From time immemorial, forests and trees have been associated with human development, through the provision of various goods and services. A significant part of the world’s population continues to be fully dependent on forests for their livelihoods, in particular for shelter, food, woodfuel and medicine. This is particularly true in the tropical regions where ITTO works. Some of the benefits derived from forests are more or less site specific, varying from country to country or even from one site to another. Of particular importance, however, are services rendered by forests and trees which have regional or global impacts, such as biodiversity protection, climate change mitigation and adaptation, clean water production and conservation. Climate change for example, in which forests have a critical role to play in mitigation and adaptation strategies, has no boundary and affects all human beings.
The various benefits generated by forests and trees have been recognized by many countries who have instituted a day for tree planting each year. The adoption by the United Nations of a specific day to celebrate forests and trees is, however, far reaching. It helps build international solidarity among world citizens, during one specific day, on an invaluable world asset, forests, the protection of which is crucial for continuing to maintain life on our planet. It also helps people to appreciate the value of forests around the world, as many countries celebrating the International Day of Forests, for example through tree planting, may also highlight the various benefits they are deriving from their forests and trees. Building solidarity and understanding around the world is crucial for the preservation of the world environment.
On this special day, ITTO wishes to join efforts with and congratulate those who are working to sustain our forests across the globe.
Emmanuel Ze Meka
ITTO Executive Director
Further information on the International Day of the Forest: http://www.fao.org/forestry/international-day-of-forests/en/