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 livelihoods, medicines, fuel, food and shelter.
Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
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.
The International Day of Forests is held annually on 21 March to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security. Sustainable management of all types of forests are at the heart of unlocking challenges of conflict-affected, developing and developed countries, for the benefit of current and future generations.
International Day of Forests Resolution
The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/67/200 on 21 December 2012, which declared that 21 March of each year is to be observed as the International Day of Forests.
The resolution encourages all Member States to organize activities relating to all types of forests. Activities expected to take place on the International Day include tree-planting and other community-level events, and national celebrations including art, photo and film as well as social media outreach.
The resolution requests the secretariat of the United Nations Forum on Forests, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to facilitate the implementation of the International Day of Forests, in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and international, regional and subregional organizations and processes as well as relevant major groups.