“Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky. We fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness" - from ’Ode To Trees’ a poem by KAHLIL GIBRAN
World Forestry Day has been celebrated around the world for 30 years to remind communities of the importance of forests and the many benefits which we gain from them. The concept of having a World Forestry Day originated at the 23rd General Assembly of the European Confederation of Agriculture in 1971. Later that year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation gave support to the idea believing the event would contribute a great deal to public awareness of the importance of forests and agreed that it should be observed every year around the world. March 21, the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere was chosen as the day to be celebrated offering information about the three key facets of forestry, protection, production and recreation.
FORESTRY, more than other branches of agriculture, is an activity which needs to be brought before the public. But to make the practices and benefits of forestry comprehensible to the public is not as simple as it may at first seem. This is partly because of the long time scale involved in forest management compared to the increasingly rapid pace which modern man has come to accept as normal in so many other activities. In some countries there is also a residue of public suspicion of foresters as the "policemen of the woods" and this has to be overcome.
Every forester appreciates and understands the value of the forest as a source of raw material, as a provider of local employment and national income, as the great sponge which gathers and releases water, as the habitat for flora and fauna that otherwise would become extinct, and as the environment and atmosphere in which man feels uniquely at home with nature. If foresters and forest services talk in plain language about that which they know best, people will listen, understand and be with them.
Sir Frank Fraser Darling rightly says: "Man is weaned of the forest, and yet the forest is still very much a part of us." This is at the root of the concern of so many people today for the preservation of forests and other natural environments.
FORESTS are essential for life on Earth. They give us shade and shelter, refuge and refreshment, clean air and water. Today, with a growing global population and subsequent demand for forest products, the forests of the world are at risk from widespread deforestation and degradation.
A forest, which we usually think of in terms of trees, is in fact a complex, living community. Beneath the forest canopy dwell interdependent populations of plants and animals, while the soil that forms the forest floor contains a large variety of invertebrates, bacteria and fungi which play an essential role in cycling nutrients in the soil and the forest.
What can I do on World Forestry Day?
Celebrate World Forestry Day by visiting your local forests and learning more about the many contributions they make to our well-being.