Did you know that 2011 was declared the International Year of the Forests by the United Nations? There are 1.6 billion people that rely on the forests that cover a third of the Earth’s land mass. While forests are responsible for controlling climate change and supporting the rivers that provide water for 50% of the world’s cities, they are also harvested at a rate of 13 million hectares per year. Those numbers equate to a direct threat to our ecological, economic and social well being. The UN recognizes this and states on its website, “The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.” Countries from all over the world are involved in the celebrations, including our own – Canada.
In Canada, we are lucky to have 397.3 million hectares of forests within our borders, equal to 10% of the world’s forest cover. Of that number, our Boreal forests make up 30% of the world’s total Boreal forests. This helps to make Canada one of the largest exporters of forest products. And while only 1% of our forests are harvested annually, for every tree harvested, another is replanted.
In recognition of the International Year of Forests, Canada has designated the week of June 5-11th as Canadian Environment Week. The week focuses on the environment as a whole, and kicks off with World Environment Day on Sunday June 5th. The Natural Resources Canada website has some great information about what is going on for the International Year of the Forests here, as well as here for events, and also has suggestions of how you can get involved yourself.
For those of you with a flair for the social media and a desire to get involved, why not check out the Facebook pages for the International Year of Forests 2011, Environment Canada, Canadian Boreal Initiative, Celebrate Canadian Environment Week, June 5-11, 2011 or 2011 – International Year of Forests (another page).
So if you didn’t realize that 2011 was the International Year of Forests, now you do. Do the world a favour and do your part to get involved.