21st March is observed by the United Nations every year as the International Day of Forests. This year the theme is “forests and energy,” focusing on the ways in which trees and forests protect and sustain us, and the importance of wood as a renewable energy source.
Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
The International Day of Forests is held annually on 21 March to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security. 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.
– United Nations, International Day of Forests, Background
For more information about International Day of Forests, the importance of wood as a renewable energy source, and the United Nations’ plans to increase the world’s forests, visit: