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International Day of Forests

Day of forests – and woodlands!

Each year on 21 March we celebrate the International Day of Forests. It’s a day dedicated to appreciating these vital natural resources and raising awareness about the importance of forest and woodland conservation.

Forests and woodlands are the green threads that weave the tapestry of our global ecosystem. They are not just groups of trees, but complex networks of life that support biodiversity, regulate climate, and provide livelihoods for millions.

Arwen’s legacy

Evidence of the fragility of our forests and woodlands still lies all around us. It’s difficult to forget Storm Arwen that hit the UK, Ireland and France at the end of November 2021. It caused power cuts and widespread devastation, with buildings and trees being damaged. Numerous trees were blown over and uprooted in north Northumberland.

Fallen tree lying alongside country lane
Fallen tree along Breamish Valley (11 Dec 2021)

The effort to remove fallen trees and make our forests and woodlands safe for visitors has been huge – and is still underway.

Thrunton Wood was badly hit. Some remnants of the damage can be seen in the photos below that were taken just this year on 17 February 2024.

Uprooted tree
Uprooted tree at Thrunton Wood
Fallen tree
Fallen tree at Thrunton Wood
Fallen tree
Effects of Storm Arwen still remain
Two fallen trees
Blown down by Arwen

A timely reminder

The International Day of Forests is a reminder of the value forests add to our lives: from the air we breathe to the water we drink. It’s a call to action for individuals, communities, and nations to participate in tree planting campaigns, educational programs, and policy-making processes that support forest conservation. By doing so, we contribute to the global goals of sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

But that’s asking a lot, isn’t it?

Global goals can sometimes seem overwhelming and push us into a ‘well, there’s not much I can do’ mentality. However, as we observe this day, let’s reflect on the role each of us plays in protecting these natural wonders through simple, local and personal actions. Perhaps we could reduce our paper usage, give our support to sustainable forestry practices, or simply spread the word about the importance of forests. Every action counts.

Let’s pledge to be the guardians of our forests, not just for the sake of our generation, but for the future of our planet.

Photo of healthy woodland trees
Green threads of the Thrunton Wood tapestry

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