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Forest Service Recognizes United Nations' International Day of Forests

Posted by Joanna Stancil, State and Private Forestry, and Amparo Garcia and Robert Westover, Office of Communication, U.S. Forest Service in Forestry
Mar 21, 2013
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. (Robert Westover/U.S. Forest Service Photo)
The Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington state. (Robert Westover/U.S. Forest Service Photo)

Try going one full day without using a product derived from a tree.

You won’t be able to use a pencil or paper or sit on your couch or at a desk. You won’t be able to check the mail or drink coffee while reading the newspaper.

Trees are important for everyone around the world, and now the U.N. has designated every March 21 as the International Day of Forests.

The U.S. Forest Service has a long history of knowledge sharing with international partners and applauds the U.N. for showcasing the role of forests in the health of our diverse and interconnected global ecosystems.

“International Day of Forests will help raise awareness of the contributions of forests,” said Harris Sherman, USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment. “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and the environmental stressors from our changing climate do not stop at international borders.”

Lands managed by the Forest Service provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply – a value estimated at $27 billion per year. In addition, U.S. forests alone absorb 11 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – a significant cause of global warming. These lands also contribute more than $13 billion annually to the U.S. economy through tourism.

The Forest Service’s International Programs office, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State, works with other countries to promote low-emissions strategies, and the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources.

For example, International Programs is assisting the Peruvian government in implementing a new forest law that will comply with international agreements. The Peru Forest Sector Initiative aims to strengthen institutions and information systems, as well as to promote transparency and public participation.

In addition, the North American Forest Commission, the Forest Service, and Canadian representatives are collaborating on treatments for forests affected by insects and disease, problems which may be heightened by climate change.

Category/Topic: Forestry