When we drink a glass of water, write in a notebook, take medicine for a fever or build a house, we do not always make the connection with forests. And yet, these and many other aspects of our lives are linked to forests in one way or another.
Forest sustainable management and their use of resources are key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations. Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate.
The theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 is "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being." The restoration and sustainable management of forests help address the climate-change and biodiversity crises. It also produces goods and services for sustainable development, fostering an economic activity that creates jobs and improves lives. Forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, with more than 60,000 tree species. Around 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines and income.The world is losing 10 million hectares of forest each year - about the size of Iceland - which accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Land degradation affects almost 2 billion hectares – an area larger than South America.
Spending time around trees helps boost our immune system, lowers blood pressure and promotes relaxation.
Many of the medicines we rely on today come from forests. 25 per cent of medicinal drugs used in developed countries are plant-based, while in developing countries, it can be as much as 80 per cent. Forests also provide essential health products such as hygiene and sanitary items like toilet paper, paper towels, tissues and ethanol for sanitizers. Even the masks and protective clothing that frontline medical workers depend on are created from forest products like wood pulp and soluble cellulose fiber.
Every year, our planet loses 10 million hectares of forests, roughly the same area as the entire Republic of Korea. But we can turn the tide on this negative trend through sustainable forest management and ecosystem restoration. It is estimated that some 2 billion hectares of degraded land worldwide have the potential to be revived. That is roughly twice the area of Europe. Revitalizing the health of our forests is in our best interest, as it helps to create new jobs, mitigate climate change, and to safeguard biodiversity.
At present, 60% of all infectious diseases and 75% of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. These diseases originate from the transfer of pathogens from animals to humans, and they usually occur when natural landscapes, such are forests, are being cleared. By planting trees and restoring forests, we can support an integrated health approach for people, species and the planet.
This year’s theme fits into the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), a call for the protection and revival of ecosystems around the world. (source: un.org)
Everyone can contribute in reforestation, planting trees at home in your garden or terrace, organising planting groups in your area or joining organisations that plant trees around the world.
Plant a tree today with us! You can plant it directly from our website, or we plant it for you: every purchase on our website gives to environmental and ocean cleaning and reforestation projects!
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