International Day of Forests

International Day of Forests, is observed annually on 21 March. It was observed for the first time on March 21, 2013, following a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012 calling for a day to be held each year celebrating forests. The occasion is intended to be a global platforms from which to inform people with an interest in forests and climate change regarding the issues facing forests and for people to share their views  and ensure that the needs of forests are suitably incorporated into any future climate change mitigation and adaption strategies.

Each year more than 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests are lost, an area roughly the size of England. As the forests disappear so do the plant and animal species that they support – 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity. forests also play a critical role in climate change including global warming: deforestation results in 12-18 percent of the world’s carbon emissions – almost equal to all the CO2 from the global transport sector. equally crucial, healthy forests are one of the world’s primary ‘carbon sinks.Today, forests cover more than 30% of the world’s land and contain more than 60,000 tree species, many as of yet unidentified.forests provide food, fiber, water and medicines for approximately 1.6 billion of the world’s poorest people, including indigenous peoples with unique cultures.

Prior to the launching of International Day of Forests in 2012 were two closely related international commemorations: World Forestry Day (established in 1971 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization), and Forest Day (convened by the Center for International Forestry Research from 2007-2012). World Forestry Day was established In November 1971, after the “States members” at the 16th session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization, voted to establish “World Forestry Day” on March 21 of each year. Forest Day was established by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) who convened a series of six Forest Days, in conjunction with annual meetings of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties. CIFOR organized these events on behalf of and in close cooperation with other members of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF).

The immediate impetus for these events was a casual conversation in Oxford, England, in February 2007, between two scientists who felt the world was underestimating the importance of forests in mitigating carbon emissions and saw a glaring need for the latest forestry research and thinking to inform global policy makers and UNFCCC negotiators. They did not foresee that the conference would become one of the most influential global events on forests and climate change today.

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