Breathe, it’s the International Day of Forests

21 March is dedicated to trees, forests, and their indissoluble bond with life on Earth. They must be protected, cultivated and celebrated.

Forests cover one third of the Planet and play a crucial role for human beings. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on them for their livelihoods. These inestimable ecosystems are also home to an incredible variety of biodiversity, with 80 per cent of animal and plant species living in them. Forests, thanks to photosynthesis, are our best allies in reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.

amazon forest
The Brazilian Amazon forest

The International Day of Forests

21 March is the International Day of Forests, established in 2012 by the United Nations in order to raise awareness on the importance of trees making up the lungs of Planet Earth.

“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.  On this International Day of Forests, let us commit to reducing deforestation, sustaining healthy forests and creating a climate-resilient future for all,” said former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Despite the ecological, economic and social advantages forests bring, we’re destroying them. Deforestation continues at an accelerating rate, with 13 million of hectares of forests destroyed every year globally. According to a study published in the journal Science, the Planet has been losing a forest area the size of 50 football fields every day for 13 years. Deforestation produces 12 to 20 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, significantly contributing to global warming.

The 2019 edition

This year’s theme is Forests and education. To celebrate the day, many activities are organised including tree planting, demonstrations, conferences, photo exhibitions, with one central theme: forest conservation. On social networks people are invited to use the hashtag #IntlForestDay.

There are many reasons why we have to save forests. But giving them a value might underestimate them. Trees are the Planet’s most ancient living beings, they provided us with shelter in ancient times, and today they give us oxygen, food and resources. We must protect them.

Translated by

Related articles
The high price of peace in Colombia: deforestation in the Amazon

Areas where the FARC guerrilla used to hold power in Colombia have faced record deforestation. Farmers cut down trees, burn land and plant grass for cows. Because, “what else can we do for a living here in the Colombian Amazon”? An intimate report from the heart of the felled forest in Caquetá.

11 December is International Mountain Day

The 2019 edition of International Mountain Day is “Mountains matter for youth”, highlighting the need to bring young people back to highland areas to take care of their cultural and natural resources.