History, Importance & Benefits: International Day of Forests 2023

Join the conversation with #IntlForestDay or #ForestDay and learn about the importance and benefits of forests.

Tue 21 Mar 23


The International Day of Forests, observed annually on March 21, is an event celebrated worldwide to highlight the importance and value of forests in our lives. Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, this global event aims to raise awareness about the significance of forests, their sustainable management, and conservation. The United Nations recognizes the critical role of forests in addressing climate change, contributing to sustainable development, and providing essential resources for life on Earth. More information about the International Day of Forests can be found on the official United Nations website.

History of the International Day of Forests

The idea of dedicating a day to forests can be traced back to the 1970s when the World Forestry Day was celebrated in several countries. However, it was on November 28, 2012, when the United Nations General Assembly decided to officially declare March 21 as the International Day of Forests. This decision aimed to consolidate global efforts to appreciate and preserve the invaluable resources forests provide.

The FAO have developed videoforest fact animationslogo and banners – as celebration. Check out the International Day of Forest social media kit for more resources. Footage courtesy of @UNFAO.
Importance of Forests

Forests play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of Earth’s ecosystems. They serve as habitats for an array of plant and animal species, many of which are essential for pollination, seed dispersal, and other ecological processes. Forests also act as carbon sinks, absorbing vast amounts of carbon dioxide and helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Forests maintain Earth’s balance, preserve biodiversity, mitigate climate change, and provide resources and livelihoods for 1.6 billion people worldwide.

According to the United Nations, forests cover nearly 31% of the Earth’s land area and are home to over 80% of terrestrial biodiversity. They provide livelihoods for over 1.6 billion people worldwide, with many indigenous communities relying on forests for their survival and cultural identity.

Benefits of Forests

Forests offer numerous benefits to humans and the environment. They purify the air, regulate water cycles, and prevent soil erosion. Forests also provide essential resources such as food, medicine, and timber. Additionally, they contribute to climate change mitigation by capturing and storing carbon, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Forests are vital for the environment and economy, providing resources, mitigating climate change, and supporting millions. Learn how they fight climate change. Footage courtesy of @UNFAO.

Forests play a significant role in supporting the global economy. The forest sector contributes approximately 1% to the global GDP, providing employment to millions of people worldwide. Furthermore, forests are an essential source of renewable energy, with wood fuel meeting the energy needs of over 2 billion people.

International Day of Forests 2023: A Call for Collective Action

The International Day of Forests 2023 presents an opportunity for individuals, communities, and governments to come together and promote the sustainable management and conservation of forests. By participating in events such as tree planting, educational workshops, and community-based projects, we can collectively work towards preserving the precious resources forests provide and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come.

A major theme for 2023 is looking at ways that the forests can help mitigate the human health consequences of climate change. Click here to find out how the forests can act as climate sinks, regulate temperatures and mediate water flows.
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