Child's hand holding a small tree cutting.
Restoration takes resources. Organizations driving activities on the ground are often underfunded and face financial insecurity.
Photo:UNEP/Will Baxter

Too precious to lose

When we drink a glass of water, write in a notebook, take medicine for a fever or build a house, we do not always make the connection with forests. And yet, these and many other aspects of our lives are linked to forests in one way or another.

Forest sustainable management and their use of resources are key to combating climate change, and to contributing to the prosperity and well-being of current and future generations. Forests also play a crucial role in poverty alleviation and in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet despite all these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate.

Wood helps to provide bacteria-free food and water in many kitchens, build countless furniture and utensils, replace materials as harmful as plastic, create new fibers for our clothes and, through technology , be part of the fields of medicine or the space race.

It is vital to consume and produce wood in a more environmentally friendly way for the planet and its inhabitants. Let’s protect this easily renewable resource with a sustainable management of forests.

How much do you know about forests and sustainable consumption and production?

Test your knowledge with the FAO quiz. Answer 10 questions about forests and sustainability. Are you an expert? Do you need to learn a little more? The result is not so important. Just answer, learn and spread the questionnaire among your family and friends.

animated gif of a woodpecker pecking on a tree

Background

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. Countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns.

The organizers are the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field.

Did you know?

  • Forests are home to about 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, with more that 60,000 tree species.
  • Around 1.6 billion people depend directly on forests for food, shelter, energy, medicines and income.
  • The world is losing 10 million hectares of forest each year - about the size of Iceland

Source: FAO 2020

Watch

Forests and sustainable production and consumption

For millions of people across the world, wood helps provide safe drinking water, food and shelter - but wood can do much more and is a renewable resource when forests are managed sustainably..

Related links

Official banner for the International Day of Forests 2022

Visit the official FAO website, full of interesting content to celebrate International Forest Day - from key messages, through documents and promotional material in different languages. 

A girl holding a plant

Get to know Kenyan climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti and her fight for nature. She grew up in one of the most forested regions in Kenya. Africa is home to close to a fifth of the world’s forests but every year, deforestation destroys nearly 3 million hectares of the continent’s forest. Today, the growing impacts of climate change are making it harder to reverse forest loss and land degradation.

 

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.