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Why do We Celebrate World Forest Day

Updated on March 12, 2017

Importance of World Forest Day

March 21 is celebrated as world Forest Day. It has been celebrated around the world for the last 30 years as a reminder of the importance of forests and the many benefits which we gain from them. This concept of celebrating a day as World Forest day originated at the 23rd General Assembly of the European Confederation of Agriculture in 1971. Information about the three key facets of forestry, protection, production and recreation should be passed on to people during this occasion. Such a day provides an opportunity for people to learn and reflect on the importance of forests in their day-to-day lives. The contribution of the forests is also venerated during this event.

Over 30% of the earth's surface is covered by forests. Forests are one of the most important 'storehouses' of biological diversity on land. It also plays a key role in regulating our planet's climate. The importance of forests and the threats on them should be the spotlight during this occasion as forestry is often seen as being far removed from everyday life.

What is a forest?

Forest is usually considered as a place where there are lots of trees. But its real meaning is far beyond it. Forest is in fact an entire complex living community. Underneath the forest canopy dwell many interdependent populations of plants and animals. The forest soil contains a large variety of invertebrates, bacteria, and fungi. They play an essential role in cycling nutrients in the soil and the forest. Forests also provide us with many valuable things like fresh water catchments, a safe home for flora and fauna, timber for homes and furniture, beautiful scenery etc. It is also an environment for those who enjoy the outdoors, and archeological and historical sites.

Benefits of forests

Numerous services including clean air and water are provided to us by forests. They play a key role in regulating water flows; protect soil from erosion and in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. The forest patches facilitate species' movements through their connectivity with other ecosystems. They are essential for providing fresh air, reducing dust and noise around and within the urban areas.

Problems faced by forests

The cutting down of forests in hilly areas loosens the soil over there. As a result the upper layer of fertile earth erodes which results in uncontrolled rain and flood. It would be a great threat to agriculture. Forests are threatened by unsustainable management practices, air borne pollution, climate change and also by fragmentation due to rapidly spreading urban areas and transport networks. Hence the healthy functioning of forest ecosystems and the biodiversity they foster are at risk. Due to the exploitation of forests the survival of flora and fauna is also in danger. According to rule, when one tree is cut down, ten trees must be planted in its place. But during the last two decades only 1% of trees have been planted. Everybody should ponder seriously over the environmental problems created due to the reckless felling of trees and actively involve in its prevention and thereby create new forests.

The significance of forests will increase gradually as the global human population grows because forests had always been essential for human life and economies. But a change must be made in the way we treat our environment. It is our duty to protect forests. We should take it as a mission as they have been benefiting mankind and other forms of life for thousands of years. We can take steps to restore forests by the development of renewable energy, reforestation projects, and other green technologies. Everyone must make their own little contribution to conserve and restore the forests that remain.


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