Action Ideas Edit
- tree planting
- Community orchards
- Community woodlands
- Nature trails
Why it matters
Forests cover one third of the earth's land mass, performing vital functions and services around the world which make our planet alive with possibilities. In fact, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods. They play a key role in our battle against climate change, releasing oxygen into the atmosphere while storing carbon dioxide.
Forests feed our rivers and are essential to supplying the water for nearly 50% of our largest cities. They create and maintain soil fertility and they help to regulate the often devastating impact of storms, floods and fires.
Splendid and inspiring, forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, and are home to more than half of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
Forests also provide shelter, jobs, security and cultural relevance for forest-dependent populations. They are the green lungs of the earth, vital to the survival of people everywhere - all seven billion of us.
Forests embody so much of what is good and strong in our lives. Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, we are destroying the very forests we need to live and breathe.
Global deforestation continues at an alarming rate - every year 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed. That's equal to the size of Portugal.
Short-term investments for immediate gains (i.e. logging) compound these losses. People who depend on forests for their livelihoods are struggling to survive. Many precious species face extinction. Biodiversity is being obliterated. What's more, economists around the world have proven that by not integrating the values of forests into their budgets, countries and businesses are paying a high price. One that ultimately impoverishes us all as harm to our forest life-support system continues each and every single day.
But this trend is not irreversible. It's not too late to transform life as we know it into a greener future where forests are at the heart of our sustainable development and green economies.
Conserving forests and expanding them need to be recognized as a business opportunity. When we add it up, an investment of US$30 billion fighting deforestation and degradation could provide a return of US$2.5 trillion in new products and services.
Furthermore, targeted investments in forestry could generate up to 10 million new jobs around the world. Already, many leaders are glimpsing the potential for renewable energy and nature-based assets, but for transformation to happen, forests need to become a universal political priority.
The services forests provide are essential to every aspect of our quality of life and individual action can result in exponential impact, so do your part! Branching Out for a Green Economy by Sir David Attenborough(05:54)
Random facts Edit
- Worldwide, some 60 million indigenous people are almost completely reliant on forest resources for their livelihoods - for food and fuel, medicines and materials. Source: FOEI's The Tyranny of Free Trade: wasted natural wealth and lost livelihoods, December 2005, www.foei.org/publications/index.html
- Between 1990 and 2005 the rate of deforestation averaged 13 million hectares, mostly in the Tropics. Source: UNEP, September 2008
- Greenhouse gas emissions with felling, slash and burn agriculture and other deforestation effects, account for around 17 per cent or more of global emissions-the second largest source after the energy sector. Source: UNEP, September 2008
Forests W, Reforestation W, Sustainable forest management W, List of forests W, Rainforest W, List of trees W, Forests Now Declaration W, United Nations Billion Tree Campaign W, Deforestation W, Rights and Resources Initiative W, World Agroforestry Centre W, Center for International Forestry Research W, World Environment Day W 2011
Wanted pages and external links
- International Year of Forests
- CIFOR: Forests, Climate change and REDD
- Rainforest Action Network
- Rainforest Site - click for free everyday and help save our rainforests
- Rainforest Portal
- United Nations Forum on Forests
- The Coalition for Rainforest Nations