International Day of Forests

Celebrated on March 21st every year, the International Day of Forests is an observance day that was initiated by the United Nations and is used not only to celebrate the beauty and grandeur of the world’s forests but also to raise awareness about the importance of trees to the world and human civilization.

It is also a day that can be used as a springboard to encourage organizations on a local, national, and international level to take action to prevent and reverse the global deforestation that is happening today.

History of the International Day of Forests

This observance day can trace its “roots” back to November 1971 when the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 16th session decided to designate March 21st of each year as World Forestry Day. Eventually, this was followed by the International Year of Forests in 2011. The following year, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Day of Forests on November 28, 2012.

The Importance of Forests

Forests are not only pleasing to look at but they are also essential to life on Earth. Forests provide more than 50% of the shelter for terrestrial species of insects and animals. They also balance out the levels of oxygen and CO2 in the environment; protect the watersheds which supply fresh water to rivers; provide food for a variety of insects, mammals, birds, and reptiles; and can cool the air in urban areas by as much as 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.

Trees are also important to human society as well. And not only because we rely upon the environment to survive. More than 1.7 billion people, including those from over 2,000 individual indigenous cultures, depend on forests for their livelihood. The wood from trees also provides the world with more energy than solar, hydroelectric, or wind power, making it a vital resource for people in developing countries.

Celebrating the International Day of Forests

This holiday can be celebrated by planting trees, educating people about the importance of trees and forests, or by simply enjoying a nice hike through a forest. It’s also a good day to remember how important forests are to all of us as well as to our planet.

When is it?
This year (2024)
March 21 Thursday
Next year (2025)
March 21 Friday
Last year (2023)
March 21 Tuesday
Nature & Environment, United Nations