Today, we join millions of people around the world in a celebration of our planet’s forests. This year’s theme is “Forests and Water”, bringing attention to the relationship between healthy watersheds and healthy forests. Forests are vital to the water cycle. They slow down water flow and filter the water that enters our rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater. They also transpire water into the atmosphere, contributing to the formation of clouds and rain.
According to the United Nations (UN), “Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.” Forests provide priceless economic, ecological, social, and health benefits that, if destroyed, can never be replaced. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, providing more than 80% of the world’s animals, plants, and insects a home.
If forests are so important, then why are we destroying them? This is a question that societies around the world find themselves asking. The UN estimates that 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. In addition, deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
If we want to heal our planet, reverse the effects of climate change, and protect the more than 1 billion people relying on forests for their livelihoods, than we must act now! Our forests do not have a voice. We must speak for them.
How much do you know about forests and water? Take the quiz >>
To learn more about Trees, Water & People’s efforts to protect forests and the people dependent on them for survival, please visit www.treeswaterpeople.org.