Forests contain some of our planet’s most vibrant ecosystems, displaying a wondrous variety of birds, animals, and plants. Forests are the basis for more than 5,000 products, from aromatic oil distilled from leaves to herbal medicines, fuel, food, furniture and clothing; they prevent soil erosion and help to regulate the climate; they provide clean water; they inspire us in art, research and religion; and they are essential to the survival and well-being of people everywhere—all 7 billion of us.
Yet, the world’s forests are facing immense pressures and challenges. Key findings from the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 show that while deforestation has slowed somewhat in recent years as compared to the 1990s, it is still alarmingly high. Continued deforestation has resulted in carbon emissions, shortages in water and food supply, and an unprecedented loss of biodiversity. But the world is not standing idly by. Governments, international organisations and forest stakeholder groups are taking action—to find ways of conserving and sustainably managing forests for the benefit of present and future generations.
This is why the United Nations declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests (Forests 2011), and why forests are the theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2011. In this special year, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) are working together to highlight the importance of forest biodiversity to humankind. The theme for Forests 2011 is “Forests for People”, celebrating of the central role of people in the management, conservation, and sustainable development of our world’s forests.
This booklet aims to raise awareness of the threats and challenges faced by forests and to promote efforts for forest conservation and sustainable management. Maintaining the world’s rich forest biodiversity will help us combat the climate crisis, alleviate poverty, support human health, and leave our children and grandchildren the bountiful and beautiful legacy of living forests that we enjoy today. Clearly, no task could be more timely or important. The new Strategic Plan of the CBD aims to at least halve the rate of deforestation by 2020, and where possible bring it close to zero; restore 15 per cent of degraded forests; manage all forests sustainably; and increase the coverage of protected areas to 17 per cent. Achieving these ambitious targets will require decisive action and close collaboration at all levels. At UNFF and CBD, we look forward to working with the international community to ensure that our constituencies are fully empowered to move towards a better future for forests and people.
Jan L. McAlpine
Director, United Nations Forum on Forests
Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF FORESTS
How to get involved
||The United Nations proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity to promote a greater understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. The theme of the 2011 International Day for Biological Diversity is forest biodiversity. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD Secretariat) encourages governments and civil society everywhere to organize activities and events to celebrate this day, raise public awareness, showcase good practices and inspire further actions for preserving forest biodiversity.
The CBD Secretariat encourages all Parties to the Convention and all organizations that deal with forest biodiversity to organize activities and events to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity 2011. Resource material is available on the websites of the member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (see information at the end of this brochure), as well as on the CBD website
Resource material on forest biodiversity for schools, educators and students is available at http://greenwave.cbd.int
or can be ordered at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please inform the CBD Secretariat of your International Day for Biological Diversity activities by e-mail
or fax: +1 514 288 6588, to ensure that information about your activity is posted on the CBD website.