9 Reasons to Celebrate International Day of Forests

Meaghan Weeden | March 14, 2022 | 5 min read

How to Celebrate International Day of Forests 2022? Plant a Tree!

CCelebrated on March 21st every year, the International Day of Forests was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012. Since then, millions of people around the globe have used it as an opportunity to celebrate all types of forests, recognize the importance of trees and forests do for us and take action to protect them. The International Day of Forests Theme 2022 is “Forests and sustainable production and consumption.” 

From cleaning the air we breathe to filtering the water we drink, shading and sheltering us from harmful UV rays, reducing the UHI (Urban Heat Island) effect, creating sustainable income, providing nutritious food, reducing stress, improving our health and sequestering carbon in their roots, trunks, and leaves, trees provide many benefits!

We’re especially excited about this year’s International Day of Forests theme of sustainable production and consumption. Shifting away from unsustainable practices that drain our natural resources and damage vital ecosystems is essential to creating a future where people and nature can thrive. From the food we eat to the water we drink and the homes we live in, everything we do is directly or indirectly connected to forests. In fact, the top 3 contributors to global deforestation are industrial agriculture, timber logging and mining.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably aware of how important it is to restore forests and protect the environment for future generations, but here are 9 more reasons to shift away from unsustainable consumption and production.

Here are 9 International Day of Forests Facts

woman tree planter oregon

1. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

When you think about jobs that depend on forests, it probably seems pretty obvious: logging, carpentry and woodworking. But healthy forests provide a plethora of less obvious but no less profound long-term economic value to a range of industries. From foresters to rangers, conservationists, sustainable agroforestry farmers, tour guides, nature photographers, herbalists, foragers, tree planters and more, over 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods. And much like trees support entire ecosystems, the benefits of jobs in the forest sector ripple across the global economy.

mangrove coastline

2. Protecting against Extreme Weather 

As climate change progresses and intensifies across the globe, once rare extreme weather events like floods, landslides, cyclones, droughts and forest fires become commonplace. With roots that dig deep into the soil, hold everything together and absorb stormwater before it can do serious damage, fire resistant bark that slows the spread of wildfires, leaves that gradually release water vapor and significantly reduce temperatures, powerful root systems that buffer coastal communities against cyclones, canopies that shelter us from harmful UV rays and so much more, healthy forests are our best defense against natural disasters. 

chaga mushroom birch

3. What the Doctor Ordered

Trees are nature’s great healers, but their powers don’t stop at improving the environment and biodiversity. From prolific Cat’s Claw vines found in the Amazon rainforest to magnificent Chaga mushrooms growing off of birch trees in the Russian tiaga, forests have provided medicine to indigenous and traditional cultures for centuries. And western medicine benefits, too: although only 1% of rainforest plants have been researched, around 25% of pharmaceutical medicines used today are derived from them. So protecting forests is as important to our health as it is to planetary health.

cacao pods peru

4. All the food you can eat

From cacao pods to apples, avocados, guava, bananas, coconuts, mushrooms, chestnuts, maple sap and more, forests provide delicious, nutritious food grown right in nature. These foods have traditionally been used to supplement staple diets, providing vitamins, minerals and proteins that rural communities may not be able to get elsewhere. And throughout history, they’ve played an important role in community resilience by helping humans survive food shortages during floods, droughts, famines, conflicts and other emergencies. 

map tree frog forest log peru

5. Home Sweet Home

80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, including many endangered and endemic species, lives in forests, and 50% live in tropical rainforests, where it’s common to find hundreds of species in a single hectare. But they’re home to more than just plants and animals: over 300 million people live directly in the world’s forests. And from rural areas to suburbs and cities, billions more depend on them for the ecosystem services they provide, like pure drinking water, clean air, lower temperatures and so much more. 

city tree

6. Natural Air Conditioning

If you live in a city, this one’s for you: urban trees reduce the dangerous urban heat island effect, lowering temperatures by as much as 8°C, which is especially impactful in low-income areas where high temperatures can be especially harmful. And speaking of energy, they reduce the need for carbon emissions from heating and cooling by helping to regulate temperatures year round. In fact, well-placed trees can reduce air conditioning costs by 30% and heating costs by up to 50%.

meditation forest bathing

7. Improving Mental Health

Studies show that when we spend even a short time in nature, we can experience increased vigor and decreased depression, anxiety, fatigue, and mental fog. And those that are lucky enough to live near evergreen forests benefit from the high concentrations of phytoncides (airborne essential oils) that they release. These “showers” are part of the tree’s own medicine and provide powerful stress relief and a natural immunity boost that can last for weeks. Simply put: forests help us stay happy, relaxed, and well

epic tree forest

8. Combating Climate Change

Because trees use carbon dioxide to build their trunks, branches, roots, and leaves, they are natural carbon absorbers and help to clean the air. In fact, one mature tree can absorb up to 48lbs per year! According to the U.S. Department of Energy's 2017 analysis via their now defunct Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, the average American emits around 16.2 metric tons of CO2 from fossil fuels each year. To offset that, they should plant around 8-10 trees per year. And of course, conserving existing forests is important for this, too.

goofy squirrel forest

9. They Just Make Life Better

Where forests grow undisturbed, life flourishes and the air is filled with the sounds of life. Where they’ve disappeared, everything from the tiniest bee to the fiercest wolf is affected. We evolved with trees and have benefited from their food, medicine, shade, and shelter from the time our ancestors set foot on land. And from towering evergreens to birches swaying in the breeze, from intricate roots gripping deep into the soil to gnarled branches carving out a place in the sky, trees make our world a more beautiful, resilient, and safer place.

Plant a tree today to celebrate International Day of Forests! It's a great way to show your gratitude for all that they do for us, and to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the same forest benefits that we do.

Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted
Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted
Rwanda
Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted
Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted
Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted
Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted
Rwanda
Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted
Plant Trees in Rwanda - One Tree Planted

Rwanda

Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Rwanda's forests support a wealth of biodiversity and natural resources but has been subject to deforestation for unsustainable large-scale agricultural practices. Smallholder farmers feel the impacts of that degradation and understand the importance of landscape restoration for water, energy and food security. This project will help a women’s cooperative, led by local farmer Agnes Uwifashije, to revive land in Mukura.
  • For this project, our amazing partners at ARCOS (Albertine Rift Conservation Society) will mentor and build the skills of 2,000 farmers to restore land while improving community livelihoods. Planting trees will help add nutrients to soil while controlling run-off and erosion. When properly managed, these trees will provide the local farmers with firewood, climbing bean poles, and fodder for their animals. For food security and income generation, farmers will plant avocado, lemon, and tree tomatoes.
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We’ll also send you updates on our Rwanda project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • This community-led initiative will plant a variety of trees including Grevillea robusta, Markhamia lutea, Erythrina abyssinica, Myrianthus holstii, various species of Ficus or Fig, and the nitrogen-fixing fodder shrub Calliandra colthyrsus. Farmers will also plant avocado, lemon, and tree tomatoes for food security and income generation.

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