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International Day for Biological Diversity
22 May

Theme 2011: Forest Biodiversity

 The National Tapajos forest is the only forest in Brazil with a management program for sustainable production of industrialized timber.

Forest biodiversity refers to all forms of life found in forests, including trees, plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms, and their roles in nature. The complexity and rich diversity of life found in forests provides many vital services to human beings.

Nonetheless, humans are destroying forest biodiversity at an alarming rate. The conversion of forests to agricultural land, overgrazing, unsustainable management, introduction of invasive alien species, infrastructure development, mining and oil exploitation, man-made fires, pollution and climate change are all having negative impacts on forest biodiversity. This degradation makes forests more fragile and diminishes the services provided by forests to humans.

People have come to realize that forests offer much more than just timber. Forests provide recreational opportunities and contribute to our health and wellbeing. Not only do they regulate local temperatures and protect drinking water supplies, they also act as carbon sinks and mitigate climate change. Forests also play important economic, social, and cultural roles in the lives of many people, especially those of indigenous communities.

Traditional medicine is often based on natural products and plants found in forests. By destroying forests, we may be destroying an undiscovered cure for diseases.

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