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 to also 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 of 1971 when the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization 16th session decided to make March 21st of each year World Forestry Day. Eventually, this was followed by the International Year of Forests in 2011. The following year, the United Nations enacted the International Forest Day on November 28, 2012.
The Importance of Forests
Forests not only are nice to look at but they are also essential to life on Earth. Forests provide more than 50% of the shelter that 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, either. More than 1.7 billion people, including people from over 2,000 individual indigenous cultures depend on forests for their livelihood. The wood for trees also provides the world with more energy than solar, hydroelectric or wind power. Which makes 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.