, human livelihoods and the broader needs of societies and economies globally.
- Roughly 66% of the world’s forest area lies within the territories of just 10 countries: Russia, Brazil, Canada, USA, China, Australia, DRC, Indonesia, Peru and India.
- Forests absorb nearly one-third of all CO2 released from burning fossil fuels every year. Forest restoration could remove another 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere
- Forest loss, degradation and fragmentation accelerate climate breakdown and of biodiversity loss. This threatens the global food and water security and it imperils the safety and the livelihoods of millions of people
- About half of the world’s tropical forests are considered intact, but less than 7% of these forests are under some form of legal protection.
- We currently face a quadruple planetary emergency: a climate crisis, a biodiversity-loss crisis, an inequality crisis, and a global health crisis. Forests and forest communities are at the center of each of these challenges.
Learn more: https://www.wildlifeday.org/
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