Forests breathe for the Earth and store the CO2 that is warming the atmosphere. They maintain the living conditions on our planet. These vital functions are being celebrated on the International Day of Forests 2015 themed ‘Forests and Climate Change’.
The International Day of Forests is held annually on 21 March to raise awareness of the importance of forests. According to the United Nations, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, medicine, fuel and food. The International Day of Forests has its roots in the International Year of Forests 2011 and was declared to be celebrated annually by the UN General Assembly in 2012.
Global deforestation threatens the climate and tropical rainforests
The theme of the year, ‘Forests and Climate Change’, underlines the role of forests in providing oxygen, absorbing and storing CO2 as well as turning the water in the soil into moisture in the air, thus cooling the atmosphere above them. It is for this very reason that forests, especially tropical forests, should also be called the Earth’s ‘humidifiers’ and not only its ‘living ventilators’.
Despite all the benefits of forests, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate as 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. The greenhouse effect of such a large lost forest area has been estimated to account for up to 20% of all the global greenhouse emissions at its current rate, making deforestation a significant threat for the climate. Most deforestation takes place in tropical countries mainly due to agricultural reasons.
Products from northern forests gaining growth
Metsä Group operates in northern Europe where forests grow more than they are utilised and are thus increasingly able to absorb CO2. Here, the forests are not destroyed; on the contrary, they are well managed and also protected when called for. At the forefront of this is forest certification, which comprehensively covers our own wood supply. Managing forests well is key on how to best utilise the benefits provided by them and allow them to grow and flourish. This is how we are able to offer wood-based products with a sustainable background.
FAO International Day of Forests 2015 video
Metsä Group – There’s more to Metsä than meets the eye (video)
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*Metsä Group is a member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and actively participates in its Forest Solutions Group.