Cover image: International Year of Forests 2011

International Year of Forests 2011

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness of sustainable management and conservation of all types of forest. Here we suggest a few resources to help you bring a forest theme into the classroom. The year focuses on 'celebrating forests for people'. The UN's International Year of Forests website has a short slideshow with some interesting forest facts. Did you know...?
  • Forests cover 31% of the world's total land area.
  • Primary (or 'old growth') forests account for 36% of forest area.
  • The livelihoods of over 1.6 billion people depend on forests.
  • Forests are home to 80% of our terrestrial (ie: non-marine) biodiversity.
  • Trade in forest products was estimated at $327 billion in 2004.
  • Forests are home to 300 million people around the world.
  • 30% of forests are used for the production of wood and non-wood products.
This short film about forests has been produced by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the photographer behind the 'Earth From the Air' photos. Use it in class to prompt discussion around International Year of Forests 2011.
  Of Forests and Men - USA (Edward Norton) from GoodPlanet on Vimeo.
Forests in the UK
Forest Education Initiative Aims to increase understanding and appreciation of the environmental, social, and economic potential of trees, woodlands and forests. Lots of teaching resources for all age ranges on the FEI website.
Forestry Commission The Forestry Commission's Woodlands for Learning website has a range of teaching resources including details of the 'Great Storm' of 1987.
Royal Forestry Society Dedicated to the wise management of woodlands,and to increasing people's understanding of forestry. The Learning section of the RFS website has all sorts of useful facts about trees, forests and woods. They also run the Teaching Trees project to encourage teachers to bring children of all ages into the woods. RFS is marking International Year of Forests with the launch of a suite of free illustrated factsheets which explain the interactions of woodland management and climate change. The factsheets cover eight topics: the role of trees in regulating our environment; managing trees for climate change; sustainable woodland management; management for wildlife; woodland management through the ages; wood for fuel; wood for building; and sustainable sources. Download them here.
Woodland Trust The UK's leading woodland conservation charity. The Nature Detectives website has a wealth of teaching resources for upper primary and lower secondary, including worksheets and an assembly kit.
Forests Worldwide
IIED The International Institute for Environment and Development has a very interesting blog post outlining the threats to forests worldwide.
International Tree Foundation Conserves forests and alleviates poverty by planting trees in partnership with local communities worldwide. The ITF website has interesting examples of tree-planting projects.
Orangutan Foundation Conserving the orangutan and its habitat. The Education in the UK page has downloadable primary-age teaching resources.
Rainforest Foundation Supporting the people of the world's rainforest to protect their environment and fulfil their rights to land, life and livelihood. The website has a Kids section and a Teacher resources section.
Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge An online project from Sky, WWF and Global Action Plan which guides teachers and students through a range of engaging and interactive activities that help them reduce their impact on the rainforest.
The Princes Rainforest Project for Schools Raising awareness of the link between rainforests and climate change. Aimed at children aged 3-16 and their parents and teachers, the website includes a range of free teaching resources.
Worldmapper You can find world maps showing the extent of forests, forest growth and deforestation around the world on the Worldmapper blog Views of the World.
Photo Galleries
National Geographic » Tropical Rainforest Photo Gallery for Kids
Trees for Life » Images of the Caledonian Forest in Scotland
WWF » WWF's Forest Photo Gallery includes rainforests and other world forests