Today we are celebrating forests. Ten years ago, in 2012 the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21st March the International Day of Forests (IDF) to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
According to the latest figures released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, with more than 60,000 tree species. Also, around 1.6 billion people in the world depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines, and income.
Forests cover nearly one third of land globally. That’s 4.06 billion hectares. Of that, 93% of the forest area worldwide is composed of naturally regenerating forests, and only 7% is planted forests. According to FAO, the area of naturally regenerating forests has decreased since 1990 (at a declining rate of loss), but the area of planted forests has increased by 123 million ha.
Naturally regenerating forests are predominantly composed of trees established through natural regeneration, while planted forests are predominantly composed of trees established through planting and or/deliberate seeding.
Forests are essential in the fight against climate change. Sustainably managed forests are linked directly to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. They act as carbon sinks, purify water, conserve biodiversity, produce food, generate jobs, provide clean and affordable energy as well as being a sustainable and renewable material.
This year’s theme
This year the UN and FAO have chosen “The Role of Forests in Ensuring Sustainable Production and Consumption” as the main theme for their activities programme.
There will be a high-level event that will be held at 15.00–18.00 GST/12.00–15.00 CET, both online and at the Swedish Pavilion in the Expo 2020 in Dubai.
At this event, “a high-level panel will discuss how forest-based innovations, resource efficiency, forest-based products and ecosystem services can contribute to a sustainable lifestyle and accelerate a shift towards more sustainable consumption and production”.
If you want to register to participate online, you can do it here
SFM, the key to forests as a source of a renewable raw material
The key to forests as a source of wood, a renewable, recyclable, sustainable raw material is Sustainable Forest Management.
As defined by Forest Europe and adopted by FAO, SFM is “the stewardship and use of forests and forest lands in a way, and at a rate, that maintains their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity, vitality and their potential to fulfill, now and in the future, relevant ecological, economic and social functions, at local, national, and global levels, and that does not cause damage to other ecosystems.”
Thus, sustainable forest management is essential to guarantee that the demands of today’s society do not compromise the resource for the future. The environmental requirements towards the conservation of forest areas do not exclude a responsible productive activity. As long as we comply with SFM practices, they are, in fact, highly compatible.
Forest certification is a tool to prove that forests are sustainably managed and that forest-based products come from sustainable origins.