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The International Year of Forests

The International Year of Forests


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By Ricardo Bruno Ojeda Lastre

The year 2011 has been declared the International Year of Forests by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), recognizing that these ecosystems and their sustainable management contribute significantly to the development, the eradication of poverty and the achievement of the development goals of the Millennium. In a world occupied by seven billion people, forests, which represent more than 30 percent of the territory and contain 80 percent of the planet's biodiversity, annually lose thirteen million hectares, an area equivalent to a quarter of the Iberian Peninsula.


The year 2011 has been declared the International Year of Forests by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), recognizing that these ecosystems and their sustainable management contribute significantly to the development, the eradication of poverty and the achievement of the development goals of the Millennium. This edition is the second time that forests are the protagonists of an International Year, since in 1985 the UN Council for Food and Agriculture (FAO) asked member states to become aware of the need to protect them.

In a world occupied by seven billion people, forests, which represent more than 30 percent of the territory and contain 80 percent of the planet's biodiversity, annually lose thirteen million hectares, an area equivalent to a quarter of the Iberian Peninsula.

The causes pointed out by experts are all caused by human beings: illegal overexploitation and logging, conversion to agricultural and livestock land, unsustainable harvesting of wood, improper land management, creation of human settlements, mining and oil operations or construction of reservoirs and roads, among others.

The slogan chosen for the 2011 campaign is "Forests, for people", with the aim of highlighting the fundamental role of human beings in the protection of forests, home to 300 million people in the world, especially indigenous peoples who they are also threatened.

On December 20, 2006, the United Nations General Assembly approved the resolution declaring 2011 the International Year of Forests, with the aim of raising public awareness that forests are essential for the sustainability of the planet due to to the economic, socio-cultural and environmental benefits they provide.

This celebration, when the year 2010 dedicated to biological diversity ends, may cause some skepticism of the real usefulness of these events, but ecologists around the world hope that it will at least serve to raise awareness of the importance of forests both for their intrinsic value and for the important ecosystem services that they generate and on which we depend.

The forests that still cover more than 30% of all the world's land, contain 90% of the known terrestrial biodiversity and approximately 60% of all the water on the planet comes from forested areas. Estimated that around 1.6 billion people depend directly on forest resources for their survival. Furthermore, in the current context of climate change, forests are essential to regulate the climate, to conserve biodiversity and soils, as well as to ensure the rights and livelihoods of the peoples dependent on them.


However, the transformation, exploitation and degradation of forests continue on unsustainable paths that will become irreversible in the medium term. In recent decades, a high rate of deforestation continues to be observed, which means that the reduction in the area of ​​primary forests continues to be brutal, which together with constant forest degradation everywhere, is putting biodiversity at risk forest.

An example of these forest disasters on our planet occurs in the richest biological reserve on the planet, the Amazon Region, but deforestation throughout this region of South America is reducing the fall of rains and causing climate changes as less evaporated water arrives. into the atmosphere, which generates less precipitation in addition to affecting the global warming of the Earth since the suppression of these trees implies the emission of millions of tons of carbon dioxide that pollute the atmosphere since the Amazon basin regulates the climate of almost all the South America and its trees are the great processors of carbon dioxide and suppliers of oxygen.

The World Wildlife Fund also warned that climate change and deforestation could make up to 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest disappear or seriously damage by 2030 even.

Researchers from around the world have pointed out the importance of the Amazon Rainforest for the climate of our planet, since it cannot be underestimated since it is not only essential to control temperature but also constitutes an important source of fresh water.

Deforestation is one of the activities that emits the highest levels of greenhouse gases. According to official data, 20 percent of the annual global emissions of polluting gases comes from deforestation.

Of the original forest layer that covered approximately 17.5 million square kilometers of our planet, currently 40% is preserved. General forest destruction extends from the Pacific Northwest in the US to the tropical forests of Malaysia and Brazil.

The impacts are more severe every day on communities and natural assets. Forests are being cut down and indigenous peoples and other communities are being displaced from their territories, often violently, to make way for agrofuel plantations in the hands of transnational companies that take over land and water.

Currently there are more than 850 million people who suffer from hunger and more than 18,000 children die every day from this cause.

In general, we live in a close relationship with nature since we are part of it, not only does it unite us when we hear the songs of birds, nor when we enjoy the shade provided by the trees, our relationship goes further.

It would be impossible to deny our responsibility in the current accelerated loss of forests, on our planet this situation has a strong impact on human health, security, vulnerability to natural disasters, access to drinking water or raw materials, the situation it is complex in which the world is mired and concrete and urgent actions are needed.

Below I will quote a few words from comrade Fidel Castro Ruz at the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Rio de Janeiro on June 12, 1992 that exemplify all this ecological disaster to which humanity is being subjected:

If humanity is to be saved from this self-destruction, the wealth and technologies available on the planet must be better distributed. Less luxury and less waste in a few countries so that there is less poverty and less hunger in much of the Earth. No more transfers to the Third World of lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment. Make human life more rational. Apply a fair international economic order. Use all the necessary science for sustained development without pollution. Pay off the ecological debt and not the foreign debt. Hunger disappears and not man. "

Let's get together and let's all fight for the conservation of our forests, we are still on time, tomorrow will be too late.

Ricardo Bruno Ojeda Ballast


Video: Of Forests and Men US - Edward Norton (July 2022).


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