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International Day of Forests
21 March every year. Celebrating all types of forest worldwide.
In November 2012 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests. The aim of the Day is to celebrate all types of forest and raise awareness of sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development for the benefit of current and future generations.
The theme for International Day of Forests in 2016 is forests and water. Food security depends on water security – and water security depends on forests. In fact, forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75% of the world’s accessible fresh water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs.
Further information is available on the FAO’s Forestry web pages.
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 could be used in class to prompt discussion about forests. It has been produced by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the photographer behind the ‘Earth From the Air’ photos.
Useful links for teaching about trees and forests:
Forests in the UK
Outdoor Woodland and Learning Scotland 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 OWL Scotland website.
The Royal Forestry Society is 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.
The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. Their Nature Detectives website has a wealth of teaching resources for upper primary and lower secondary, including worksheets and an assembly kit.
The International Institute for Environment and Development has a very interesting blog post outlining the threats to forests worldwide.
The Rainforest Foundation supports the people of the world’s rainforest to protect their environment and fulfil their rights to land, life and livelihood. Visit their website schools section to download an education pack.
Sky Rainforest Rescue Schools Challenge is 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.
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.