International Day of Forests: History, Theme and Wildfires

March 21, 2021 | Updated 10:15 am

International Day of Forests: History, Theme and Wildfires Aquatic forest park in Xinghua, E China's Jiangsu Source: Xinhua

March 21 is celebrated every year as  International Day of Forests,  across the world and is observed by the United Nations and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).. The day was first celebrated in 2012 as a means to raise awareness about forests and explain the importance of conserving them. The UN tweeted “75% of all emerging infectious diseases are caused by germs moving from animals to humans. Planting & restoring forests helps build the planet’s natural defenses against diseases.”

History

On November 28, 2012, the UN passed a resolution that set the 21st day of March as International Day of Forests. This day is marked with various events that promote practices such as afforestation and reforestation.

Member Nations of the UN on this day are encouraged to organise events at every level to take up various activities such as plantation drives, seminars, and speaking events to make the general population aware of the importance of saving the trees.

International Forest Day Theme 2021

The theme for the 2021 version of International Day of Forests is ‘Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being’ and calls for substantial use of forestry in order to address issues related to climate change and biodiversity. “Healthy forests mean healthy people. Forests provide us with fresh air, nutritious foods, clean water, and space for recreation, and also for civilisation to continue,” said QU Dongyu, Director-General, FAO.

Forest Fires

In recent years there have been several incidents of forest fires that have destroyed large swathes of trees and have caused huge loss of property and lives.

  •  Australian Bushfires: Declared as the ‘worst wildlife disaster in modern history the Australian wildfires were the most disturbing piece of news for the initial two months of 2020 before the world got preoccupied with COVID. The fires were reported in the second half of 2019 which prompted the government to declare a state of emergency in November 2020. According to reports, an area comprising 25.5 million hectares was burned down and almost a billion birds, mammals, reptiles lost their lives in the disaster.
  • California Forest Fires: In the past year the state of California reported more than 9000 incidents of forest fires in which 4,397,809 acres of lands were destroyed.