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International Day of Forests and the Tree

By Dave Armstrong - 21 Mar 2014 10:19:0 GMT
International Day of Forests and the Tree

In Haiti, students are celebrating their success in recovering old pine forests for nature. This lady obviously feels her tree will be cared for and thrive in a new Haiti ; International Day of Forests and the Tree; Credit: © UN Photo

Everyone seems to be aware that we need forests, but we insist on cutting them down or replacing them with rapid-growth non-native trees. The lessons of flooding and loss of biodiversity have not been learned. The loss of oxygen and gain in carbon dioxide are yet to be fully realised. This day is one of the most important of all the international days because of the reliance that humans and wildlife place on the natural forest community and today, the individual tree, too!

Some kind of scrub or forest still covers 30% of land with 60,000 different tree species. Up to 70% of plant and animal species live there, meaning we lose 100 every day, as they are destroyed at a daily rate of 10,000 square km per day. The figures can't describe the misery and the loss. When it comes down to people themselves, 1.6 billion rely on forests for their livelihood. Tribal people and others who live completely within forest environments comprise 300 million individuals, among the poorest people on earth.

Timber industries, agriculture and simple human settlement spread account for most losses, with mining and other industries also deeply concerned with the losses we suffer. To recover our carbon, the oxygen we breathe and those magic places we crave, plant something today. It's spring in the north, so many will find that activity relatively easy! The UN are doing their bit by arranging their Special Event on Celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development, even with, "Women as agents for change for forests and sustainable development." Let's hope they plant an oak sapling too.