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.
Today we join with citizens around the globe to celebrate the International Day of Forests!
According to the United Nations, “Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities. They play a key role in our battle in adapting to and mitigating climate change. Forests contribute to the balance of oxygen, carbon dioxide and humidity in the air. They protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.”
Trees, Water & People’s Reforestation Program is working to conserve and protect the forests of Central America and Haiti by working with local communities to replant trees, helping to improve watershed health, increase biodiversity, and create better livelihoods for local families. With over 5.6 million trees planted to date, our Reforestation Program focuses on establishing and maintaining tree nurseries, educating communities about the positive environmental impacts of reforestation, and strengthening economic development, both through conservation and the responsible management of forest resources.
Last year, we started the construction of the Nicaraguan Center for Forests, Energy & Climate. This new facility will be a regional hub for Latin Americans to learn about forest management and climate adaption. You can support the development of this new center by making a contribution today!
“To build a sustainable, climate-resilient future for all, we must invest in our world’s forests. That will take political commitment at the highest levels, smart policies, effective law enforcement, innovative partnerships and funding.”