Thursday marks the first International Forest Day that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed in December last year to encourage all U.N. member countries to organize forest-related activities, including tree-planting campaigns.
This new annual global celebration of forests builds on the success of the International Year of Forests in 2011 and provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of forests and trees outside forests.
On the first International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to organize a variety of activities involving forests and trees.
Korea has prepared for a variety of outreach events to celebrate the special day ranging from an international seminar to a nationwide tree-planting campaign.
|Children plant a tree on a mountain. (KFS)|
One of highlighted events is the International Workshop on Forest Landscape Restoration, which will be held in Seoul. With the expected participation of more than 150 people from government agencies, research institutions, academia and civil society, the event brings together major players in the field, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Food and Agriculture Organization and International Tropical Timber Organization.
The workshop will be a platform for sharing respective experiences and promoting cooperation, the Korea Forest Service said in a press release.
Key speakers for the event include IUCN global director Stewart Maginnis and FAO senior forestry official Patrick Durst, who is responsible for the Asia-Pacific region.
In particular, the seminar gives the audience a chance to learn about the negative impact of deforestation on people’s lives. Deforestation often results in biodiversity loss, desertification, land degradation and climate change, leading to both economic loss and social poverty.
To effectively cope with issues of deforestation and forest degradation, the Bonn Challenge was launched in 2011 as a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2020.
During the workshop, Korea’s forest rehabilitation and restoration case will also be presented as a model case. Beyond the international workshop, KFS officials said Korea will continue to remind people of the importance of forests and trees during March and April, which includes National Arbor Day, April 5.
This year marks the 68th National Arbor Day in Korea. On every Arbor Day, a tree-planting campaign takes place across the country, including central and local government offices, villages, army bases, workplaces and schools.
Proclaimed in 1946, National Arbor Day in Korea has become an ideal venue to promote harmony among the people of Korea, as well as raising public awareness of the important contribution of forests in addressing environmental challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss.
On Arbor Day, President Park Geun-hye will join the planting campaign. About 100,000 people from 283 central and local government agencies will participate in tree planting activities. About 1 million trees will be planted across 500 hectares nationwide.
The “My Tree Campaign” will be launched on the same day to promote a national consensus on the need for sustainable management of forests. Individuals are encouraged to participate by planting trees with their name tags on.
As for other activities to raise public awareness on going green, KFS will give away 1 million trees at the 175 subway stations across the nation to promote planting to the public.
During March and April, the National Forestry Cooperatives Federation will organize 135 tree markets across the country to provide more than 6 million high-quality seedlings at reasonable prices.
By Seo Jee-yeon (email@example.com