Every year on the International Day of Forests, the global community celebrates the ways in which forests and trees sustain and protect mankind.
This year, the International Day of Forests seeks to raise awareness of how forests are important to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.
Celebrating “forests and waters”
Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80 per cent of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities.
Yet despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Guyana has made significant strides in complying with international best practices to preserve and conserve its forest landmass through various projects, one notably being the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). The LCDS, which was launched by former President Bharrat Jagdeo in June 2009, outlines Guyana’s vision to promoting economic development, while combating climate change.
It is scientifically conclusive that one of the major contributors to global warming is tropical deforestation, and with Guyana making strides to curb this issue, it is contributing immensely to the fight against climate change, all of which is consistent with the global agenda.
International Day of Forests, March 21, was established by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012. Each year, various events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations.
Countries are encouraged to undertake efforts to organise local, national, and international activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns, on International Day of Forests.