Forests are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity. They cover one-third of the planet’s landmass, performing vital functions all over the world, and are a key to combating climate change. Without trees and forests, our world would not be sustainable.
In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed March 21st as the International Day of Forests to celebrate and bring awareness to forests of all types. Today, we acknowledge the lack thereof and together, focus on reforestation for the well-being of not only the Earth but of current and future generations. The theme for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”.
In 2019, Toucan Rescue Ranch (TRR) announced a reforestation project called “Bosque de Los Perezosos,” with its partner, Café Britt, and the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE). This project enables Toucan Rescue Ranch’s Wildlife Release Program to expand by connecting forest canopy that is currently fragmented due to surrounding agricultural development.
Since the beginning, this combined effort has planted approximately 1,600 trees, giving a home to numerous sloths and local species. Together, we plan to continue growing this project in the future.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Reforestation has many benefits including regrowth of wildlife habitat, improved water quality, increased biodiversity, employment opportunities, and carbon dioxide removal (carbon sequestration).
So, what can you do to help forests based on this list?
Speak for the trees.
You can speak for the trees by voting and encouraging your local government to conserve forests and creating parks. Another great way to do this is by sharing the importance of reforestation with your family, friends, and local community. Education is the first step in understanding the issue at hand.
As Dr. Seuss once wrote, “I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”
Join reforestation projects.
Along with the many other benefits of reforestation, it is crucial for the production of oxygen and gives home to thousands of species. Just like our reforestation project, Bosque de Los Perezosos, you can find and join a local nonprofit or organization that is dedicated to planting trees in your area. You can even contribute by researching local species and planting a tree in your very own yard! By planting or giving a tree, you’re helping the future of forests and giving a home to countless animals.
Buy local or forest-friendly products.
Focus on what products you are purchasing and where they are derived. When shopping, you can find forest-friendly products by checking for certifications from the Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. These certifications ensure that their ingredients and materials are sourced from producers committed to rainforest-friendly production methods. In addition, buying local is a simple way to help reduce emissions and support your community!
Whether you want to recover biodiversity or reduce the greenhouse effect, beginning with reforestation on this International Day of Forests will contribute to building a brighter future for the Earth and its creatures alike.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”-Dr. Seuss
#GenerationReforestation #InternationalDayOfForests #Forests #Reforestation
About the writer: Chelsey is a 23-year-old graphic designer and photographer from Kansas. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with and photographing wildlife, and traveling whenever possible. She is currently working with the Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica for 6 months where she will be assisting with media, fundraising, and education. Once complete, she hopes to pursue a career in marketing for wildlife conservation.