Every year on March 21, we celebrate the Day of the Forest. This global initiative was launched in 2012 by the United Nations with the aim of highlighting the importance of forests and raising awareness about the threats they face.
This year's theme is 'Forests and health'. The focus is placed on the health benefits of forests for the environment. In this blog we discuss these benefits, we discuss the various threats that forests face and we give you tips for celebrating this day!
Day of the Forest
The role of forests in health and well-being
Forests contribute to our health in many ways. They play an important role in purifying water and air, capturing carbon to mitigate climate change, and much more:
- Food and nutrition: Forests provide us with various natural foods, such as fruits, nuts and mushrooms. In addition, many plants with medicinal properties can be found in forests.
- Disease protection: Forests play an important role in preventing the spread of disease by insects and other animals. However, as deforestation continues, the risk of animal diseases ultimately being transmitted to humans increases.
- Mental and physical health: A walk through a forest reduces stress, anxiety and tension. It also improves our mood, concentration and creativity. In addition, it can also benefit us physically, for example, it improves our immune system and lowers blood pressure.
- Climate change: Forests are essential in mitigating climate change as they absorb and store CO2 and thus contribute to slowing global warming.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Why should we protect forests?
Forests are invaluable to our ecosystem and well-being. They serve as home to countless plant and animal species, produce oxygen and play a crucial role in regulating the climate. Unfortunately, forests are under threat worldwide and are in urgent need of help.
One of the biggest threats to forests is deforestation. Between 2015 and 2020, 10 million hectares of forest were lost to deforestation every year. This is roughly equivalent to 14 million football fields. Deforestation is the result of human activities, such as the unregulated felling of trees for agriculture and timber production. Deforestation not only affects biodiversity, but also the climate.
Fire also poses a threat to forests. In 2015, approximately 98 million hectares of forest worldwide were affected by fire. In many cases, fires are also caused by human activities, for example by burning forests to clear land for agriculture. Fires have devastating effects on biodiversity and can lead to soil erosion.
Protecting forests is critical to preserving our environment and health. By implementing forest-friendly policies and making more sustainable investments in forests and trees, forests remain protected and have time to recover.
How can you celebrate Forest Day?
There are countless ways to reflect on this day, whether you dive into the forest independently or participate in an official event, every (small) step contributes to the awareness or protection of forests. Have no idea how to celebrate the Day of the Forest? Below you will find some tips:
- Go into the woods: Spend some time in the woods and enjoy the surroundings. Go for a walk, have a picnic if the weather permits or join an organized forest activity.
- Plant a tree: There is no better way to celebrate this day than by planting a tree. Go to a local nursery, choose a tree and plant it in your garden. Don't have a garden? Find a local organization that organizes tree planting campaigns and participate!
- Learn more about forests: Read books or articles about forests and their importance or listen to a podcast on the subject. Discover how forests contribute to biodiversity, the climate and the economy!
- Make a difference: Reduce your paper use or buy products that are FSC certified. Under the next heading you will find more information about the FSC® label.
Buy disposables? Choose products with an FSC® quality mark
The FSC® label stands for Forest Stewardship Council. This is an international quality mark with strict requirements for sustainable and social forest management. Products and materials that meet the FSC® guidelines are made from wood sourced from responsibly managed forest areas. In this way, deforestation is prevented, which is important to reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change.
Responsible forest management takes into account biodiversity, the animals that live in the forest and the people who depend on the forest. In addition, it offers a range of advantages over unregulated deforestation of natural forests. The forest is divided into sections and trees are harvested in a different section each year, so that the forest has time to recover.
The FSC quality mark is awarded at TakeAware to disposables made of wood, paper and cardboard. Curious about these products? View our range of paper disposables, cardboard disposables and wooden disposables.