International Day of Forests – 21 March 2018

By 2050, 6 billion people or as much as 70% of the global population are expected to live in urban areas. Trees and forests can help us keep those sprawling cities clean, healthy and happy places to live in.

“On 21 March, International Day of Forests, the focus falls on raising awareness of the importance of all types of forests. The theme of the day is Forests and Sustainable Cities. Worldwide, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organise activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

“The Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA) encourages those working in the chemical sector to do likewise,” says Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of the Chemical and Allied Industries’ Association (CAIA).

Did you know?

  • Approximately 883 million people in developing countries are employed in the wood energy sector on a full or part-time basis.
  • Wood provides the world with more energy than solar, hydroelectric or wind power, accounting for roughly 40% of current global renewable energy supply.
  • About 50 percent of global wood production is used as energy for cooking, heating, and electricity generation.
  • For 2.4 billion people, wood fuel means a cooked and more nutritious meal, boiled water, and a warm dwelling.
  • Forests and trees store carbon, which helps mitigate the impact of climate change in and around urban areas.
  • Strategic placement of trees in urban areas can cool the air by up to 8 degrees Celsius, reducing air conditioning needs by 30%.
  • Trees reduce noise pollution as they shield homes from nearby roads and industrial areas.
  • Wood fuel sources from urban trees and planted forests on the outskirts of cities provide renewable energy for cooking and heating, which reduces pressure on natural forests and our reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Well-managed forests and trees in and around cities provide habitats, food and protection for many plants and animals, helping to maintain and increase biodiversity.
  • Urban green spaces, including forests, encourage active and healthy lifestyles, improve mental health, prevent disease, and provide a place for people to socialise.
  • Trees also improve the local climate, helping to save energy used for heating by 20-50 percent.
  • Urban trees are excellent air filters, removing harmful pollutants in the air and fine particulates.
  • Local populations use the fruits, nuts, leaves and insects found in urban trees to produce food and medicines for use in the home, or as a source of income.
  • Forests in and around urban areas help to filter and regulate water, contributing to high-quality freshwater supplies for hundreds of millions of people. Forests also protect water sheds and prevent flooding as they store water in their branches and soil.
  • Forests in cities and surrounding areas generate tourism, create tens of thousands of jobs and encourage city beautification schemes, building dynamic, energetic and prosperous green economies.

Let’s plant a tree, look after our forests and city trees, and keep our environment healthy!

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