In 21 December 2012, United Nations General Assembly declared that 21 March of each year is to be observed as the International Day of Forests. The resolution encourages all Member States to organize activities relating to all types of forests. It includes include tree-planting and other community-level events, and national celebrations including art, photo and film as well as social media outreach.
Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass. Billions of people depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land and home for different species of animals, plants and insects. But it is too unfortunate, about 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation increases the mismanagement of global greenhouse gas emissions that affect to climate change. The International Day of Forests is motivated to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people. Sustainable management of all types of forests are at the heart of unlocking challenges of conflict-affected, developing and developed countries, for the benefit of current and future generations.
The following key message is announced for the 2018 by the United Nations.
- Forests and trees help to mitigate the impacts of climate change in and around urban areas.
- Trees also improve the local climate, helping to save energy by 20-50 percent.
- Strategic placement of trees in urban areas. That can cool the air up to 8 degrees Celsius and reducing air conditioning needs.
- Urban trees are excellent air filters, removing harmful pollutants in the air and fine particulates.
- Trees reduce noise pollution nearby roads and industrial areas.
- Local populations use the fruits, nuts, leaves and insects found in urban trees to produce food and medicines for use in the home, or as a source of income.
- Wood fuel sourced from urban trees and planted forests on outer of cities provides renewable energy for cooking and heating, which reduces pressures on natural forests and our reliance on fossil fuels.
- Forests in and around urban areas help to filter and regulate water, contributing to high-quality freshwater supplies for hundreds of millions of people. Forests also protect watersheds and prevent flooding as they store water in their branches and soil.
- Well-managed forests and trees in and around cities provide habitats, food and protection for many plants and animals, helping to maintain and increase biodiversity.
- Forests in cities and surrounding areas generate tourism, create tens of thousands of jobs and encourage city beautification schemes, building dynamic, energetic and prosperous green economies.
- Urban green spaces, including forests, encourage active and healthy lifestyles, improve mental health, prevent disease, and provide a place for people to socialize.
Effects of Deforestation
Deforestation can have a negative impact on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Eighty percent of Earth’s animals and plants live in forests, and deforestation destroys their homes. Deforestation also drives climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover, they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water vapor to the atmosphere. Without trees to fill these roles, many former forest lands can quickly become barren deserts. Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day, and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals. Trees also play a critical role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. Fewer forests mean larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere—and increased speed and severity of global warming. The most feasible solution to deforestation is to carefully manage forest resources by eliminating clear-cutting to make sure forest environments remain intact. The cutting that does occur should be balanced by planting young trees to replace older trees felled. The number of new tree plantations is growing each year, but their total still equals a tiny fraction of the Earth’s forested land.