Nature Canada

International Day of Forests: Saying Thank You to Our Tall, Green Protectors

International Day of Forests

This blog was written by Intern Gabriel Planas

When is it? March 21

So what is it?

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations created the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate the importance of forests by raising awareness about the ways in which trees help and sustain us even in our increasingly urbanized environment. This year’s theme is around ‘Forests and Sustainable Cities’ with a focus on the urban forested areas.

What’s the significance?

While we are all accustomed to the presence of trees in our neighbourhoods, the sight of widespread forests is becoming rarer with 13 million hectares of forests destroyed globally every year. This is becoming an increasingly larger concern as forests play an important role in providing habitat for almost 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects, helping to maintain and increase biodiversity.

Forests also provide an invaluable tool to help curb climate change by storing carbon, filtrating air and water, and reducing noise pollution. Just one acre of trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people to last a year.

In addition to their irreplaceable ability to filtrate both air and water, forests provide other benefits to our day-to-day urban life. Urban forests help to prevent flooding, disease and have shown to cool the air by between 2 and 6 degrees.

Well-maintained urban forests and other greenspaces can help improve mental health, encourage physical activity and provide a space for communities to come together. These greenspaces can also provide comfortable and calming areas, and help reduce noise from the rest of the city.

Not to mention, a city with an abundance of trees and greenspace is much more aesthetic and beautiful too!     

On this International Day of Forests, take a moment to appreciate the trees around you, and all that they do.

How do I get involved?

  • Step out of your front door into your NatureHood, your local forest is teeming with things to see and places to explore! Even better, bring your families outside into nature and learn about the types of trees that are in your neighbourhood!
  • Make sure that while you are out there exploring to take a picture of a tree in your yard or neighbourhood and share on social media with the hashtag #IntlForestDay. Compete with your friends for the best picture or just show off what your city has to offer, and help spread the good word about the trees!

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Canada’s wilderness is the world’s envy. It’s our duty to keep our true north strong and green.