International Day of Forests 2023
Every 21st of March, the International Day of Forests is celebrated, promoted by the United Nations. Like most of the world and international days, these kinds of dates are more a call or an awareness date than a celebrations per se, and this isn’t different for the day we commemorate yesterday. As you know, forests are key sources of valuable raw materials that we use in our everyday life, but they are also really important for our health and the planet’s. Sustainable manage of forests is a high priority in order to preserve them and keep enjoying all benefits they provide.
This 2023’s moto, actually, links forests and human health and well-being: “Forests and health”. Forests give us food, medicines and materials to manufacture things we use everyday like paper or wood. Also, they are really good allies of our physical and mental health; they generate jobs for at least 33 million people around the world; and they are a home as well as a food and nutrition source for many humans and other living beings. They purify water and capture carbon, two essential processes to combat climate change.
Taking care of them is, therefore, essential. “We need to give something to the forests, not only take from them”, says this year’s UN video to promote this important date. This year’s campaign encourages us to keep healthy forests for healthy people. The health of forests involves all SDG’s, but especially SDG 3 Good Health and Well-being and SDG 15 Life on Land.
Despite all the resources they provide and their immense contributions to combat climate change, forests are threatened by fires, pests, droughts and deforestation. The Food and Agriculture Oganization (FAO) has put together these facts about the dangers that threaten forests, their benefits and potential solutions:
- Ten million hectares – roughly the equivalent of 14 million football pitches – of forest were lost per year to deforestation between 2015 and 2020.
- Forest insects damage around 35 million hectares of forest annually.
- Fire affected approximately 98 million hectares of forest globally in 2015.
- Through forest-friendly policies and increased investment in forests and trees we can protect our planet and our health.
- Forests contain 662 billion tonnes of carbon, which is more than half the global carbon stock in soils and vegetation.
- Forests and trees also help buffer exposure to heat and extreme weather events caused by climate change.
That is why the International Day of Forests is worth celebrating every year, as their health, ours and the health of the rest of living beings are inevitably interlinked. Around the world, many communities celebrate this day by planting trees and raising awareness on the clue role of forests. At BeoNAT we help by planting tree and shrub species in marginal lands, and we will also be contributing to bioeconomy and sustainable management with by-products and final products from these species.