Forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, performing vital functions around the world. Around 1.6 billion people - including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures - depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% 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 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Celebrating forests and waterEvery year on the International Day of Forests we celebrate the ways in which forests and trees sustain and protect us. This year we are raising awareness of how forests are key to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life.
|A resident of the National Tapajos Forest collects wild foliage for preparing a meal. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe|
Did you know?
- Forested watersheds and wetlands supply 75 percent of the world’s accessible freshwater
- About one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas
- Nearly 80 percent of the world’s population – 8 out of 10 people - is exposed to high levels of threat to water security
- Improved water resource management can show considerable economic gains
- Forests act as natural water filters
- Climate change is altering forests role in water flows and the availability of water resources
- Forests have a crucial role in building and strengthening resilience
Special EventThe theme of the 2016 International Day of Forests is “forests and water”. To mark the Day, a joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day will be held on Monday, 21 March 2016 (10:00 to 13:00) in the Economic and Social Council Chamber.
The event entitled “Forests and Water | Sustain Life and Livelihoods” will raise awareness of the interconnections between forests and water and their contributions to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UNFF Secretariat and UN-Water are organizing the event, in collaboration with the Government of Sweden.
2016 International Day of Forests Program
More information on the Day is available at the UN Forum on Forests.