By Melanie Zacharias @Mel_Zacharias
In our urbanised society people still have a deep relation to forests. A forest is a place to recover from noisy city live, a place to do sports without the smell of a sweaty gym or just an environment to find oneself. Unfortunately, most people do not know about the complex ecosystem services, forests provide worldwide. Carbon storage, water regulation and supply to timber production are only a few of them! Furthermore, even single city trees are proven to have economic and health benefits like filtering fine particles and reducing stress. Nevertheless, the trees of our world are threatened by deforestation, invasive species, soil degradation and of course climate change. We all like our high standard of living; with fancy cars, travelling around the world and exotic food but sometimes we should remember that our own consumer behaviour affects the conditions of forests.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is an intergovernmental organization with 194 member countries to achieve food security for all. The United Nations General Assembly of the FAO proclaimed the 21th of March as the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012 to underline the importance of all types of forests and their threats. The versatile services of the forest ecosystems in ecology AND economy lead to the theme of 2017: Forests & Energy, chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. Whereas saving forests from logging is not only environmental protection, the timber energy sector is an important employer in both, developing and industrialized countries. With the growing demand for wood as aresource for renewable energy, sustainable forest management is at least as important as 300 years ago, when Hans Carl von Carlowitz first described the concept of sustainability in his book Sylvicultura oeconomica (1713).
If you want to give something back to the forests, join in and plant a tree 🙂 For example on Motutapu Island. There are many activities involving forests and trees around the International Day of Forests or just get out to your favourite local forest for the day and share a picture.
Melanie Zacharias is an intern in the Centre of Biodiversity and Biosecurity, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland supervised by Cate Macinnis-Ng. She recently completed a MSc in forestry at the University of Technology Dresden, Germany.