Building Healthy and Resilient Forests, Together

Forests play a vital role for the environment, people and the economy, bringing considerable benefits, many of which are essential to all lives on earth. 

But forests have been, and continue to be, under threat.

Achieving our mission and the future we want – Forests for All Forever – still requires substantial effort. Let us come together to build healthy, resilient forests – for us and for future generations.

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Why Forests Matter

Forests make up a third of the earth’s land area; are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity and over 1 billion people (including 60 million Indigenous peoples). They are the source of 75% of the world’s freshwater and play a vital role in the carbon cycle and climate regulation, They protect biodiversity and provide important ecosystem services that help sustain life – much of which we cannot live without, like providing us with clean air and clean water! Acting as lungs for the earth – providing us with oxygen and absorbing nearly one third of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

Forests provide important ecosystems services

Forest ecosystems provide many of the basic services that make life possible, including:

Provisioning services: oxygen, water, food, natural medicine

Regulating services: Climate regulation, Carbon sequestration and storage, flood and erosion control, pollination, filtration, decomposition, water purification

Supporting services: biodiversity conservation, soil conservation, habitat nutrient cycling, water cycle, photosynthesis

These processes work together, allowing the Earth to sustain basic life forms.

coloured leavesEach tree has a vital role to play; so does every plant, animal and other organisms (even those that we can’t see) in the forests. Together, as an ecosystem, the biodiversity that forests provide create a balanced setting that enable lives to survive and thrive.  

Forests also serve as sites of aesthetic, recreational and spiritual value in many cultural and societal contexts as well as offering general well-being benefits.

Forests in our daily lives

Beyond the ecosystems services they provide, forests contribute significantly to our daily lives by providing fuel, fibre, timber, and other forest products for subsistence and income generation, and supporting socio-economic development. 

Much of the renewable raw materials for many of the products we use - from your wooden bed-frame and other wood-furniture, to the timber or bamboo flooring, toilet rolls and tissue paper, soles of your work-out shoes, paper you write on, books and magazines you read, food packaging, clothes you wear, musical instruments you play, your children’s favourite toys, tyres of your car (and 100% of aeroplane tyres), yoga mats, dive suits, gloves, nuts and berries, wine corks, your office building, shade on a hot, humid day, and much more - all come from the forests!

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Simply put – our lives depend on the existence of forests and healthy ecosystems. Our nation’s rich biodiversity and valuable ecosystem services provide vital support for human well-being and sustainable development.

Forests under threat

And yet, there is not enough being done to protect these life-giving forests that we continue to lose at alarming rates - to human activities (agriculture, unsustainable logging, infrastructure development and extractive activities), forest fires and climate change.

Alongside oceans, forests are the key ecosystem that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and carbon is stored in both trees and forest soils. When forests are degraded, cleared, and mismanaged, they turn from one of the most powerful climate solutions into a significant source of carbon emission, exacerbating the already accelerating rate of climate change, in addition to destroying vital ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as negatively affecting the well-being and livelihoods of communities, and society in general. Damaging forests also increases the risk of zoonotic diseases and pandemics.

Deforestation and forest degradation increase greenhouse gas emissions, disrupt water cycles, increase soil erosion and disrupt livelihoods.

"To have any chance of keeping below 1.5 degrees of global warming, we need to value the services that healthy forests can provide"

David Attenborough narrates this film on forests & land use from the United Nations Climate Change conference 2021 (COP26)

What Can and Must We Do

 

What You Can Do