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Explained: Importance of International Day of Forests and why it is celebrated

This year's theme, 'Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being', emphasises on how restoration and sustainable management of forests can help address climate change and biodiversity crisis.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 22, 2021 11:43:24 am
International Day of ForestsAs per the biennial State of Forest Report, 2019, India’s forest cover has increased by 3,976 sq km or 0.56% since 2017. (Representational)

The United Nations observes March 21 as the International Day of Forests, commemorating the green cover around the world and reiterating its importance. The theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”.

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Why is the International Day of Forests celebrated?

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012.

According to the official UN website, the Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On this day, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree-planting campaigns.

The Day is celebrated by 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 organisations in the field.

Annual themes for the International Day of Forests

The theme for each year is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The theme for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”.

This year’s theme aims to emphasise how restoration and sustainable management of forests can help address climate change and biodiversity crisis. It can also help produce goods and services for sustainable development, fostering an economic activity that creates jobs and improves lives.

Themes of the International Day of Forests are aimed to fit into the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), which calls for the protection and revival of ecosystems around the world.

Forest cover in India

Since Independence, a fifth of India’s land has consistently been under forests, despite the population increasing more than three times.

As per the biennial State of Forest Report, 2019, India’s forest cover has increased by 3,976 sq km or 0.56% since 2017. For the second consecutive time since 2007, the report recorded a gain — an impressive 1,275 sq km — in dense forest (including very dense forest with a canopy density of over 70%, and moderately dense forest with a canopy density of 40-70%).

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