Did you know that today is the International Day of Forests, as proclaimed by the United Nations?
We may think we grasp the importance of rain forests throughout the world and temperate deciduous forests in our country, but forests play a much larger role than many of us realize. Today marks the global celebration of forests. International Day of Forests sets to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests and trees outside of forests.
In the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “As we deliberate on the post-2015 development agenda, let us acknowledge the vital role of forests and pledge to work together to protect and sustainably manage these vital ecosystems.”
Consider these facts from the United Nations:
- Forests cover 1/3 of the Earth’s land mass.
- Approximately 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures –depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest dependent communities.
- Forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
- Forests play a key role in our attempt to adapt to and mitigating climate change. For example, they protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.
Yet, despite the vital role forests play in the ecological, economic and social realms of human and planetary existence, we continue to witness global deforestation at an alarming rate. According to the United Nations, deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Learn more about what the Arbor Day Foundation is doing to protect and replant our nation’s forests as well as forests throughout the world at www.arborday.org/replanting and www.arborday.org/programs/rainforest.