Every year, March 21 marks the International Day of Forests. This year’s theme is Forests and Health, and this special day is a great opportunity to recognize how forests positively contribute to our lives in so many ways. From providing food, shelter, oxygen production, carbon storage, to water filtration, soil stabilization and biodiversity protection —it’s clear that forests matter! Let’s take a look at why this day is so important.
The Importance of Forests
Forests are vital for people’s livelihoods around the world. Forests help regulate water cycles, prevent soil erosion, clean air, and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This meaning that they play an important role in mitigating climate change.
In light of this importance, the International Day of Forests was established by the United Nations in 2013 with the goal of raising awareness about sustainable forest management and conservation efforts around the world. This day offers us an opportunity to celebrate successes such as reforestation and protecting threatened species. Nonetheless, it also gives us the chance to recognise challenges such as deforestation and cultivate change.
How Forests Support Human Health
Forests play an essential role in our health, providing many important benefits. Trees process air pollution, removing harmful particles and toxins from the air we breathe. This helps to decrease the number of illnesses caused by air pollution-related diseases such as asthma and cancer.
Forests also provide us with sources of clean water, which are crucial to our well-being. They act as natural water filtration systems which keep waterways clean and suitable for drinking purposes.
In addition, forests play a big part in reducing the shift in climate that has been observed due to global warming by storing large amounts of carbon dioxide and helping to regulate global temperatures. All in all, forests are fundamental to our long-term health and need to be protected for us and future generations.
What Can You Do?
International Day of Forests provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our own actions related to forests and what we can do every day to make sure they keep providing us with clean air, fresh water, food security, jobs, recreation opportunities—and so much more! Here are some simple things you can do:
- Get involved in local tree planting opportunities. We have volunteered through Protect Earth before, they hold a whole range of tree planting opportunities all across the UK. Read all about our tree planting day in Cheltenham here!
- Reduce your consumption of wood products whenever possible by opting for FSC certified products
- Support businesses that prioritise sustainable forestry practices
- Sign petitions that support protecting our endangered forests
On International Day of Forests 2023 we honour all that forests provide for us throughout history—and all that they will continue doing for future generations if we take action now! We challenge you to take part in this celebration by making small changes today that have a big impact in years to come.