INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS 21th March – FOREST AND HEALTH
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21st March the International Day of Forests in 2012. The day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local,
national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. In the 21st century, all countries are paying more attention to the environment, ecology, and forests than ever before.
Every year our planet loses 10 million hectares of forests, roughly the same area as the entire Republic of Korea. But we can turn the tide on this negative trend through sustainable forest management and ecosystem restoration. Foresters now have a big task in front of them to sustain and improve forests all over the world to mitigate the process of climate change and that is one of the reasons why I study forestry.
Forests are linked with a lot of things around us, more than you think. Forests are linked also to the health of people. Forests have proven positive effects on physical, mental and social health as individual well-being. Access to forests, the quality of their management for public enjoyment, and proximity to large populations are key factors in maximizing their value for health and well-being.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light on forest recreation and the importance of forests for public health, especially those that can easily be reached from home. Visitor numbers in urban green spaces and forests have increased and novel user groups have visited the forest following
restrictions placed on freedom of movement and assembly. This increased awareness presents an opportunity for the forestry sector to engage with new stakeholders in health services.
Writer: Sreten Milutinović, a third-year student of Forestry at the University of East Sarajevo.