Forests are so important to people and our planet that the United Nations General Assembly declared March 21st as the International Day of Forests.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, providing homes to animals, plants and insects while also supplying shelter, jobs and security to communities around the world. They play an important role in adapting to and mitigating climate change, and they balance the oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the atmosphere.
The global celebration of forests raises awareness of the importance of all types of forested land, from urban to rural, with activities ranging from tree-planting to national celebrations through displays of art, photography and film.
This year’s theme is “Forests and Climate Change” and will communicate the link between forests and climate change while serving as a call for action to protect trees the world over.
International Day of Forests activities are expected to highlight forest-based solutions to address development and change.
Did you know that through the establishment of 100 million mature trees around homes in the United States, we save about $2 billion annually in reduced energy costs?
Urban trees alone remove some 784,000 tons of air pollution in the United States annually, valued at $3.8 billion.
The 2015 International Day of Forests is a great day to acknowledge the importance of forests across the United States, and recognizing the role state forestry agencies play in maintaining our healthy forests is critical to this mission. State Foresters protect two-thirds of the nation’s forests, and each state’s Forest Action Plan adds up to a powerful way of targeting limited resources and growing threats in each state.
In the days approaching International Forest Day, you can get involved with the celebration. Take part in social media events with #IntForestDay #ImagineWhataTreeCanDo and check NASF social media channels for more information about our nation’s forests and trees.
Learn More about International Forest Day here: http://www.un.org/en/events/forestsday/
Nicole Leinders is the National Association of State Foresters’ Foundation intern.