21 March: International Day of Forests

Every year 21st March is being observed as International Day of Forests to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.

The observance of the day is also used to communicate the vital role forests play in to sustain and protect us i.e. in environmental sustainability, food security and poverty eradication.

Theme for 2016

Forests and water. The theme highlights importance of forests as key factor to the planet’s supply of freshwater, which is essential for life. It also marks the joint celebration of the International Day of Forests and World Water Day (22nd March).


The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests by adopting resolution A/RES/67/200 on 28 November 2012. The first International Day of Forests was observed on 21 March 2013.

Key Points

Forests cover one third (about 31% of global land area) of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world.

Being the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, forests are a home for more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.

Around the world, 1.6 billion people including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures depend on forests for their livelihood.

Despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits of forests, the global deforestation continues at an alarming.

Deforestation accounts for 12 to 20% of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change.

Water Sources

Forested watersheds and wetlands supply around 75% of the world accessible freshwater.

Forests generally act as natural water filters. About one-third of the world’s largest cities obtain a significant proportion of their drinking water directly from forested protected areas.

Climate change is altering forests role in water flows and the availability of water resources.

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