Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
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.
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.
A historic win for the Ashaninka of Brazil as they receive compensation for deforestation on their land
On top of a 2.4 million dollar compensation, the indigenous Ashaninka people will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands in the 1980s.
The tapir was reintroduced into Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, the country’s most at-risk ecosystem. The species can play a key role in the forest’s recovery.
Forests are home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. This year’s International Day of Forests highlights the urgent changes needed to save them.
After a legal battle that lasted two years, Indonesia’s Supreme Court has revoked the permit to mine for coal in the forests of South Kalimantan in Borneo.
The list of human and animal victims of the Australia wildfires keeps growing – one species might already have gone extinct – as the smoke even reaches South America.
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.
Refusing the anthropocentric vision and respecting the laws of ecology is the only way to safeguard the future of our and all other species, Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson argues in this op-ed.
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.